Blueberry Fruit

Blueberry extract is a natural health supplement made from concentrated blueberry juice. A rich source of nutrients and antioxidants, blueberry extract contains beneficial plant compounds, including the flavonol quercetin, and anthocyanins, a class of compounds purported to reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease and cancer.1

In natural medicine, blueberry extract is said to have a number of health benefits. It is said to boost the health of blood vessels and is often used to treat or prevent the following conditions:

Age-related macular degeneration
Alzheimer's disease2
Heart disease3
High blood pressure4
High cholesterol

Health Benefits
Although research on the health effects of blueberry extract is fairly limited, some studies suggest that blueberries may offer certain benefits.3 Here's a look at some key findings from the available research.

Cognitive Function
Research on blueberries and cognitive function has used fresh blueberries, blueberry powder, or blueberry juice concentrate. In a study published in Food & Function in 2017, researchers examined the cognitive effects of consuming either freeze-dried blueberry powder or a placebo on a group of children between the ages of 7 and 10.5 Three hours after consuming the blueberry powder, participants completed a cognitive task. Participants who had taken the blueberry powder were found to be significantly faster at the task.

Consuming freeze-dried blueberry may also improve some aspects of cognitive function in adults. In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, for instance, people between the ages of 60 and 75 consumed either freeze-dried blueberry or a placebo for 90 days.6 Participants completed tests on cognition, balance, and gait at the beginning and again at days 45 and 90. Those who took blueberry performed better on cognitive tests, including task-switching and verbal learning. However, there was no improvement in gait or balance.

Consuming a blueberry drink may improve subjective well-being, according to a study published in 2017.7 For the study, children and young adults drank a blueberry drink or a placebo. Participants' mood was assessed before and two hours after drinking the beverages. Researchers found that the blueberry drink increased positive affect, but was found to have little to no effect on negative moods.

Preliminary studies suggest that blueberries may improve insulin resistance and glucose tolerance. In a report published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2018, researchers reviewed previously published clinical trials on blueberry or cranberry consumption on type 2 diabetes glycemic control.8 In their review, they found that blueberry extract or powder supplementation (providing 9.1 to 9.8 mg of anthocyanins, respectively) for 8 to 12 weeks had a beneficial effect on glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Heart Health
Blueberry supplementation is said to be good for your heart, but the research is mixed. According to a report published in 2017, blueberry extract does not seem to lower blood pressure.4 Researchers analyzed previously published trials and found no significant effect of blueberry supplementation on blood pressure. In their conclusion, the study's authors recommended further clinical trials to verify the link between blueberry supplements and blood pressure.

Another study found that six weeks of daily blueberry consumption didn't improve blood pressure.9 However, it did improve endothelial function. The inner lining of the small arteries, the endothelium, is involved in many vital functions in the body.