Study Indicates That Bilberry Extract Helps in Kidney Protection

Researchers study its antioxidant effects on a well-known environmental pollutant

Milan, 30th January, 2008 – A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (20th December 2007, 10.1021/jf072857m) has highlighted the qualities of bilberry extract in protecting the organism from renal damage caused by potassium bromate (KBrO3).

Potassium bromate is an environmental pollutant, which can be formed as a by-product in the process of ozone purification of drinking water. Recent concerns have arisen from its discovery in bottles of mineral water both in the US and in Europe. In addition to fears of carcinogenesis, potassium bromate may be toxic in other ways, affecting the kidneys in particular. The substance in fact causes the formation of free radicals which, in turn, may trigger harmful modification to cell membranes, proteins, enzymes and kidney cell DNA.

Bilberry extract, by virtue of its exceptional antioxidant properties, proved effective in reducing the kidney levels of various oxidative stress markers and increasing the capacity to absorb free radicals (oxygen radical absorbance capacity - ORAC) in renal tissue.

Commenting on the outcome of this research, Giovanni Appendino, Head of R&D in Indena, was resolute: “these results confirm yet again the potent antioxidant proprieties of bilberry extract in vivo. Anthocyanins, a class of highly unstable compounds, are active principles found in the bilberry. Their content may vary and depends on factors such as the origin of the plant and the purification technology applied. Indena attaches great importance to the standardisation of raw materials and processes, and is in the forefront of developing analytical methodology for the characterisation of plant extracts so that the composition of the products we offer our clients can be identified, certified and reproduced.”

The study was conducted by researchers from the Chinese Universities of Shenyang and Jinan, in collaboration with BRAND’S® Health Science Centre of Cerebos Pacific Ltd, a leading food company in Southeast Asia. Various parameters of renal toxicity from potassium bromate were analyzed before and after the administration of Mirtoselect® (extract of Vaccinium myrtillus L. produced by Indena S.p.A. and standardized with a minimum of at least 36% of anthocyanin). In-vivo tests showed how the administration of Mirtoselect® over five days at doses of 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg could limit renal damage provoked by the bromate, and bring about the normalization of tissue levels.

Indena is the world's leading company dedicated to the identification, development and production of active principles derived from plants, for use in the pharmaceutical, health food and cosmetics industries. The key to Indena's success is its research, covering: the screening of medicinal plants for their pharmacological benefits; the identification of new active principles; and the development of extraction and purification systems at the cutting-edge of industrial application. Backed up by over 80 years of botanical experience, the phyto-chemical research is carried out in Indena's own Settala Research Center, near Milan. Indena also co-operates with the world's most prestigious universities and private research institutions in the biological assessment of safety and effectiveness up to clinical phase I. The company has more than 150 primary patents and has published around 700 scientific studies. Indena, with more than 700 employees, including 10% dedicated to full-time research, manages cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution operations in more than 40 countries throughout the world. The Company's experts communicate and interact constantly with the major international regulatory authorities such as WHO, EMEA, and ESCOP, and work with all the main pharmacopoeias.
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