Intake of bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease by inducing favorable changes in lipoprotein profiles

Nutr Res. 2016 Dec;36(12):1415-1422. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.11.010. Epub 2016 Nov 23.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading causes of death, and lifestyle modification, including dietary changes, is recommended to improve this condition. In this study, regular consumption of bilberries was hypothesized to have beneficial effects on CVD risk reduction, by changes in human health indicators such as decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TGs) and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The research involved women (n=25) and men (n=11) who consumed 150 g of frozen stored bilberries 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Anthropometric parameters, blood pressure, lipid profile, glucose, liver enzymes, creatinine, albumin, magnesium, and antiradical activity were measured. Except for the body mass index of women (P=.019), no significant changes were found for anthropometric indicators. The consumption of bilberries led to a decrease in the following parameters: total cholesterol (P=.017), LDL-C (P=.0347), TG (P=.001), glucose (P=.005), albumin (P=.001), γ-glutamyltransferase (P=.046), and a positive increase in HDL-C (P=.044). In men, additionally, favorable changes were observed in total cholesterol (P=.004), glucose (P=.015), albumin (P=.028), aspartate aminotransferase (P=.012), γ-glutamyltransferase (P=.013), and HDL-C (P=.009; in this group, LDL-C increased [P=.007]). Changes in other parameters were not significant, for both women and men. Thus, the regular intake of bilberries can be important to reduce CVDs risk, by decreasing LDL-C/TG and increasing HDL-C.

Keywords: Bilberries; Biochemical parameters; Cardiovascular diseases risk; Healthy participants; Lipid profile.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albumins / metabolism
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology
  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vaccinium myrtillus / chemistry*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Albumins
  • Anthocyanins
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triglycerides
  • Vaccinium myrtillus extract
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase