In late summer in Scandinavia, the forests are full of bilberry bushes laden with delicious ripe fruit. But these berries are not just picked to be eaten. Part of the harvest is processed by Evonik to make a powder extract marketed as a dietary supplement under the MEDOX® brand. The Norwegian company that produces MEDOX®, MedPalett, was acquired by Evonik in 2016.
The dark berry extract is also marketed under the brand name Healthberry®, and sold to consumers as a food and drink supplement with health-promoting benefits.
A number of scientific studies carried out using MEDOX® suggest that the berry extract has a positive impact on the heart and blood vessels. Scandinavian bilberries and black currants contain a particularly high amount of dark-colored plant pigments known as anthocyanins, which rank among the most effective natural antioxidants. Anthocyanins protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and, by extension, from aging and inflammatory processes. This also benefits the human immune system.
Recently, discussion has turned to the positive effect of anthocyanins in the context of cognitive health. A team led by Professor Dag Aarsland, a specialist in brain and dementia research at King’s College London, compared healthy cells and cells displaying symptoms of Alzheimer’s. By adding anthocyanins, the scientists were able to safeguard both cell populations against neurotoxic substances. A team of researchers at Stavanger University Hospital is now conducting a small-scale clinical trial to determine whether MEDOX® helps prevent the development of memory dysfunction in people with an elevated risk of dementia.
The first results of the trial at Stavanger are expected in summer 2018 - coinciding with the next harvest of anthocyanin-rich berries in Scandinavia.