What Is Blueberry Extract?

A supplement used by some to improve mood and memory

Blueberries, capsules, tincture, powder, and extract

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

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.

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

What Is Blueberry Extract Used For?

Although research on the health effects of blueberry extract is fairly limited, some studies suggest that blueberries may offer certain potential benefits.

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. Three hours after consuming the blueberry powder, participants were given a cognitive task. Participants who had taken the blueberry powder were found to be significantly faster at completing the task than those in the control group.

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. 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. A study published in 2017 involved 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 mood.


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.

In their review, they found that using blueberry extract or powder supplementation—providing 9.1 or 9.8 milligrams (mg) of anthocyanins, respectively—for 8 to 12 weeks had a beneficial effect on glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Heart Health

In natural medicine, blueberry extract is said to have a number of health benefits, including improved blood vessel health and helping lower blood pressure in those with hypertension.

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

Possible Side Effects

To date, little is known about the safety of long-term use of blueberry extract supplements. Blueberry is safe to consume in the amounts found naturally in food. However, it is unclear how much blueberry extract is safe to take.

Since blueberry extract may lower blood sugar levels, those taking diabetes medications should use caution when using this supplement.

Anyone having surgery should stop taking blueberry extract at least two weeks before a scheduled procedure, as hypoglycemia may occur.

Blueberry extract powder
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dosage and Preparation

Blueberry extract comes in capsule, tincture, powder, and water-soluble extract forms. It is available for purchase at natural-foods stores, drugstores, and online.

There is no standard dose for blueberry extract. More research is needed before determining a safe range.

Follow the instructions on the supplement label, which is typically 1 tablespoon of dried powder, one tablet (containing anywhere from 200 to 400 mg of blueberry concentrate), or 8 to 10 teaspoons of blueberry concentrate liquid daily.

What to Look For

Blueberry extract is sourced from either cultivated highbush blueberries or the smaller wild lowbush blueberries. Opt for organic varieties, which research suggests contain more antioxidants and other nutrients than non-organic fruit.

Note that blueberry extract is not the same as blueberry leaf extract. Blueberry extract is made from the fruit of the blueberry, while the leaf extract is made from the leaves of the blueberry bush. The two have some overlapping benefits, but they are not interchangeable.

The supplement label should clarify if the extract is from fruit or leaf, so be sure to check so you purchase what you intend to. Also make sure that you read the entire ingredients list. Many manufacturers add other vitamins, nutrients, or herbal ingredients to blueberry extract.

Some additions, such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), may boost blueberry extract's effects, while others may interact with medications or cause negative reactions. In particular, supplements that also contain marigold can cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to ragweed or other flowers.  

In addition, check the label for a trusted, independent third-party seal, such as U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or ConsumerLab. This does not guarantee a product's effectiveness, but it does certify that the ingredients listed on the label are what you are actually getting.

Other Questions

Is taking blueberry extract better for you than eating whole blueberries?
Both whole blueberries and blueberry extract are an abundant source of vitamins and minerals. Depending on the formulation, blueberry extract supplements may contain a higher dose of nutrients than the whole fruit.

However, fiber is removed during the extraction process. Blueberries are considered a good source of fiber, with 3.6 grams in a 1 cup serving. This accounts for 14% of the recommended daily intake of fiber based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. If your diet is already lacking in fiber, whole blueberries may be better for you.

What other foods or supplements contain anthocyanins?
Other fruits and vegetables rich in anthocyanins include blackberries, cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, grapes, red onion, radishes, and kidney beans. Supplements with high anthocyanin content include bilberry, açaí, chokeberry, tart cherries, and elderberry.

A Word From Verywell

While it is too soon to say conclusively that blueberry extract can prevent or treat any medical condition, the research is clear that whole blueberries are a powerhouse of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and important antioxidants. If you are considering supplementing with blueberry extract, talk with your healthcare provider to determine if it is right for you.

14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.