Who knew a fruit so small could be so powerful. Goji berries’ taste may not be for everyone, but their incredible ability to positively affect the physiology of a person is universal. Lycium barbarum or Goji berries have been studied by several groups, but the research is still young. Here’s what is known so far and the untapped potential.
Improve Antioxidant Status
Michigan Medicine University of Michigan studies goji berries. They found numerous health benefits of the fruit. Through introducing them into animals orally or direct placement in their stomachs, the university found them to improve their antioxidant status along with many other positive changes.
A particular pigment within the goji berries, zeaxanthin, is a carotenoid that, when consumed, becomes concentrated in the macular pigment of the eye and can protect the retina. So, not only is the radiant color of the goji berries attractive; it is also great for you! Talk about functional beauty!
It doesn’t end there; zeaxanthin extracts and purified goji berry polysaccharides protect against liver damage.
Little Sugar Chains
Polysaccharides are found in the fruit. These are basically little sugar chains. Researchers using these for studies found these “little sugar chains” to be particularly useful.
Fight the Flu with Goji Berries
The flu is a health threat both familiar and ever-threatening. Every year, new flu vaccines are given to provide some protection against this evolving virus. The flu vaccine from 2015 was definitely different than the one given in 2017.
In a study by Jean Mayer from the USDA HNRCA in “Goji berries protect against the flu in new study,” Medical News Today’s Marie Ellis explained how 20-22-month-old mice were studied. The researchers administered the treatment (5% Goji Berry diet) to some and fed the rest a normal diet as the control.
In that time, the mice were administered 2 flu vaccines before being infected with the flu virus.
The team tested the mice for certain flu antibodies and assessed symptoms of infection like weight loss. They found an increased antibody response in mice fed goji berries, as well as, less weight loss.
Improve Overall Health and Happiness
In, “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (Goji) Juice, GoChi,” Amagase H and Nance DM looked at the effects of drinking goji berry juice with healthy adults as the subjects and 14 days as the length of the experiment.
The researchers examined the participants through a questionnaire rating from 0 to 5 in feelings of well-being, neurological or psychological traits, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular complaints, along with side effects. They also monitored physical measurements like body weight, BMI, BP, pulse rate, and visual acuity. This was done before and after the experiment.
The 14 participants were administered 120 mL of GoChi/day or a placebo. To be noted, the sample size is small, so it alone is not a flawless representation of an entire society.
In the results, Amagase and Nance found that the GoChi group had increased levels of energy, athletic performance, quality of sleep, mental acuity, calmness, etc. They also found that GoChi decreased fatigue and stress while improving GI function.
On the other hand, the placebo group didn’t get better or worse and all parametric physical data was similar for both the experimental and control groups from the beginning to end.
From this study, we can conclude that goji berries can improve health and well-being.
Controversial Evidence on Camera
Back in 2012, Dr. Marcial Vega’s research on Goji berries and their effect on blood came out. It remains a controversy as to whether or not the video he released was real or not. However, as it was a product of medical research, it deserves objective attention.
Dr. Victor Marcial-Vega created the high-resolution blood imaging digital microscope system he used for this video and he trained at John Hopkins Hospital. The video demonstrates the effect of Goji berries on Ph Balance in his patients.
So, is goji berry the cure-all? Is it simply a good supplement to health? Research on the benefits of goji berries is in its infancy; there’s a lot of work to be done. Where do you think this research would be applicable? How would you like to benefit from it? Share your comments below!