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  • Writer's picturePhoebus Tian

Who should avoid Goji berries

Updated: Mar 16

Popular among celebrities from Madonna to Miranda Kerr, goji berries have been used in Chinese medicine for more than 6,000 years. The earliest record of goji berry in Chinese medical books was in the Shennongbong Classics (200 and 250 CE) for its anti-ageing purpose. Two thousand years later, this fantastic food is now known by the world and becoming popular in the well-being market.

goji berry
Goji berry

The composition of the goji berry contains:

Proteins, Fats, Gardenia Polysaccharides, Carotenoids, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Betaine(helps maintain cardiovascular health), Zeaxanthin(one of the two primary xanthophyll carotenoids contained within the retina of the eye) Potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and other elements 22 amino acids and multivitamins.

Apart from the nutrient aspect, a lot of research have been done. In one trial, participants were individually instructed to carry out a healthy diet. Still, additionally, an inclusion of 14 g of the natural form of goji berry in the diet during 45 days for the A group was proposed. After 45 days of study, a significant reduction in transaminases, as well as an improvement in lipid profile in the A group, was observed. Likewise, a substantial decrease in the waist circumference of the A group was observed when compared with that of the B group and increased glutathione and catalase levels associated with a reduction of lipid peroxidation. These results suggest that this is a useful dietary supplement for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Goji berry reduces abdominal fat and improves lipid profile and antioxidant status in patients with metabolic syndrome.

One study indicated goji berry extract exhibits potent free radical scavenging activity and protect against DNA damage induced by free radicals. Moreover, for the first time that one of these extracts increased the antioxidant mechanism of GSH and decreased lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation in muscle cells. Thus, the findings suggested that goji berry extract may be used as a food supplement to reduce the adverse effects of oxidative stress, especially after intensive exercise of athletes.

In another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study over 30 days, scientists found that daily consumption of goji significantly increased several immunological responses and subjective feelings of general well-being without any adverse reactions.3

Goji berry is low in calories, a good source of fibre and a high-antioxidant food. Its benefits include the ability to help fight disease, reduce fatigue and stress.

But Goji berry is NOT for everyone. As a commonly used Chinese medicine herb, there are some rules of not using Goji berries.

  1. People with weak digestion systems should avoid it. Especially for someone with a sensitive stomach or loose stools as it may cause more problems.

  2. When you catch a cold, you should avoid Goji berries as the cold may linger longer. If your tongue coating is thick, Goji berries can be very bad. In Chinese medicine theory, the thick tongue coating indicates Dampness in the body, and goji can make it worse.

  3. Those with Allergies: People who are allergic to other fruits, pollen, or specific components in goji berries may experience allergic reactions. Symptoms could range from mild to severe, including itching, hives, or difficulty breathing.

  4. Individuals Taking Blood Thinners: Goji berries may interact with blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin), potentially affecting the medication's efficacy. This interaction could lead to an increased risk of bleeding.

De Souza Zanchet MZ, Nardi GM, de Oliveira Souza Bratti L, Filippin-Monteiro FB, Locatelli C. Lycium barbarum Reduces Abdominal Fat and Improves Lipid Profile and Antioxidant Status in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2017;2017:9763210. doi:10.1155/2017/9763210.

Skenderidis P, Kerasioti E, Karkanta E, et al. Assessment of the antioxidant and antimutagenic activity of extracts from goji berry of Greek cultivation. Toxicology Reports. 2018;5:251-257. doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2018.02.001.

Amagase H, Immunomodulatory effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum fruit juice in Chinese older healthy human subjects. J Med Food. 2009 Oct;12(5)

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