Consuming goji berry juice for two weeks increases feelings of general well-being and improves gastrointestinal functions, according to a new industry-sponsored clinical trial.
Published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial claims to be the first study reported from outside China that has examined the general effects of consuming goji berry juice.
According to the study’s findings, people consuming the juice for 14 days reported increased ratings of energy levels, quality of sleep, mental acuity, calmness, and feelings contentment, as well as improved regularity of gastrointestinal functions.
Goji, or lyceum barbarum, has been used in Asian countries such as China, Korea and Japan for over 2500 years, where it is thought to have health benefits including anti-aging, vision, kidney and liver function.
The current study was funded by Arizona-based FreeLife International, a goji berry juice supplier. The study was also conducted by FreeLife employees.
A total of 35 people were recruited for the study. All participants were healthy adults, and were randomly assigned to either a goji berry group or a placebo group.
Participants were given a ‘wash-out’ period of two weeks, during which they did not consume any products containing goji berries, or any dietary supplements, energy drinks or green tea.
They then consumed either a placebo product or 120 mL of FreeLife’s GoChi juice product each morning after a meal for 14 days.
The dosage of the goji berry juice was equivalent to 150g of fresh fruit, the amount customarily used in traditional Chinese medicine. The placebo product was said to have the same colour and taste as the goji berry juice, but it had no nutritional value.
Participants were given a questionnaire at the start and finish of the test period, where they were asked to give ratings (0-5) of general feelings of well-being, neurologic/psychologic traits, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular complaints as well as any adverse effects.
According to the study authors, “significant differences” between day one and day 15 were found in the goji berry group.
Respondants reported “significantly increased” athletic performance, quality of sleep (80 percent reported better sleep), focus on activities and calmness. Around 50-60 percent of people in the goji group reported feelings of good health, contentment, and happiness.
Some 50 percent reported less fatigue, more energy during the day, and increased athletic performance.
Additional verbally reported effects on the goji group included a decrease in menstrual pains for some women, an increase in sexual activity and performance, improved skin and harder nails.
The placebo group reported two statistically significant changes during the 14-day period – heartburn and feelings of happiness.
According to the authors, the results “clearly indicate” the reported benefits of consuming goji berry juice. The authors suggest that further research is needed to confirm and extend knowledge of the berry’s health benefits.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume 14, Number 4, 2008, pp. 403–412
Authors: Harunobu Amagase, PhD Dwight Nance, PhD