Goji berries protect against age-related macular degeneration
Consuming a regular serving of dried goji berries can prevent or at least delay the development of age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in old age.
In a recent study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, it was found that the regular consumption of a small serving of dried goji berries in healthy middle-aged people increases the so-called optical density of the macular pigment, which is used as a biomarker for the development of age-related macular degeneration ( AMD) applies. For example, goji berries could prevent or at least delay the loss of vision. The relevant study results were published in the English-language specialist journal “Nutrients”.
Loss of vision due to age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. It is estimated to affect more than 170 million people worldwide. “AMD affects the central field of vision and can impair the ability to read or recognize faces,” said study author Glenn Yiu of the University of California, Davis in a press release.
What are goji berries and where do they come from?
Goji berries grow on wolfberry bushes, more precisely on the Chinese wolfberry (Lycium chinense) and the common wolfberry (Lycium barbarum). The dried berries are a common ingredient in Chinese soups and are also popular as herbal tea. They are also consumed as a snack. In Chinese medicine, goji berries are said to have beneficial effects on the eyes.
Increased density of protective pigments in eyes
In their study, the experts found that 13 healthy participants aged 45 to 65 who ate 28 grams (about a handful) of goji berries five times a week for 90 days increased the density of protective pigments in their eyes. In contrast, no such increase was observed in 14 participants who took a commercially available food supplement for eye health during the same period.
Increase in lutein and zeaxanthin
In the group of participants who consumed the goji berries, the pigments lutein and zeaxanthin increased. These filter harmful blue light and offer antioxidant protection. Both of these help protect eyes as they age, the team said.
“Lutein and zeaxanthin are like sunscreens for the eyes,” explains study author Xiang Li. “The higher the content of lutein and zeaxanthin in the retina, the better the protection. Our study found that these optical pigments can be increased by a small daily serving of goji berries, even in healthy eyes, ”adds the expert.
Goji berries contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin
In the new study, the experts examined the bioactive compounds contained in goji berries. They found that the berries contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which reduce the risk of eye diseases related to AMD.
Zeaxanthins is in a highly bioavailable form in goji berries, explains Li. In other words, it is a form that the digestive system can easily absorb and that the body can use.
How is AMD usually treated?
The current treatment for middle stages of AMD takes place with the help of special food supplements, the so-called AREDS. These contain the vitamins C, E, zinc, copper, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, report the experts. So far, no effective therapy is known for the early stages of AMD.
Causes of AMD?
According to study author Yi, when it comes to the causes of AMD, these are complex and multifactorial. They include a mixture of genetic risks, age-related changes and various environmental factors such as smoking, diet and sun exposure, according to the expert.
There are no symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease. However, the professional adds that regular eye exams can detect AMD and other eye problems. With an early diagnosis, goji berries could then be used to counteract this.
Can goji berries be used for treatment?
“Our study shows that goji berries, which are a natural source of nutrition, can improve macular pigments in healthy participants beyond taking high-dose supplements. The next step in our research will be to study goji berries in patients with early-stage AMD, ”added Yi. (as)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- Xiang Li, Roberta R. Holt, Carl L. Keen, Lawrence S. Morse, Glenn Yiu, Robert M. Hackman: Goji Berry Intake Increases Macular Pigment Optical Density in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Pilot Trial; in: Nutrients (veröffentlicht 09.12.2021), Nutrients
- University of California, Davis: Dried Goji Berries May Provide Protection Against Age-Related Vision Loss (veröffentlicht 13.01.2022), UCDavis
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.