More seniors are growing goji berries in their backyards, since studies show that a small amount of Goji berries may improve damage to the retina. In Chinese and in Tibetan cooking, goji berries, also called wolfberries are used in the same way as Westerners use raisins. See the Sacramento Extended Health site on how goji berries helped a daily commuter between Sacramento and the Bay Area. Just don't eat too many since they could thin the blood too much.
Scientists study wolfberries, also known as goji berries in regards to vision improvement for persons with type-2 diabetes. Studies show how goji berries can help the retina. But don't eat too many becaue goji berries do thin the blood. The particular study focused on goji berries/wolfberries as a dietary supplement to improve vision imperfections caused by type-2 diabetes.
Wolfberries, also known as goji berries are popular in numerous health food stores and in the natural food aisles of several supermarkets or food markets. Now they've been found, according to a study, to improve vision imperfections also caused by type-2 diabetes.
Goji berry juice is sold in many supermarkets and health food stores. But is it the fresh, organic goji berries, the dried berries, the berry powder, or other forms that are most effective in vision improvement? In the local areas, your health food store usually would carry various goji berry products. But you might want to order organic fresh berries or dried berries online. Wolfberries are another name for goji berries. There are numerous species.
Choose the type used as a so-called super food. Unrelated to the plant's geographic origin, the names Tibetan goji and Himalayan goji are frequently sold in the health food market as edible products from this plant. You can buy a package of goji berry seeds online or an entire goji berry plant with leaves on Amazon.com. See, 100+ Super Grade Goji Berry Wolfberry Seeds Organic. Or for a whole plant to put in your yard or in a container, check out the site, 9 GreenBox - Goji Berry 'Crimson Star' 4" plant superfruit.
Where to find organic dried goji berries
The California Academy of Health specializes in organic juices, such as organic goji berries or goji berry powder. See, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Polysaccaride Research. You also can buy dried wolfberries from the Nuts Online site. Also see, Goji berries San Francisco. Also see the California site of Eat.Rawfood.com Online Community. You also can grow your own goji berry shrubs. But they do take a few years to mature and show fruit. Check out the sites, Buy Live Goji Berry Plants and Goji Berry, Wolfberry | Buy from Gardener's Supply.
Wolfberry, commercially called goji berry is being studied by several university researchers to find out how wolfberries improve vision imperfections caused by type 2 diabetes. Tibetan goji and Himalayan goji are in common use in the health food market for products from this plant.
Presently, according to a March 30, 2010 press release, "Kansas State University study using Chinese Wolfberries as a dietary supplement to improve vision imperfections caused by type-2 diabetes," a Kansas State University researcher in Manhattan, KS, is exploring the use of Chinese wolfberries to improve vision deficiencies that are common for type-2 diabetics.
Dingbo "Daniel" Lin, K-State research assistant professor of human nutrition, is studying wolfberries and their potential to improve damage to the retina. His findings show that the fruit can lower the oxidative stress that the eye undergoes as a result of type-2 diabetes.
"I would not say that wolfberries are a medicine, but they can be used as a dietary supplement to traditional treatments to improve vision," Lin said in the news release. "Wolfberries have high antioxidant activity and are very beneficial to protect against oxidative stress caused by environmental stimuli and genetic mutations."
Lin has experience in biochemistry and eye research, and he wanted to bridge his current work in nutrition with vision. In a conversation about the eye and phytochemicals Lin had with his father, a traditional medical doctor in China, Lin decided to explore the use of wolfberries for vision improvement.
"In our culture's history, we have traditional medicine literature that describes things like the wolfberry and its functions," Lin explained in the news release.
Wolfberries are bright orange-red, oblong-shaped and grown in China
Lin explained in the news release that the fruit is known to help re-balance homeostasis, boost the immune system, nourish the liver and kidneys and improve vision. He wanted to understand the mechanisms of the wolfberry's effects on vision and started the project in July 2008.
Lin and his colleagues have found that wolfberries have high levels of zeaxanthin, lutein, polysaccharides and polyphenolics, which have been shown to improve vision, including the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
The researchers are using dried wolfberries and examining their effects on the retina pigment epithelial cell layer. "It's the only cell layer in the far back of the retina, and it provides a fundamental support to the whole retina, just like the base of a building," Lin said. "All of the nutrients pass through that cell layer."
Effects of wolfberries on oxidative stress studied
By using type-2 diabetic mice, the researchers are studying the effects of wolfberries on oxidative stress, one of the factors that occurs in diabetic retinopathy, which is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of blindness in American adults.
"Oxidative stress is known as cell impairment of the production of reactive oxygen," Lin said. "Cellular oxidative stress is involved in many human diseases, such as diabetes, vision impairment and blindness."
The researchers also looked at the endoplasmic reticulum, which is where the folding process of proteins occurs in a cell. When the accumulation of unfolded protein aggregates occurs persistently, the endoplasmic reticulum is under stress. Prolonged stress will eventually cause cell deaths, Lin said.
The in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the wolfberry's phytochemicals protect the retinal pigment epithelial cells from hyperglycemia, or high glucose. The findings show that the fruit has local effects on oxidative stress, reactivates the enzyme AMPK and reduces endoplasmic reticulum stress.
Cell energy homeostatis (balance) studied
"AMPK is a key enzyme in the balance of cell energy homeostasis," Lin said. "The outcome of the current research will lead to the development of dietary regimens in prevention of an eye disease."
The researchers are continuing to study wolfberries and their health benefits. Lin said wolfberries could be used as a dietary supplement, though the fruit isn't likely to be found in traditional U.S. food stores. He said consumers might find them in a Chinese food store or on the Internet.
Nutrigenomics of health effects of plant-based foods studied
The research is part of a fast-moving field called nutrigenomics, which studies the effects of food on gene expression and disease. Nutrients have been shown to affect gene expression, and by understanding the roles of specific nutrients and how they might cause diseases, scientists could recommend specific foods for an individual based on his or her genetics.
At K-State, other researchers collaborated on the project: Denis Medeiros, professor and department head of human nutrition; Yu Jiang, research associate in human nutrition; Edlin Ortiz, junior in life sciences, Liberal; and Yunong Zhang, a former research assistant in human nutrition.
The research has been presented at the 2009 Experimental Biology conference and 2009 American Society of Cell Biology Conference. The project is funded by a grant from K-State's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. Where can you get wolfberries? Check out the site, USDA Organic Wolfberries. Just don't eat too many of them as they do thin the blood.