Dr. Ron’s Research Review – November 14, 2018

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This week’s research review focuses on Lycium barbarum (Goji) juice

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial examined the general effects of the orally consumed goji berry, Lycium barbarum, as a standardized juice (GoChi; FreeLife International LLC, Phoenix, AZ) to healthy adults for 14 days. The study examined by questionnaire subjective ratings (0-5) of general feelings of well-being, neurologic/psychologic traits, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular complaints as well as any adverse effects. Also, measures of body weight, body-mass index, blood pressure, pulse rate, and visual acuity were assessed before and after consuming 120 mL of GoChi/day or placebo control solution. Significant differences between day 1 and day 15 were found in the GoChi group (N = 16) in increased ratings for energy level, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness. GoChi also significantly reduced fatigue and stress, and improved regularity of gastrointestinal function. In contrast, the placebo group (N = 18) showed only two significant changes (heartburn and happiness). No significant changes in musculoskeletal or cardiovascular complaints were observed in either group. All parametric data (body weight, etc.) were not significantly different between groups or between day 1 and day 15 for either group.  These results clearly indicate that daily consumption of GoChi for 14 days increases subjective feelings of general well-being, and improves neurologic/psychologic performance and gastrointestinal functions. The data strongly suggest that further research is indicated to confirm and extend knowledge of the potential effects of Lycium barbarum upon human health. (Amagase and Nance, 2008)

A second study examined the systematic effects of L. barbarum on immune function, general well-being, and safety using a standardized L. barbarum fruit juice (GoChi, FreeLife International, Phoenix, AZ, USA) at 120 mL/day, equivalent to at least 150 g of fresh fruit, the amount traditionally used, or placebo for 30 days in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in 60 older healthy adults (55-72 years old). The GoChi group showed a statistically significant increase in the number of lymphocytes and levels of interleukin-2 and immunoglobulin G compared to pre-intervention and the placebo group, whereas the number of CD4, CD8, and natural killer cells or levels of interleukin-4 and immunoglobulin A were not significantly altered. The placebo group showed no significant changes in any immune measures. Whereas the GoChi group showed a significant increase in general feelings of well-being, such as fatigue and sleep, and showed a tendency for increased short-term memory and focus between pre- and post-intervention, the placebo group showed no significant positive changes in these measures. No adverse reactions, abnormal symptoms, or changes in body weight, blood pressure, pulse, visual acuity, urine, stool, or blood biochemistry were seen in either group. In conclusion, daily consumption of GoChi significantly increased several immunological responses and subjective feelings of general well-being without any adverse reactions. (Amagase et al., 2009)
A third study investigated the impact of L. barbarum consumption on caloric expenditure and  changes in morphometric parameters (waist circumference) in healthy human adults. Two separate randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, small clinical studies were conducted using a standardized L. barbarum fruit juice, GoChi, and assessing its effects on (1) resting metabolic rate (RMR) and postprandial energy expenditure (PPEE) as measured by indirect calorimetry after single-bolus intake of 3 doses of L. barbarum (30, 60, and 120 ml) and placebo; and (2) waist circumference and other morphometric changes in a 14-day intervention trial (120-ml daily intake) in the subjects (age = 34 years, body mass index = 29 kg/m(2)). Results are  as follows.  (1) A single bolus of L. barbarum intake increased PPEE 1 through 4 hours postintake over the baseline level in a dose-dependent manner and was significantly higher than the placebo group by 10% at 1 hour postintake of 120 ml (p < 0.05). (2) In a 14-day intervention trial, L. barbarum was found to significantly decrease waist circumference by 5.5 ± 0.8 cm (n = 15) compared with the preintervention measurements and placebo group at postintervention day 15 (p < 0.01). By contrast, the changes in the placebo group (n = 14) from preinterventions was 0.9 ± 0.8 cm, which was not statistically significant.  These results show that L. barbarum consumption increases metabolic rate and reduces the waist circumference, relative to placebo treated control subjects. (Amagase and Nance, 2011)

 

Dr. Ron


 

Articles

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (Goji) Juice, GoChi.
            (Amagase and Nance, 2008) Download
BACKGROUND:  This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial is the first study reported from outside China that has examined the general effects of the orally consumed goji berry, Lycium barbarum, as a standardized juice (GoChi; FreeLife International LLC, Phoenix, AZ) to healthy adults for 14 days. METHODS:  Based upon the medicinal properties of Lycium barbarum in traditional Asian medicine, we examined by questionnaire subjective ratings (0-5) of general feelings of well-being, neurologic/psychologic traits, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular complaints as well as any adverse effects. Also, measures of body weight, body-mass index, blood pressure, pulse rate, and visual acuity were assessed before and after consuming 120 mL of GoChi/day or placebo control solution. Data were statistically analyzed for changes between day 1 and day 15. RESULTS:  Significant differences between day 1 and day 15 were found in the GoChi group (N = 16) in increased ratings for energy level, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness. GoChi also significantly reduced fatigue and stress, and improved regularity of gastrointestinal function. In contrast, the placebo group (N = 18) showed only two significant changes (heartburn and happiness). No significant changes in musculoskeletal or cardiovascular complaints were observed in either group. All parametric data (body weight, etc.) were not significantly different between groups or between day 1 and day 15 for either group. CONCLUSIONS:  These results clearly indicate that daily consumption of GoChi for 14 days increases subjective feelings of general well-being, and improves neurologic/psychologic performance and gastrointestinal functions. The data strongly suggest that further research is indicated to confirm and extend knowledge of the potential effects of Lycium barbarum upon human health.

Immunomodulatory effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum fruit juice in Chinese older healthy human subjects.
            (Amagase et al., 2009) Download
Lycium barbarum has been traditionally used in combination with several herbs for medicinal properties, but systematic modern clinical evaluation as a single herb has not been reported. To examine the systematic effects of L. barbarum on immune function, general well-being, and safety, we tested the effects of a standardized L. barbarum fruit juice (GoChi, FreeLife International, Phoenix, AZ, USA) at 120 mL/day, equivalent to at least 150 g of fresh fruit, the amount traditionally used, or placebo for 30 days in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in 60 older healthy adults (55-72 years old). The GoChi group showed a statistically significant increase in the number of lymphocytes and levels of interleukin-2 and immunoglobulin G compared to pre-intervention and the placebo group, whereas the number of CD4, CD8, and natural killer cells or levels of interleukin-4 and immunoglobulin A were not significantly altered. The placebo group showed no significant changes in any immune measures. Whereas the GoChi group showed a significant increase in general feelings of well-being, such as fatigue and sleep, and showed a tendency for increased short-term memory and focus between pre- and post-intervention, the placebo group showed no significant positive changes in these measures. No adverse reactions, abnormal symptoms, or changes in body weight, blood pressure, pulse, visual acuity, urine, stool, or blood biochemistry were seen in either group. In conclusion, daily consumption of GoChi significantly increased several immunological responses and subjective feelings of general well-being without any adverse reactions.

Lycium barbarum increases caloric expenditure and decreases waist circumference in healthy overweight men and women: pilot study.
            (Amagase and Nance, 2011) Download
BACKGROUND:  Lycium barbarum (L. barbarum), a traditional Asian medicinal therapy for diabetes and other conditions, has been shown to increase metabolic rate and to reduce body-weight gains in rodent models, as well as to produce clinical improvements in general feelings of well-being including energy level. OBJECTIVE:  To investigate the impact of L. barbarum consumption on (1) caloric expenditure and (2) changes in morphometric parameters (waist circumference) in healthy human adults. METHOD:  Two separate randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, small clinical studies were conducted using a standardized L. barbarum fruit juice, GoChi, and assessing its effects on (1) resting metabolic rate (RMR) and postprandial energy expenditure (PPEE) as measured by indirect calorimetry after single-bolus intake of 3 doses of L. barbarum (30, 60, and 120 ml) and placebo; and (2) waist circumference and other morphometric changes in a 14-day intervention trial (120-ml daily intake) in the subjects (age = 34 years, body mass index = 29 kg/m(2)). RESULTS:  (1) A single bolus of L. barbarum intake increased PPEE 1 through 4 hours postintake over the baseline level in a dose-dependent manner and was significantly higher than the placebo group by 10% at 1 hour postintake of 120 ml (p < 0.05). (2) In a 14-day intervention trial, L. barbarum was found to significantly decrease waist circumference by 5.5 ± 0.8 cm (n = 15) compared with the preintervention measurements and placebo group at postintervention day 15 (p < 0.01). By contrast, the changes in the placebo group (n = 14) from preinterventions was 0.9 ± 0.8 cm, which was not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS:  These results show that L. barbarum consumption increases metabolic rate and reduces the waist circumference, relative to placebo treated control subjects.


 

References

Amagase, H and DM Nance (2011), ‘Lycium barbarum increases caloric expenditure and decreases waist circumference in healthy overweight men and women: pilot study.’, J Am Coll Nutr, 30 (5), 304-9. PubMed: 22081616
——— (2008), ‘A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (Goji) Juice, GoChi.’, J Altern Complement Med, 14 (4), 403-12. PubMed: 18447631
Amagase, H, B Sun, and DM Nance (2009), ‘Immunomodulatory effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum fruit juice in Chinese older healthy human subjects.’, J Med Food, 12 (5), 1159-65. PubMed: 19857084