Goji Berries and Dry Eyes: What Does Science Have to Say?
You may have heard that goji berries are a superfood. And you may have tasted them already.
But are goji berries good for vision health? What’s the link between goji berries and dry eyes?
In this post, we review recent studies that have investigated the effects of the goji berry or wolf berry on dry eye disease and ocular health. We’ll also share ideas on how to eat more goji berries.
Read on to find out more.
Goji Berries Can Reduce Eye Inflammation and Oxidative StressInflammation is considered one of the causes of dry eye disease. So much so that dry eye has been called an inflammatory ocular disease.
A 2017 animal study found that a goji berry extract alleviated dry eye disease brought on by inflammation and oxidative stress. In the study, male rats with dry eye disease were divided into four groups:
- a control group that didn’t receive any goji berry extract
- a low-dose group that received 250 mg/kg/body weight of the extract
- a median-dose group that received 350 mg/kg/body weight
- and a high-dose group that received 500 mg/kg/body weight
- Schirmer’s test, which uses a filter paper placed inside the lower lid to determine whether the eye makes enough tears
- Tear breakup time, in which a fluorescein dye is introduced into the tear film and seen under cobalt blue light to measure tear evaporation
- Keratoconjunctival fluorescein staining, which evaluates the cornea or outer surface of the eye
Researchers found that one week of therapy with the goji berry extract significantly reduced dry eye symptoms. The treatment improved tear secretion, increased tear volume, stabilized the tear film, and decrease the tear evaporation rate.
The goji berry extract also had a protective effect on the surface of the eye. It helped to protect the conjunctiva from damage resulting from a lack of lubricating tears.
Why Are Goji Berries Healthy?
The beneficial effects of the goji berry extract on chronic dry eye disease are likely due to the polysaccharides and betaine in goji berries.
Polysaccharides are potent antioxidants that have lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds known to support eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin occur naturally in the macula of the eye, the part of the retina responsible for the sharpest vision.
These pigments protect against blue light and oxidative damage. A serving of 15 grams of goji berries provides the daily recommended dose of zeaxanthin (3 mg/day).
A 2020 study investigated the effects of a milk-based goji berry formulation on plasma zeaxanthin and antioxidant levels in elderly adults. Researchers found that after 90 days of goji berry supplementation, plasma zeaxanthin levels increased by 26%.
What’s more, antioxidant capacity increased by 57%. Also, the goji berry supplement protected against the accumulation of drusen deposits in the macula. Drusen deposits increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.
A 2022 pilot study on adults aged 45 to 65 supports these findings. The study found that an intake of 28 grams of goji berries five times a week for 90 days significantly increased macular pigment density and skin carotenoids. This suggests that goji berries can also protect against AMD since macular pigment density is a biomarker for the condition.
A more recent study focused on the effects of goji berry polysaccharide eye drops in mice with dry eye disease. The mice in the study received 0.625 mg/ml, 2.5 mg/ml, or 12.5 mg/ml of the eye drops three times a day for 10 days.
Researchers found that the goji berry polysaccharide drops improved tear production and the integrity and regularity of corneal cells. It also reduced inflammation in the cornea. It achieved these results without irritating the eye, a common complaint with conventional eye drops.
The results were dose dependent, with the highest dose of goji berry polysaccharide providing the greatest benefits.
The other compound in goji berries linked to eye health benefits is betaine. An amino acid, betaine supports liver function and cellular processes. It also helps the body process fat. Recent research suggests that betaine has anti-inflammatory effects, in addition to other health benefits.
Goji Berry Dry Eye Pills Could Be More Effective Than Eye Drops Alone
A 2020 meta-analysis compared the effects of goji berry and Rehmannia plant pills combined with eye drops on the one hand and eye drops alone on the other in the treatment of dry eye disease. The study included a total of 1,222 patients across fifteen randomized control trials that averaged one month in duration.
The age of the patients ranged from 6 to over 60 years. In most of the studies, participants received 8 to 10 goji berry and Rehmannia pills 3 times a day. The eye drops used were sodium hyaluronate or polyethylene glycol eye drops administered between 3 and 5 times a day.
The study concluded that goji berry and Rehmannia pills taken together with eye drops improved dry eye symptoms better than eye drops alone. Patients who took the pills also scored better in Schirmer and fluorescein tests as well as in the tear breakup time test.
In TCM, dry eye disease is called white astringent syndrome. It’s thought to be caused by liver and kidney Yin deficiencies, fluid deficit, and wind heat stagnation.
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) often use the goji berry and Rehmannia formula to treat dry eye disease. The formula is said to nourish the liver and kidney and moisten and clear the eyes.
Modern scientific research supports goji berries as a promising dry eye disease treatment. Goji berries can soothe constant dry eyes and improve chronic dry eye symptoms.
How to Eat More Goji Berries
The body of research we’ve reviewed indicates that goji berries are one of the best foods for dry eye disease. Whether fresh or dry, goji berries can add color, texture, and flavor to your meals.
You can incorporate them into all the meals of the day, in addition to eating goji berries as snacks with nuts and seeds.
So, what are some of the tastiest ways you can eat more of them?
- Sprinkle some goji berries over plain yogurt.
- Add some to breakfast cereals and oatmeal.
- Make your own goji berry and pistachio granola bars.
- Top your favorite salad with two spoonfuls of goji berries.
- Bake goji berries into cakes and cookies.
- Pair goji berries with rice or quinoa for a tasty side dish or main course.
- Infuse goji berries into hot water to make goji berry tea.
- Blend goji berries with bananas, strawberries, and other fruits.
An even better way to take advantage of the eye health benefits of goji berries is to start using a goji berry eye supplement like SightC.
Nourish Your Eyes with SightC
Informed by 30 years of clinical experience treating patients with vision problems, SightC is a complete vision health supplement that soothes dry eyes and supports overall eye health.
SightC brings together antioxidants and plant nutrients from goji berries, turmeric, Cherokee rose, dwarf lilyturf, dandelion, Chinese yam, and hawthorn. These plants have been used for hundreds of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene, SightC is packed into convenient vegan capsules. It’s free from added sugars, artificial flavors, or genetically modified foods. Gluten intolerant? No problem. SightC is gluten free.
Whether you have dry eyes or simply want to keep your eyes healthy in the digital age, SightC can help. Take 1-2 twice a day or more if you experience severe dry eye symptoms to nourish your eyes.
With happy eyes, living a happy life becomes easier. Try SightC.