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Goji Berries May Provide Eye Health Benefits

Goji berries are tiny red fruits that are native to Asia. They contain a high level of antioxidants and the highest amount of zeaxanthin among all known dietary sources. A recent study found that regularly eating 1 oz. of dried goji berries increased macular pigment optical density (MPOD), which has a protective effect in the retina and may help delay the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Twenty-seven adults with an average age of 55 participated in the study. Half consumed one ounce of dried goji berries 5 times per week for 90 days. The other half were given a supplement containing 6 mg of lutein and 4 mg of zeaxanthin 5 times per week for 90 days. Previous studies have found that increased dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may help increase MPOD.

Macular pigment optical density (a measure of the density of macular pigment) was measured at baseline and at the end of the study period using a macular densitometer. Skin carotenoid content was also measured.

Participants in the goji berry group saw significant increases in macular pigment optical density. No changes were seen in the supplement group. Skin carotenoid levels were also significantly increased in the goji berry group, but not in the supplement group.

The study was conducted by researchers from UC Davis. It was published on December 9, 2021 in the journal Nutrients.

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