With age comes the mishap of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases, which has been linked to the oxidation process in the body. Cancer is also considered to be linked to the same.
Atherosclerosis, a heart disease which refers to formation o the plaques in the artery walls is caused due to the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, a major part of low density lipoproteins(LDL) in the blood.
The blood vessel cells release free radicals on oxidation and these radicals degrade the lipid molecules by stealing their electrons which finally leads to plaque formation on the walls.Thus highly oxidized LDL is harmful.
Reactive oxygen species(ROS) are produced as a part of cellular metabolism which contains the free radicals.Free radicals in excess induce DNA damage by reacting with it, leading to the mutation of DNA which ultimately causes cancer.
Antioxidant includes vitamins C and E and β-carotene. These help to prevent the oxidation of other molecules by reacting with the free radicals and inhibiting them.
An abundant amount of antioxidant is found in “Goji Berries.”Scientifically known as Lycium barbarum, this plant belongs to the Solanaceae family and is predominantly grown in Asia.
The study mentioned below focuses on how antioxidants present in the Goji berry works.
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What happened in the study?
A study was carried out on50 healthy individuals of Chinese origin, between the age of 55 and 72 years. The individuals were given eitherGoji Berry juice or placebo (control).
The trial was double-blinded clinical trial i.e. both the respondents and doctors were unaware of the respondent being given Goji Berry juice or placebo.
In the trial, the serum levels of in vivo antioxidant markers consisting of Glutathione peroxidase, Superoxide dismutase, and Malondialdehyde were examined before and after the consumption of the juice.
120 milliliters of Goji berry juice or placebo was consumed daily for 30 days by the individuals.
What were the results?
The respondents receiving the Goji berry juice showed significant differences in the antioxidant markers.
Superoxide dismutase levels increased by 8.4%, Glutathione peroxidase levels increased by 9.9% while the Malondialdehyde levels decreased by 8.7% in between the pre-consumption and post-consumption measurements.
Also, the levels of Superoxide Dismutase, Glutathione peroxidase, and Malondialdehyde were found to be different from the placebo given respondents at the post-consumption time, with the increase of 8.1%,9% and a decrease of 6% respectively.
There wasn’t any significant change observed in the placebo given respondents between the pre and post consumption time periods.
How does this occur?
Goji berry juice contains small molecules known as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPS) in it. These polysaccharides help in stimulating the activities of endogenous antioxidant markers like Superoxide Dismutase, Glutathione peroxidase, and Malondialdehyde.
All three of these markers helps in the regulation of free radicals, which if not done, may cause cell damage. Thus the presence of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides in the body boosts the antioxidant effect, thereby inhibiting cell damage.
Due to excessive oxidation occurring in the body, superoxide radicals are formed which get converted into hydrogen peroxide that causes cell damage. To stop the superoxide radicals from being converted, Superoxide dismutase comes into action.
It’s an enzyme that helps to neutralize the superoxide ions by undergoing oxidation and reduction successively of transition metals present in its active (reaction) site. Thus high levels of Superoxide dismutase helps in stabilizing these ions and hence prevents cell destruction.
Glutathione peroxidases also help in the reduction of hydrogen peroxide and lipid hydroperoxides. The attribute of this mechanism goes to unique amino acid known as Selenocysteine present in this enzyme.
Selenocysteine along with low-molecular-weight thiols (-RSH groups) reduce the hydrogen peroxides to alcohols, thereby preventing cell damage.
Lipid peroxidation which leads to the disruption of cell membrane layer is also stopped by the action of Glutathione peroxidases.
Malondialdehyde is released on its disruption which inhibits many important proteins and hence its functions. Thus low levels of it help in stopping the inhibitory action of Malondialdehyde on our bodily functions.
What does this mean?
Subsequent results found after the study indicate that if 120 milliliters of Goji berry juice is consumed daily, after a period of 30 days, we can find a high amount of in vivo antioxidant marker levels in the body which later contributes to inhibition of oxidative stress.
The high level of antioxidant markers like Superoxide Dismutase and Glutathione Peroxidase attained in a short span reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer too apart from preventing cell damage.
It is also said to prevent some neurological disorders due to lowering of Malondialdehyde in our body and hence related protein functions are not affected.
Thus overall, consuming Goji berry juice will speedily boost up the efficiency of antioxidants by stimulating the endogenous factors and hence reduce or prevent the harmful free radicals.
Read paper here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19185773