Sydney researchers find Goji berry’s impact on diabetic blindness

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th June 2012

The Tibetan goji berry could help fight blindness caused by long-term diabetes according to studies undertaken by University of Sydney researchers.

Faculty of Pharmacy researchers conducted in vitro tests to investigate the potential power of the berry, which has been associated with health-oriented marketing claims.

According to lead researcher, University of Sydney Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Basil Roufogalis, the goji berry is rich in taurine, an ingredient credited with anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties which could protect the retina.

“Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness for people with diabetes,” said Professor Roufogalis, adding that “Blood vessels build up in the retina and grow over the vision spot, which can result in vision loss.”

The researchers found that the goji berry offered a form of protection against the death of cells caused by high concentrations of glucose in the retina.

“We are hopeful that these promising results for treating or preventing diabetic retinopathy will lead to human clinical trials,” said Professor Roufogalis.

Professor Alan Bensoussan, director of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), hailed the novel research.

“This is pioneering scientific research in the field of herbal medicine, and is to be applauded for investigating novel ways to address the debilitating effects of diabetes, which is such a pressing global health problem,” Professor Bensoussan said.