Goji berries are small, red berries native to southeastern Europe and Asia. Goji berries have garnered increased attention from Western countries for their antioxidant content and nutritional value. As such, the sale of goji juices has increased in these countries. However, no peer-reviewed research has supported these claims of extensive biological and health benefits. In fact, goji juice can cause several negative side effects of which consumers should be aware before adding goji juice to their diets.
General Side Effects
When consumed in large quantities, goji juice may produce undesirable side effects such as nausea and dizziness. Although goji berry allergies are uncommon, individuals with pollen allergies should avoid goji juice. Expecting mothers should also avoid goji juice, as the berries contain a high selenium content which may lead to birth defects.
Atropine is an alkaloid that occurs naturally in goji berries. Although the atropine content in goji berries is generally below the toxic amount, consumers should only drink goji juice in moderation. Consuming a high concentration of atropine can result in dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, dry mouth and potentially hallucinations.
Goji juice, even if taken in moderation, may cause acute insomnia in some consumers. Goji juice may cause insomnia by increasing alertness. However, this side effect is not serious and can be combated by only drinking goji juice in the morning.
Goji juice, like many other natural products, may affect blood clotting. Studies have shown that goji juice can interact with warfarin, an anticoagulant drug. Two studies showed that elderly women who drank large quantities of goji juice were at a higher risk for increased bleeding.
Goji juice may interact with prescription medications in addition to warfarin. Goji juice has been shown to interact with high blood pressure and diabetic medication, causing an abnormal drop in blood pressure or a decrease in blood sugar levels. Drops in blood sugar levels can lead to dizziness and fainting.
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