Goji protects muscle cells against exhaustion

Goji berries [Lycium barbarum] may have an anti-catabolic effect, according to a Chinese animal study published recently in an obscure scientific journal.

In the study, male rats were given sugar chains extracted from goji berries in their food for 30 days. The Lycium barbarum I group were given food containing 0.5 percent goji extract; the Lycium barbarum II group were given food containing 1 percent and the Lycium barbarum III group food containing 1.5 percent.

At the end of the period the rats had to swim every day to the point of exhaustion, when they could no longer keep their head above water.

After that the researchers measured the activity [CK] and concentration of the enzyme creatine kinase [CK-MB] in the rats' blood. The higher the blood levels of both after physical exertion, the more damage there is to the muscles. The enzyme leaks into the blood through damaged muscle-cell membranes.

Rats in the Normal control group didn't swim and weren't given goji extract. The animals in the Exhausted-swimming group did swim, but weren't given goji extract.

The supplement also protected the heart muscle, writes researcher Shao JiPing. "In exhausted swimming model rats, the myocyte apoptosis occurred after T lymphocyte infiltration in myocardium. A large area of myocytes lytic necrosis was detected. However, in LBE pre-treatment rats, some symptom was markedly improved. Our result indicated that Lycium barbarum extract could reduced serum CK and CK-MB activities and reduce fatigue in exhausted swimming rats."

Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 5(14), pp. 3335-3337, 18 July, 2011.