A customer of ours sent a link to a video where Dr. Gundry says that goji berries are toxic for humans. Quite naturally this customer was alarmed as he said he consumed two bags of our goji berry powder per month.
So I took a look at the video and here are my thoughts.
First of all, he says there is no research regarding the health benefits of goji berries. This is a straight up lie. Different components like the Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides, it’s antioxidant capabilities, plus the whole host of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.) have been investigated.
While we have six such studies and papers in our references section, a search of ‘lycium barbarum’ on Pubmed results in 663 results. Sure, there aren’t many double-blind human trials, but lack of evidence does not mean evidence of lack. I like to go back to the ancient wisdom, and there’s a reason that goji berry is one of the very top herbs in Chinese medicine.
But that is just how this doctor frames his argument. Then he goes into the one thing that he says is toxic about them…lectins!
His whole argument against them is that they have lectins. Yes, they do, but so do lots of other foods.
The most ridiculous statement he makes is that he mentions potatoes and tomatoes in there, but that you won’t stop eating those, so you should stop eating goji instead. This is laughable because the amount you consume, of the food and thus lectins, is way higher in those regular foods than in goji.
The fact is that if lectins are a problem those foods should be avoided first and foremost along with all grains, legumes and dairy which also have lectins.
This is similar to the argument that has been made about the aluminum content in shilajit and some other herbs.
Another important part is that NOT all lectins are bad. While I couldn’t find anything about specific goji berry lectins, in my research for the recently released nettle root tincture, the Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA) is a lectin, that is being investigated for slowing prostate growth and also for bolstering the immune system against viruses.
So where does this all come from?
It appears that this doctor has had good results in putting people with auto-immunity on a lectin avoidance diet. Plus, goji’s are in the nightshade family. This means that some people with nightshade sensitivity would be best to avoid them, and stick to other herbs.
But unless you’re working to cut out all lectins from your diet, and they’re in MOST plant food, then avoiding goji berries for this reason is worth doing.