Goji Berry Extract Improves Gut Health and Reduces Colon Inflammation

Jim Crocker
22nd May, 2024

Goji Berry Extract Improves Gut Health and Reduces Colon Inflammation

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine explored the effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) on ulcerative colitis (UC) in a mouse model
  • LBP significantly improved the structure of colonic tissue by increasing proteins essential for gut barrier integrity
  • LBP treatment restored healthy levels of beneficial gut bacteria and reduced harmful bacteria in mice with UC-like symptoms
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease affecting the colon and rectum, with aetiology involving genetic, environmental, and immune factors[2]. Current treatments have improved but are not universally effective, prompting the search for alternative therapies. A recent study by Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine explores the potential of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) in regulating gut microbiota to alleviate UC[1]. The study used a mouse model treated with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) to induce UC-like symptoms. Researchers monitored body weight and disease activity indices daily, and analyzed colon tissue with hematoxylin and eosin staining. They assessed inflammatory markers and the expression of proteins MUC-2, claudin-1, ZO-1, and TGR5 using assay kits and immunohistochemistry. Additionally, 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry were employed to analyze intestinal microbiota and related bile acids. The findings revealed that LBP significantly improved colonic tissue structure by upregulating MUC-2, claudin-1, and ZO-1 proteins. These proteins are crucial for maintaining the integrity of the gut barrier, which often becomes impaired in inflammatory bowel diseases[3]. The study also found that the bacterial genus Dubosiella, dominant in healthy mice, was significantly reduced in DSS-treated mice but was rehabilitated to healthy levels with LBP treatment. Furthermore, beneficial bacterial genera like Akkermansia and Bifidobacterium increased, while harmful genera such as Turicibacter, Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1, Escherichia-Shigella, and Faecalibaculum decreased. These changes in gut microbiota were linked to improved gut barrier function through the upregulation of TGR5, a receptor involved in bile acid signaling. The activity of beneficial bacteria promoted the production of lithocholic and deoxycholic acids, which are bile acids known to support gut health. The study aligns with previous research indicating that LBP can mitigate intestinal barrier dysfunction and reduce inflammation[3]. It also builds on the understanding that polysaccharides from traditional Chinese medicine have significant pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory effects[4]. This new evidence suggests that LBP could be a valuable nutrient for managing gut health and alleviating UC symptoms by modulating the gut microbiota. In conclusion, the inflammatory microenvironment in the gut is largely influenced by the balance of gut microbiota. LBP has shown promise in restoring beneficial bacteria and improving gut barrier function, making it a potential nutrient for UC management. Further research could pave the way for clinical applications of LBP in modern medicine, offering a complementary approach to existing UC treatments.



Main Study

1) Lycium barbarum polysaccharide remodels colon inflammatory microenvironment and improves gut health.

Published 30th May, 2024 (future Journal edition)


Related Studies

3) Lycium barbarum polysaccharides ameliorate intestinal barrier dysfunction and inflammation through the MLCK-MLC signaling pathway in Caco-2 cells.


4) Lycium Barbarum: A Traditional Chinese Herb and A Promising Anti-Aging Agent.


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