Goji berries are delicious fruit berries that belong to either Lycium barbarum or Lycium Chinese, two closely related species of the boxthorn in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. They are native to Asia and are being used in Asian cuisine from the ancient time. They are used not only for the culinary purposes but also as an ingredient in the traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese medicines. They are also known as wolfberries. Goji berries are very beneficial for us and provide a number of health benefits, and as well as beauty benefits to us because of the presence of a number of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc. in them. Although goji berries are good for us and provide numerous benefits, it is advisable to be on the safe side and consume goji berries in moderation. This is because too much of everything is bad, and the same goes for goji berries. In this article, we will know about the major side effects of eating too many goji berries.
Side Effects of Eating Too Many Goji Berries
(1) Too Much Dietary Fiber Is Bad For Stomach
Consuming goji berries on a regular and moderate basis have been found to be very beneficial for our stomach and helps in maintaining our digestive health. This benefit of goji berries is primarily due to the presence of dietary fibers in them. The dietary fibers present in the goji berries act as a natural laxative which means it improves bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool from the system. This provides relief from constipation and also aids in the treatment of various gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas and bloating, etc.
Although dietary fibers are useful for our digestive health, it is recommended to eat goji berries in moderation. This is because excess intake of dietary fibers has been found to give rise to problems such as poor absorption of nutrients by the intestines, intestinal gas, intestinal blockage, bloating and flatulence. Dietary fibers also absorb excess water from our system and this advantage of it is beneficial in the treatment of problems such as diarrhea. However, intake of too much dietary fiber without drinking enough water may increase the risk of dehydration in the body which give rise to problems such as indigestion, increased risk of constipation, diarrhea and muscle cramps, etc.
(2) Too Many Antioxidants Are Bad
Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenol, etc. These antioxidants and the relevant compound present in the goji berries fight with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our system, and thus reduces the risk of various cancers.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that get formed in our body during the oxidation process. As these are unstabilized, so they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and while doing so, it causes oxidative damage to them. Antioxidants are also useful for proper elimination of toxins and other impurities from our system and this reduces the burden from vital organs like liver and kidneys etc.
They also provide numerous other benefits such as making our immune system stronger, improving cognitive functions such as sharper memory and better focus, improving cardiovascular health and so on.
No doubt antioxidants provide numerous benefits to our health but it is advisable to consume them in moderation. This is because it has been found that a high intake of antioxidants in our system can harm our system to a significant level.
As per a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, it was found that smokers who took beta-carotene supplements ( an antioxidant) in high doses for a prolonged period of time were more likely to develop lung cancer in comparison to those who didn’t. Another study conducted by the office of dietary supplements found that a high level of vitamin E in our system may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in the system.
This negative effect of antioxidants is basically because of the way antioxidants interact with the cells of our body. In moderate quantity, antioxidants only target the free radicals responsible for causing oxidative damage to our cells. However, when antioxidants are in excessive quantity, they not only target the free radicals but also starts targeting the healthy cells around them and thus starts causing oxidative damage to them giving rise to various cancer(s).
(3) May Develop Allergic Reactions In Some Individuals
Being a good source of many nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc. and presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for us as they provide a number of health and beauty benefits. However, the benefits of goji berries can’t be enjoyed by all in an equal manner. This is because some individuals might be allergic to goji berries and they should avoid consuming goji berries as it can otherwise give rise to allergic reactions.
Also, if you are allergic to other berries then you are more likely to be allergic to goji berries too.
(4) Eating Goji Berries During Pregnancy And Nursing Stage
Pregnancy is an important stage in the life of every woman, and at this stage, it becomes very important for her to make sure that she is eating a balanced diet full of nutrition. This is because what she eats and drinks not only determines her health but also the health and wellness of the baby developing in her womb.
Goji berry is an excellent source of many nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibers, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc. and presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for the pregnancy stage. The antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds present in the goji berries protects the uterus and the baby inside it from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals of the body. It also strengthens the immune system which further helps in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Other essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals etc. also provides nourishment to the mother and the baby, and thus aids in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Although goji berries are beneficial when it comes to pregnancy, it is advisable to be on the safe side and consume them in moderation and only after having a word with your doctor.
The high level of selenium in goji berries is known to affect the growth of the fetus and may give rise to birth defects.
And, not only during pregnancy but even during the nursing stage it is advisable to eat goji berries in moderation as too much goji berries may give rise to digestive problems such as gas, bloating, indigestion, etc.
(5) May Interact With Anticoagulants Such As Warfarin
Goji berries are anticoagulant in nature which means they are very effective for the treatment of blood clots. Blood clots are the clots of blood that gets formed in our veins and give rise to problems such as poor blood circulation past the clot, sharp pain, soreness, and swelling, etc. Goji berries help in the thinning of the blood and thus helps in getting rid of blood clots.
However, if you are already taking anticoagulant medicines such as warfarin, then it is advisable to keep an eye on your goji berries consumption and consume it only after having a word with your doctor about the same. This is because the anticoagulant nature of the goji berries may interfere with the medication and may thin our blood to a dangerous level and thereby increase the risk of heavy periods, bloody or discolored urines or feces, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, dizziness, muscle weakness, and rashes, etc.
(6) May Interfere With Functioning Of Diabetes Medications
Consuming goji berries on a regular and moderate basis have been found to be very beneficial for the people suffering from diabetes and for those who are at the risk of developing diabetes. This benefit of goji berries is mainly because of the low glycemic index of the fruit. The glycemic index of food determines the rate at which a particular food item will release sugar into the bloodstream.
The glycemic index of goji berries is 29 which is considered as low and it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow rate and prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level and thus helps in managing diabetes. Also, the dietary fibers present in the goji berries reduce the rate at which sugar gets absorbed by the bloodstream and thus aids in keeping our blood sugar under control.
Although goji berries are good for diabetic patients, it is advisable to be on the safe side and consume goji berries in moderation. This is because goji berries are also known to affect the functioning of pancreas and the production of insulin and may affect blood sugar level in a negative manner.
In addition to this, if you are a diabetic patient and already taking medication for the same then consuming too many goji berries may interfere with the functioning of the diabetic medications in a negative manner.
(7) May Cause Hypotension
Eating dried goji berries on a regular and moderate basis have been found to be very beneficial for providing relief from hypertension or high blood pressure which is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat and so on. This advantage of goji berries is primarily due to the presence of potassium in it. Potassium is a vital mineral that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and helps in keeping our blood pressure under control.
Even though goji berries helps in regulating blood pressure, it is advisable to be on the safe side and consume the fruit in moderation. This is because too much potassium in the system may lower our blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypotension. Hypotension is a condition which occurs when our blood pressure drops down below the normal range and is characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, depression, and loss of consciousness, etc.
Also, if you are suffering from hypertension and already taking medication for the same then it is better to limit the consumption of goji berries as they may otherwise interfere with the blood pressure medication.
(8) May Cause Pollen Allergies
Goji berries are not suitable for the individuals who suffer from pollen allergies and they should avoid goji berries at all cost. Not just eating but even getting in touch with goji berries may cause allergic reactions in them. Some common allergic reactions that may arise are sneezing, itchy skin, wheezing, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and hives.
(9) May Disturb Sleep
There is always a right time to do everything and when it comes to enjoying goji berries, the best time is during the day. Eating too many goji berries have been found to interfere with the regular sleep pattern giving rise to problems such as sleepless nights, anxiety, restless, etc. In moderation, goji berries can still be enjoyed during the night, the problem basically arises when you are consuming too many goji berries over a prolonged period of time.
(10) High Energy Level
Consuming goji berries in excessive quantity is known to increase the level of energy in our system. Now, this is a curse as well as a blessing depending on how you look at it. No doubt, the increase in the energy level will help you in accomplishing so many things throughout the day, too much of it can become unmanageable giving rise to hyperactiveness and restlessness. The high energy level is also known to disturb the concentration and your ability to focus on the work at hand.
(11) Increase In Blood Flow
Eating too many goji berries are known to increase the risk of hemophiliacs, which mainly affects senior citizens. This disadvantage of goji berries is mainly caused by the increase in the speed of blood flow beyond the normal range.
(12) May Cause Dizziness
Excessive consumption of goji berries can give rise to problems such as dizziness, eye discomfort, blurred vision, and hallucinations. This side effect of goji berries is mainly because of the presence of atropine, a toxic alkaloid in it.
(13) High Selenium Levels
Another side effect of eating goji berries in excessive quantity is its ability to negatively affect the growth of the fetus. This side effect of goji berries is because of the high level of selenium in it. The selenium present in the goji berries can also cause serious birth defects, abnormal sperm production, and low sperm count.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
P.S- Consider sharing this post, if you find it useful and/or interesting
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.