Wolfberry Boosts SOD Activity to Fight Biological Aging
Laboratory analysis has shown that an exotic fruit known as wolfberry is one of nature’s most concentrated sources of antioxidants. Moreover, emerging research suggests that wolfberry’s antioxidant properties may be attributable to its ability to increase the availability of SOD throughout the body.
For nearly 2,000 years, wolfberry has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve immune system function, vision, circulation, and sperm production, as well as to detoxify and protect the liver. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that wolfberry may also improve life span, sexual energy, vigor, and muscular strength, while reducing pain and protecting against cancer, inflammation, and viral infection.6
The abundance of nutrients and antioxidants packed into the tiny wolfberry include plant-derived polyphenolic antioxidants; carotenoids such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene; vitamins C, B1, B2, and niacin; more than 30 essential and trace minerals, including zinc, iron, copper, calcium, selenium, and phosphorus; polysaccharides; and 18 amino acids such as isoleucine, tryptophan, leucine, and arginine.
Wolfberry’s antioxidant activity is likely attributable in part to its carotenoids, phenolics, and vitamin C.44 Compared to other highly potent antioxidants derived from traditional Chinese herbs, wolfberry is even more effective in scavenging superoxide radicals and preventing their formation. Based on these observations, scientists believe that wolfberry dietary supplements represent an important source of daily antioxidant intake.45
Wolfberry’s powerful antioxidant effects, however, may also arise from its ability to boost SOD’s activity in the body. Wolfberry accelerates the rate of biochemical reactions that enable SOD to carry out its essential function of quenching oxidative stress. Since SOD disarms the dangerous superoxide radical to fight inflammation and degenerative diseases, wolfberry may have similar therapeutic effects, protecting against diabetes, sexual dysfunction, and the effects of aging.
One research team tested wolfberry’s effects in oxygen-deprived subjects. Those who received wolfberry demonstrated higher SOD activity and antioxidant capacity than did those deprived of oxygen in the absence of wolfberry.7 Wolfberry thus appears to protect against the damaging effects of ischemia (insufficient oxygen supply).