Goji berries, sometimes also known as wolfberries, are the fruit of a plant native to China that has incredible antioxidant power.
Like other antioxidant-packed superfoods, goji berries have a broad range of applications. They can help you reduce inflammation, increase energy levels, improve your immune system, and control your blood sugar levels.
Need a goji berry supplement to help you achieve some of these things? We’ve uncovered the ten highest-quality goji berry supplements on the market.
1. Navitas Organics Goji Berries
If you want goji berries in the most raw form possible, Navitas Organics is the way to go. These dried whole goji berries have no sulfites added as a preservative and have no added sugar, either.
They are certified organic berries, meaning you don’t have to worry about pesticide residue. These are great for cooking, snacking, or adding to oatmeal or salad to up your daily antioxidant intake.
2. OMG! Superfoods Goji Berry Powder
OMG! Superfoods strikes a nice balance between ease of use and less processing with its goji berry powder. Organically grown goji berries are the only ingredient, though unlike whole dried berries, they are powdered and dried more thoroughly.
This makes the powder an excellent addition to a smoothie or shake to boost your antioxidant intake, and you’re still getting most of the benefits of the raw berry.
3. Viva Naturals Organic Goji Berries
Viva Naturals sells dried, organically-grown goji berries with no additives (neither preservatives nor sugar). They’re an excellent raw and shelf-stable way to add in the antioxidant power of goji berries to your daily diet.
These goji berries do have a tendency to be very tough when they’re dried, but soaking them in a little water rectifies this problem.
Viva Naturals makes these in a one or a two-pound bag, so if you go through a lot of goji berries, this is your best option.
4. Rubygoji Goji Berries
This dried goji berry product uses raw goji berries that are organically certified, come in a resealable package, and uses no additives or sweeteners.
The product is a very solid choice if you are looking for a simple and organically produced source of dried goji berries.
5. Solaray Goji Berry
Among the capsule-based goji berry supplements, Solaray makes the best.. It has 700 mg of goji berry extract per capsule, and the design is pretty clean.
There isn’t much in the way of binders, stabilizers, or other extra ingredients that you may not want in a supplement.
Solaray is also fairly well-reputed among supplement makers, so the odds are good you’re getting a product from a quality source.
6. Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum Goji Berry
Each capsule of Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum Goji Berry contains 700 mg of goji berry extract, alongside a few stabilizers to keep its capsule-based form shelf-stable.
It’s a solid product if you don’t want dried berries or even berry powder.
7. Doctor’s Best Goji Berry Extract
Doctor’s Best makes a solid supplement for getting the antioxidant power of goji berries in a concentrated, capsule-based form.
Each capsule has 600 mg of goji berry extract, though there are a number of preservatives and additives that make this supplement a little less clean than it could be.
8. Hawaii Pharm Liquid Goji
In a unique approach, Hawaii Pharm provides a liquid extract version of goji berries using a glycerin and water solvent base.
It’s alcohol-free, unlike similar liquid-based supplement extracts, and it’s a decent solution if you don’t want to go for dried goji fruit or powderized goji berries, but want more control over the dosage than you’d get with capsules.
9. Herbtheory Male Fertility
Herbtheory leverages the use of goji berries in Chinese traditional medicine to improve male sexual function, and it includes a few additional herbs with reputed benefits along the same lines.
In this supplement, you’ll also find Chinese dodder, palm-leaf raspberry, schisandra, and plantain, but the precise amounts are hidden in a proprietary blend, making it difficult to assess the quality of this goji berry supplement.
10. AmerMed Goji Berry
AmerMed makes a capsule-based goji berry supplement that has a higher dose (800 mg) than some other competitors, but given that it comes from a relatively obscure manufacturer, and that there aren’t any other perks like using organically sourced goji berries, it’s hard to rank this supplement any higher. The capsule uses gelatin, so it isn’t vegan-friendly.
Who should buy goji berries?
Goji berries are a source of powerful antioxidants that have a long history of use in traditional Chinese herbal medicine practices. Thanks to new scientific research, we now know a lot more about exactly who can benefit form goji berries.
Research suggests that goji berries can help control blood sugar, which makes them potentially useful for people with metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes.
Goji berries also have all of the great properties you’d expect from a superfood antioxidant: they protect your DNA from damage, and help reduce the kind of chronic, systemic inflammation that’s associated with long-term health problems like heart disease.
In case you haven’t figured out already, goji berries are a long-term focused supplement. As with most other natural antioxidant sources, they aren’t going to have a benefit overnight.
So, if you are looking for a quick fix or rapid benefits from a supplement, goji berries are not the way to go. Instead, goji berries are the right choice if you want a supplement (or a snack) that’s decidedly oriented towards keeping your antioxidant levels high and inflammation levels low in the long run.
Because goji berries and goji berry supplements come in so many different forms, it’s easy to incorporate into your routine, whether that’s by taking a capsule along with your other daily supplements, by mixing liquid goji extract into a shake or smoothie, or even just adding some goji berries to your oatmeal in the morning.
How we ranked
Goji berries come in many different formats—you can get capsule based supplements that provide dried goji berry extract, bottles of liquid goji berry extract, or even whole dried goji berries. The variety of forms complicated the process of formulating our rankings; here’s how we tacked it.
First, we made a point to focus exclusively on products whose sole active ingredient was goji berries. You’ll often find goji berry as a prominent ingredient in many different general purpose antioxidant supplements, but we explicitly excluded these sorts of products from our rankings. It’s not fair to compare a multi-ingredient supplement, which will necessarily have a lower dose of goji berry, to supplements whose sole focus is goji berry.
More importantly, if you are looking to gain some of the benefits from goji berries that have been demonstrated in the scientific literature, you want to hew as closely to the research protocols as possible.
With a multi-ingredient supplement, it’s hard to isolate the effects of just one desired ingredient. After restricting our focus to single ingredient supplements, we then separated out the ones that had clean supplement design and minimal extraneous ingredients, like fillers and binders in capsule-based products or artificial colors and flavors in liquid supplements.
From here, we analyzed the best products within each category of capsule-based, liquid, and whole dried goji berries. We prioritized a high dosage and markers of overall purity: good manufacturing practices, disclosure of the actual amount of goji berry extract, or organic and fair trade certifications.
Once we determined the best products in each category, we had to rank the categories themselves. We considered the needs of most users of goji berries, and factored in considerations like ease of use, dosage level, and exposure to other extraneous ingredients.
We concluded that whole dried goji berries or bulk goji berry powder was the best choice for most people, thanks to how easy it is to incorporate into your daily routine.
Dried goji berries go great in a salad, yogurt, granola, or oatmeal, and goji berry powder can be easily mixed into protein shakes, green drinks, or smoothies. We selected the best of each product category, then formulated our final rankings. These are the very best options on the market right now when it comes to goji berries.
Goji berries have a long history in traditional medicine. Goji berries have been used by traditional medicine practitioners for many years for its ability to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and fight oxidative damage.
Modern scientific research is uncovering more direct health applications of goji berries, which extend to treating risk factors for type two diabetes, reducing inflammation and oxidative damage, and perhaps even protecting your eyesight.
Goji berries can decrease blood sugar. Research in lab rats with type two diabetes has found that introduction of goji berries into the diet can reduce blood sugar and improve the symptoms of type two diabetes.
This is according to research published in 2015 in the journal Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies (1).
The paper describes how an injection of goji berry extract into the bloodstream over the course of seven weeks led to an improvement in blood sugar compared to a control group.
Other research cited in a review article by researchers at Poznan University of Life Sciences in Poland found that active compounds in goji berries seem to have blood sugar lowering effects in animal models or cellular models as well, though the precise mechanism behind this effect remains unknown (2). In either case, goji berries could be useful for managing or treating type two diabetes.
Goji berries could help preserve your vision. One of the interesting findings of research into the use of goji berries to treat diabetes was the fact that some of its ingredients appear to be biologically active in the eyes. One of the effects of type two diabetes is degradation in the retina, a key part of your eye.
Research published in the scientific journal Biochemical Pharmacology by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia found that an ingredient in goji berries appears to have a protective effect on some of the cells of the human retina, which could have implications for goji berries use for other vision conditions (3).
The researchers noted a dose-dependent relationship, meaning that the greater your goji berry intake, the greater the protective effects on your retina.
Goji berries can protect you from oxidative damage. While goji berries are known to contain a lot of antioxidants, it’s usually hard to measure or quantify how well these can protect your body from oxidative damage and aging.
Fortunately, a clever experiment published in the journal Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences by researchers in Australia was able to demonstrate the protective effects of goji berries in an animal model (4). In their experiment, a group of mice were given either a goji berry juice drink, or a placebo drink carrying many of the same ingredients, but no goji berry compounds.
The mice were exposed to a high dose of ultraviolet light, which causes oxidative damage to DNA and releases free radicals into the body. The researchers measured the degree of damage that occurred inside the mice’s body, and found that the goji berry extract significantly reduced the degree of oxidative damage.
While this is a long ways from research in humans exposed to natural amounts of oxidative damage, it is nevertheless promising—oxidative damage, and the concomitant inflammation and DNA damage—is one of the major biological pathways that causes aging. If goji berries can prevent this damage, it could keep you feeling younger, healthier, and more energized.
Goji berries can reduce inflammation. According to a review article in Food Research International, several studies have demonstrated specific cellular effects on reducing inflammation thanks to goji berries or their active compounds (5).
Usually, these experiments involve exposing animal models or tissue cultures to a compound that causes oxidative damage, which in turn causes inflammation. Goji berries contain compounds which have been found to prevent or reduce this oxidative damage, or the inflammation that follows.
Again, this is a long ways off from clinical trials in humans, or treatments for specific health conditions, but given the importance of inflammation in many chronic health issues, goji berries look like a promising avenue for reducing or even preventing some of this inflammation.
The antioxidant activity of the goji berry increases substantially after it is digested. Food chemistry and nutrition researchers often want to know how “good” different fruits and vegetables are in terms of their antioxidant capabilities.
Scientists often pit extracts from different food sources against one another on a standardized test to see which ones have the highest activity against a particular type of free radical or oxidizing agent. Traditionally, goji berry extracts do not score as well on these tests as some classic antioxidants from foods like pomegranate or blueberry.
However, a new paper highlights some problems with these traditional testing methods that might have resulted in an underestimate of the true antioxidant powers of goji berry. The paper, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Sciences, tested the antioxidant activity of several classic sources of antioxidants, but in two conditions: first, following the standard testing protocols, and second, following a simulated “digestion” (6).
The digestion involved exposing the extracts to digestive enzymes that are found in the stomach, with the hypothesis that the digestive enzymes and the acidic environment of the stomach could change the antioxidant activity of the compounds in question.
For goji berries specifically, the researchers found that there was a significant increase in the antioxidant activity of goji berries after they’d been exposed to the simulated digestion in the stomach.
These findings suggest that standard lab testing may not reflect the true potential of goji berries, and that looking to real research in living creatures might give a clearer picture of benefits of the goji berry.
New research has demonstrated eye-protecting effects of goji berries for older adults. While earlier work on goji berries and eye health was limited to animal studies, new scientific studies are starting to demonstrate benefits in human subjects too.
One such study was published in 2018 in the International Journal of Ophthalmology by a team of researchers in China (7). The study randomly assigned 114 people with age-related macular degeneration to receive either a placebo or a goji berry supplement delivering 25 grams of raw goji berries every day.
The researchers followed the subjects for a total of 90 days, and assessed their level of progression of macular degeneration. The researchers found that the group that received goji berries fared better than the group that received the placebo, based on the ratios of specific biomarkers of macular degeneration.
While it would be great to see longer-term research to see if goji berries make a big difference in the long run, these results are very promising and could make goji berries a good choice for people looking to improve their eye health.
Another study published in 2019 provides further evidence that goji berries can slow down degeneration of eye function. This paper, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, was a small clinical trial of people with a degenerative retinal condition that results in progressive loss of visual function (8).
Like with the previous study, half of the subjects received a goji berry supplement while half received a placebo. The researchers followed the subjects for a full year, monitoring the integrity of the macular layers in both groups.
They found that the placebo group experienced degeneration in the thickness of this part of the eye, but the goji berry group did not.
Moreover, they did not find any adverse effects associated with the goji berry supplement, which is good news if you are looking to use goji berries long-term for eye health.
The strong results from the two studies discussed above will no doubt spur further research into goji berry supplements and eye health (and perhaps other degenerative conditions as well), so expect to hear more about goji berries in the future.
There have been a few documented cases of goji berries and their extracts having negative drug interactions with warfarin, a common blood thinner prescribed to people with a history of stroke or blood clots.
A case study published by a team of doctors in the journal Pharmacology in 2012 described one of these instances (6). A woman who had recently had knee surgery and was subsequently prescribed warfarin was consuming a goji juice product, and reported to the emergency room with bruising and bleeding from her nose.
The doctors established that there was a likely connection between the goji juice and the warfarin, as once she stopped taking the goji juice, her symptoms improved rapidly.
Warfarin is known to interact with many biologically active compounds, so its adverse interactions with goji are perhaps not surprising given its wide, systematic effects.
Aside from this, the only other known adverse effects associated with goji berries are related to allergic reactions, which are a rare but potential side effect with almost any plant-based material.
In the small number of clinical trials conducted thus far, no negative adverse effects were reported.
In the clinical literature established thus far (which, admittedly, is fairly limited) the dose of goji berries which is biologically active appears to be in the range of six to 18 grams of dried berry material (or 25 to 120 grams of fresh berries, though access to those is a rarity outside China).
This is according to a review article on the traditional and clinical uses of goji berries published in Food Research International (9).
The authors, one of which is a researcher at the University of Illinois Chicago and the other of which is a researcher for FreeLife, which makes a goji berry product, report that goji berries can either be taken in one dosage or split up into several doses throughout the day.
Dosing details beyond this require further research, and the amount of goji extract that is equivalent to the six to 18 gram dosage level from raw dried fruit material isn’t clear either. More advanced chemical analysis is needed to establish the concentration of the active ingredients in goji berry extract.
Q: Is the goji berry good for you?
A: Goji berries deliver a solid amount of micronutrients like vitamin A, riboflavin, and several trace minerals. On top of this, goji berries are a great source of antioxidants that may help protect your eyes, your skin, and help improve your blood sugar control.
Compared to other antioxidant supplements and sources, the research supporting goji berries is at an earlier stage, so most of the potential benefits of goji berries are based on animal studies or very small clinical trials. Nevertheless, it’s an easy addition to your supplementation or diet routine, making it worthy of consideration.
Q: What do goji berries taste like?
A: Goji berries have a distinctively tart and sour taste, not too dissimilar to cranberries, dried cherries, or lingonberries.
When dried, goji berries are chewy, but unless they’ve dried out, should not be too hard. Like raisins, they’ll readily soak up moisture if you add them to oatmeal or a bowl of granola. If you are using powdered goji berry extract, the taste can be a bit more intense, just because of the increased surface area of the powder.
Q: Is wolfberry the same thing as goji berry?
A: Yes, wolfberry is another name for the goji berry. The term ‘wolfberry’ is less commonly used in nutritional supplement materials, though at gardening stores and nurseries, you may see the term ‘wolfberry’ more often.
In this article and in most medical and scientific literature, “goji berry” or the scientific name Lycium barbarum are most common.
Q: Does goji berry have benefits for skin?
A: Goji berry’s antioxidant effects might help protect your skin from ultraviolet light and heal skin that has been damaged by solar radiation.
Ultraviolet light from the sun is the biggest single factor in aging skin and also contributes to overall oxidative stress in your body. The reason some nutritionists believe that goji berries can help your skin is because laboratory research in animals has shown that goji berries can counteract some of the oxidative damage induced by UV light.
In lab research, ultraviolet light is a popular way to induce a controlled amount of oxidative damage. While these same benefits have not been demonstrated yet in people, that hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from taking goji berries in an attempt to improve their skin health.
Q: What plant is the goji berry from?
A: Goji berries are from the Lycium barbarum plant (or sometimes the Lycium chinense plant, a very close relative).
The plant is sometimes called the matrimony vine. It is most commonly found in Asia, which explains the popularity of goji berries in Eastern traditional medicine practices. Fundamentally, the plant is a shrub, and produces goji berries (sometimes also called wolfberries) after it blooms.
Q: Are goji berries nutritious?
A: Goji berries are high in antioxidants, which probably accounts for their potent health benefits. But beyond just antioxidants, goji berries are also a good source of vitamin A and a solid source of riboflavin as well.
Goji berries are also good sources of trace minerals, including iron, copper, and selenium. This should not be too surprising, given that you’ll find similar micronutrient benefits in other powerful fruits that are good sources of antioxidants, like cranberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
While the majority of the calories in goji berries come from sugars and simple carbohydrates, these are all naturally-occurring in the fruit, and the presence of fiber alongside the sugars should blunt their impact on your body.
Q: What is a goji berry?
A: The goji berry is a small, red, tart fruit produced by the matrimony vine, referred to scientifically as the Lycium barbarum plant.
The plant is a medium-sized shrub that grows in Europe and Asia, and is most well-known for providing the goji berry, which has a long history of use in traditional medical practices and is now being studied more intently using modern scientific research techniques to uncover potential health benefits.
Goji berries have a long history of traditional use, but clinical research into its uses is still in the early stages.
There is some promising evidence that goji berries could be useful for lowering blood sugar, protecting your eyes as you get older, stopping oxidative damage from ultraviolet radiation or other sources of free radicals, and decreasing levels of certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Goji berries do appear to have the potential to have an adverse interaction with warfarin, but aside from this, it appears to be quite safe.
The optimal dosage appears to be around six to 18 grams of dried goji berries per day, though further research is required to establish best practices for dosage.
Despite these drawbacks, the antioxidant power of this supplement is impressive, and plenty of research is underway to uncover more about how it could keep you younger, healthier, and more energized.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 goji berry recommendation, click here.