Noni Berry Nutritional Benefits

(One of the key ingredients in Living Feast whole foods powder)

The noni berry is the fruit of the evergreen shrub known as canary wood, which is native to tropical areas of the South Pacific and Australia. Also known by its Latin name, Morinda citrifolia, noni is one of a handful of foods known as super fruits. According to a CBS News report, super fruits are high in antioxidants and nutritional value.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that noni has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants neutralize rogue free radicals--oxygen molecules that are not paired with cells and float freely through the body--that mutate otherwise healthy cells. The American Dietetic Association states that mutated cells can lead to inflamed cells, reduced immunity and accelerated signs of aging. They also have the potential for cancerous growth.

Cancer Preventer
The University of Illinois-Chicago's College of Medicine studied noni's effect on cancer. Scientists tested a dietary supplement on laboratory animals and monitored them for the growth of cancer DNA. The trial showed substantial reductions in heart, lung, liver and kidney cancer formation. UIC later tested noni's impact on cancer growth in smokers. Cancerous DNA was reduced by nearly half in the more than 200 smokers in the trial who took the noni supplement. Both studies conclude that noni may reduce cancer risk in both smokers and non-smokers alike.

Cholesterol Reducer
Noni is high in phenolic hydroxyl, an amino acid key in heart health. A team of Japanese scientists looked at how noni affects human cholesterol. The amino acid prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein, what doctors call bad cholesterol. Oxidized LDL leads to arteriosclerosis--plaque buildup on the walls of arteries--and restricted blood flow. The trial showed that noni "exhibited remarkably strong activities" due to the concentration of the amino acid.

Antifungal Treatment
Noni's acidity level makes it an effective fungus fighter. A 2006 study at Clark Atlanta University showed that noni inhibited the conversion of the relatively harmless fungus candida albicans into a contagious, infecting fungus. Thai researchers studied noni's activity on the oral form of candida albicans. Again, the berry showed an antifungal effect when used in high enough concentrations.

Noni and cholesterol
Reductions in total cholesterol and triglycerides have been seen in smokers who drank a product containing juice from the fruit every day for a month. The study was funded by the manufacturer of the product, sold as Tahitian Noni Juice. Researcher Mian-Ying Wang, MD, says she first became interested in studying this in 1999 after becoming convinced that it helped reduce her pain from a wrist fracture.

Noni and diabetes, blood sugar control
In Java, noni fruit has been part of the treatment for diabetes. Most of the folk uses for diabetes involve chewing the leaves or a combination of the plant and leaves. Chewing mulberry leaves releases and activates large amounts of mucilage or insoluble dietary fiber. The fiber may slow the absorption of simple sugars from the gut. The effect in most patients would be a slight reduction in the peak glucose level following a meal.

Energy enhancement
Noni fruit juice is an increasingly popular health food. Traditionally, noni fruit was used by Polynesians to combat fatigue. Clinical studies have revealed that noni juice consumption improves quality of life scores related to physical functioning and energy levels. To further evaluate the ergogenic (antifatigue and endurance promoting) potential of noni juice, aged mice were pretreated orally with increasing doses (10, 20 and 40 mL/kg body weight) of Tahitian Noni Juice and then compared with young and aged controls in the forced swim test and rotarod test. The average times of all Tahitian noni juice dose groups were significantly longer than the aged controls in both the swim test (36% to 45%) and the rotarod test (59% to 128%), and were similar to those of the young controls. This demonstrates not only an improvement in endurance but also in balance and flexibility. These results confirm the its reported use to combat fatigue, improve endurance and increase overall physical performance. 

Infections are the most common applications of noni. The extract from the leaves (not the fruit) displayed a moderate suppression of Ascaris lumbricoides (intestinal nematodes) growth in the test tube. However, noni juice has not been shown to improve infections once symptoms have manifested, although there are anecdotal reports of patients feeling better from mild infections after using it. Decoctions of the leaves or roots of related mulberry species may have some suppressive effect on parasitic infections. 

Noni and pain relief 
The treatment of pain, painful inflammation and swellings are a common usage. Studies in mice have demonstrated that extracts from the root (again, not rendered from the fruit) have some pain relieving and sedative activity.

Researched by Linda Lawrence-Winters regarding healthfoods and their physical benefits.