Noni: Tropical Super Fruit – Powerful Support for the Immune System, Brain, Bones, and more

Monday, November 17, 2014
By: Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

Noni is a tropical fruit that has been widely used for centuries in herbal and folk medicine. It is a traditional natural medicine, or functional medicine food, commonly used in French Polynesia and Hawaii. It has many claims to fame including pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxifier, and cell rejuvenator. Research published in the last two years validates these claims. In addition, there are several new and exciting discoveries about noni that make it vital to have in our pantry or our nutrient regime.

Candida and Allergies

Candida is a common concern facing individuals with antibiotic use, gut problems, skin problems, and chronic illness. Scientists compared the medicine amphotericin B to noni in candida albicans in petri dishes. Amphotericin B is a powerful antifungal drug used to treat serious fungal infections. Noni inhibited the growth of candida comparable to the prescription and without the serious side effects. Another cell culture study showed that noni interfered with Candida albicans and stopped its transformation from a cellular yeast into the dangerous germ gang filamentous form. This is especially helpful for root canal problems as candida is the most common fungus seen in root canals.

Sufferers of candida often face considerable challenges with allergies. A July 2014 study showed that noni fruit and leaf extracts were able to prevent allergy symptoms such as swelling for early phase (24 hour) and very late phase reactions (eight days). The study concluded, “These data suggest that noni fruits and leaves can be a daily consumable material for the prevention of allergic symptoms.”

Autoimmunity and Cancer

Autoimmue disorders are at epidemic levels in this country and around the world. All autoimmune disorders combined are the third leading cause of death. Noni gives us added ammunition in the battle of autoimmunity. Research released earlier this year demonstrates noni’s remarkable properties in rebalancing and supporting immune function. Noni inhibited the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-2 and activated cell-mediated immunity when it was being suppressed or fatigued by inflammation. In addition, noni activated natural killer cells and improved cell-mediated immunity. Cell mediated immunity involves mostly T cells that respond to cells in trouble with pathogens, tumor cells, or transplant cells. 

Noni extract is also used in traditional folk medicine for cancer support. It is only recently that scientists have unraveled the mechanisms of how noni does this. Cell studies show that the noni root was able to stop cell proliferation and induce apoptosis or cell death by changing the gene expression in breast cancer cells. The tropical fruit killed the breast cancer cells and favorably activated gene signals.

Leaky Gut Syndrome, Gluten Intolerance, and IBD

A unique study earlier this year combined noni with colostrum. The clinical results were nothing short of fantastic. The combination of the two compounds proved fundamental to repairing tissue damage in difficult to manage gastrointestinal disorders. The study concluded that noni combined with colostrum “could find clinical application in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders characterized by impairment of proper intestinal permeability, in inflammatory bowel disease, in dysenteric diseases, in gastritis and in forms of pathological alteration of the mucous layer as celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.” This offers powerful hope and solutions for those struggling with both minor and more serious digestive problems. Mother Nature wins again. No single drug can knock down inflammation, improve intestinal permeability, improve motility and affect dysentery in the gut. It would take multiple drugs and usually with counteractive side effects. 

Mental Health

Anxiety and poor stress tolerance are rampant in today’s hectic world. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds. A recent newsletter focused on the topic of GABA and managing brain stimulation. Brain stimulation occurs with everyday events and is influenced by high levels of stress, overwork, lack of sleep and many other events that deplete the brain of GABA. GABA depletion can cause the symptoms of anxiety. Exciting research shows that noni offers a safe, therapeutic alternative for anxiety support comparable to powerful anti-anxiety medications. Noni acts as a natural sedative and anti-anxiety super food that supports GABA production and activity in the brain.

In a recent animal study, researchers compared noni to diazepam. Diazepam (Valium) is a powerful benzodiazepine medication that is commonly used for significant anxiety related disorders, seizures, muscle relaxants and GABA enhancement. Noni was shown to be nearly as powerful in reducing anxiety as the diazepam treated animals. Noni supported the brain naturally allowing it to calm down, reduce anxiety, and improve relaxation of the nervous system by supporting GABA mechanisms in the nervous system. Another animal study demonstrated that noni had anti-psychotic like activity, i.e. the mice stopped their drug induced psychotic behavior. The study showed that noni improved dopamine levels in the brain, which stopped uncontrollable urges and behavior. Together, these studies show noni is supportive of GABA and dopamine activity in the brain.

Cognitive Health

Limited research is published on the effects of noni and memory. However, the studies done so far point toward noni being very helpful with supporting the memory neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, and improving blood flow to the brain. One animal study showed when animals were treated with the drug scopolamine, noni was as able to help reverse the changes from the scopolamine effects. Scopolamine acts against acetylcholine blocking it from working in the nervous system. Noni demonstrated benefits in memory restoration, increased blood flow to the brain and it helped reduce inflammatory, oxidative stress in the brain after the scopolamine treatment.

Another study showed that when noni was combined with lemon juice, the bioactive rich beverage provided anti-cholinergic benefits. It stopped the breakdown of acetylcholine, which is needed for preventing age related cognitive and physical disorders. Considering that there is limited success with medications for memory disorders and oxidative stress reduction, noni appears to have the upper hand in offering natural support for cognitive concerns and may be a wonderful dietary add-on.

Bone and Periodontal Disease

In yet another arena of health, noni was studied for its effect on bone health. Scientists studied female rats that had their ovaries removed, which induced postmenopausal osteoporosis. Scientists treated one group of the postmenopausal, osteoporotic rats with alendronate sodium (Fosamax) and one group with noni. The study was 12 weeks long. The noni treated group prevented the loss of bone mass, enhanced bone strength and prevented breakdown in the interior bone. The abstract failed to disclose the result of the Fosamax treated group, but as we know, Fosamax causes weak, abnormal bones that can fracture and lead to bone death.

In addition to supporting bone mass and strength, a recent study showed that noni strengthened the periodontal ligament in humans and actually regenerated the tissue. It improved periodontal disease, which is often triggered by abnormal amounts of bacteria and inflammation in the mouth and gums. Evidence clearly demonstrates superiority of noni in the health of bone and dental ligaments. Rather than using dangerous, pro-inflammatory bisphosphonate drugs that cause the jaw bone to deteriorate and die, consider using a natural tropical fruit to benefit bones and dental heath as nature intended.

Pain and UVA, UVB Protection

Finding safe, nontoxic pain relievers is a challenge. Research published just a few weeks ago showed noni had analgesic or pain relieving properties. Natives from the tropical island Mauritius were studied on the use of noni. Researchers found that it was a very common pain reliever used because of its effectiveness and versatility in pain relief.

Add protecting the skin from UVA-UVB radiation from sun exposure to the list of things that noni can do. Researchers found that use or application of noni to the skin seven days before and 20 hours after UV exposure was able to protect against UV induced skin damage.

There is no doubt that noni is a powerful super fruit. The antifungal, anti-allergy, autoimmune balancing properties are enough to marvel at. Just look at the supportive properties for digestive health, increased gut permeability, memory, cognition, mood support, bone and periodontal health, pain relief, and more. There are so many powerful super foods that we have available today. Noni is near the best of the best for its vast array of support. Wellness Resources offers a standardized, organic freeze-dried noni extract without the sugar that retains all of the natural nutrients found in the fruit. Consider adding this super fruit to your dietary regime today to optimize your body’s health.

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