Effects of Lycium barbarum in adolescents suffering from subtreshold depression

Subthreshold depression is highly prevalent in adolescents. Lycium barbarum polysaccharide had anti-depressant effects on preclinical models of neurological and psychiatric diseases but the mechanisms are unclear.

This randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study assessed the effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide extracted from Goji berries on subthreshold depression in 29 adolescents. The patients received daily 300 mg of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide or a placebo during 6 consecutive weeks. The results showed that the supplemented group had a greater change in Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD24) score relative to the baseline and a higher remission rate (HAMD-24 total score ≤ 7) at the end of the intervention compared with the placebo group (p = 0,014). Other score on anxiety, sleep quality, psychological distress and depression were similar between the two groups.

This study suggests that Lycium barbarum polysaccharide could reduce depressive symptoms in adolescent with subthreshold depression but clinical trials with larger sample size are needed to confirm these results.

Xiaoyue Li, Xuan Mo, Tao Liu, Robin Shao, Kayla Teopiz, Roger S McIntyre, Kwok-Fai So, Kangguang Lin. Efficacy of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide on adolescents with subthreshold depression: interim analysis of a randomized controlled study. Neural regeneration research, 2022 Jul;17(7):1582-1587