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What Is Noni Juice? Everything You Need to Know
By Maria Zamarripa
Noni juice is a tropical drink derived from the fruit of the Morinda citrifolia tree.
This tree and its fruit grow among lava flows in Southeast Asia, especially in Polynesia.
Noni (pronounced NO-nee) is a lumpy, mango-sized fruit that is yellow in color. It's very bitter and has a distinct odor that is sometimes compared to stinky cheese.
Polynesian peoples have used noni in traditional folk medicine for more than 2,000 years. It's commonly used to treat health issues like constipation, infections, pain and arthritis (1).
Today, noni is mostly consumed as a juice blend. The juice is packed with potent antioxidants and may provide several health benefits.
This article provides everything you need to know about noni juice, including its nutrients, potential health benefits and safety.
The nutritional content of noni juice varies widely.
One study analyzed 177 different brands of noni juice and found significant nutritional variability among them (2).
This is because noni juice is often mixed with other fruit juices or added sweeteners to mask its bitter taste and foul odor.
That said, Tahitian Noni Juice — produced by Morinda, Inc. — is the most popular brand on the market and widely used in studies. It's comprised of 89% noni fruit and 11% grape and blueberry juice concentrates (3).
The nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 ml) of Tahitian Noni Juice are (3):
- Calories: 47 calories
- Carbs: 11 grams
- Protein: less than 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Sugar: 8 grams
- Vitamin C: 33% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Biotin: 17% of the RDI
- Folate: 6% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
- Potassium: 3% of the RDI
- Calcium: 3% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI
The nutritional profile of noni juice varies by brand. In general, noni juice provides a great source of vitamin C, biotin, and folate.
Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Noni juice is known for its high levels of antioxidants.
Antioxidants prevent cellular damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Your body requires a healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals to maintain optimal health (6).
In particular, Iridoids demonstrate strong antioxidant activity in test-tube studies — although more research is needed to confirm their effects in humans (11).
Noni juice is packed with antioxidants, including iridoids, that may provide numerous health benefits.
Potential Benefits of Noni Juice
Noni juice has a number of potential benefits. Still, it's important to keep in mind that research into this fruit is relatively recent — and more studies are needed on many of these health effects.
May Reduce Cellular Damage From Tobacco Smoke
Noni juice may reduce cellular damage — particularly from tobacco smoke.
Exposure to tobacco smoke generates dangerous amounts of free radicals. Excessive amounts can cause cellular damage and lead to oxidative stress (14).
In one study, heavy tobacco smokers were given 4 ounces (118 ml) of noni juice per day. After 1 month, they experienced a 30% reduction of two common free radicals compared to their baseline levels (19).
Noni juice may reduce levels of these cancer-causing chemicals. Two clinical trials found that drinking 4 ounces (118 ml) of noni juice daily for 1 month reduced the levels of cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smokers by about 45% (13, 20).
Yet, noni juice does not negate all of smoking's negative health effects — and should not be considered a replacement for quitting.
May Support Heart Health in Smokers
Noni juice may support heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation.
One study found that drinking up to 6.4 ounces (188 ml) of noni juice per day for 1 month significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and the inflammatory blood marker C-reactive protein (24).
However, the subjects of the study were heavy cigarette smokers, so the results cannot be generalized to all people. Researchers suspect that noni juice's antioxidants may reduce the high cholesterol levels caused by smoking tobacco (24).
A separate, 30-day study gave non-smokers 2 ounces (59 ml) of noni juice twice daily. Participants did not experience significant changes in cholesterol levels (25).
These results suggest that the cholesterol-lowering effect of noni juice may only apply to heavy cigarette smokers.
That said, more research on noni juice and cholesterol is needed.
May Improve Endurance During Exercise
Noni juice may improve physical endurance. In fact, Pacific Islanders believed that eating noni fruit strengthened the body during long fishing trips and voyages (9).
A few studies show positive effects of drinking noni juice during exercise.
For example, one 3-week study gave long-distance runners 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of noni juice or a placebo twice daily. The group that drank noni juice experienced a 21% increase in average time to fatigue, which suggests improved endurance (26).
The increase in physical endurance associated with noni juice is likely related to its antioxidants — which may reduce the damage to muscle tissue that normally occurs during exercise (9).
May Relieve Pain in People With Arthritis
For over 2,000 years, noni fruit has been used in traditional folk medicine for its pain-relieving effects. Some research now supports this benefit.
For instance, in a 1-month study, people with degenerative arthritis of the spine took 0.5 ounces (15 ml) of noni juice twice daily. The noni juice group reported a significantly lower pain score — with complete relief of neck pain in 60% of participants (28).
In a similar study, people with osteoarthritis took 3 ounces (89 ml) of noni juice daily. After 90 days, they experienced a significant decrease in the frequency and severity of arthritis pain, as well as an improved quality of life (29).
Arthritis pain is often associated with increased inflammation and oxidative stress. Therefore, noni juice may provide natural pain relief by reducing inflammation and combatting free radicals (30, 31).
May Improve Immune Health
Noni juice may support immune health.
Like some other fruit juices, it's is rich in vitamin C. For example, 3.5 ounces (100 ml) of Tahitian Noni Juice packs about 33% of the RDI for this vitamin.
Many other antioxidants present in noni juice — such as beta carotene — may improve immune health as well.
Noni juice has numerous potential benefits, including boosting endurance, relieving pain, supporting your immune system, reducing cellular damage caused by tobacco smoke, and aiding heart health in smokers.
Dosage, Safety and Side Effects
There is conflicting information regarding the safety of noni juice, as only a few human studies have evaluated its dosage and side effects.
For example, one small study in healthy adults indicated that drinking up to 25 ounces (750 ml) of noni juice per day is safe (33).
However, in 2005, a few cases of liver toxicity were reported in people consuming noni juice. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) then re-evaluated the fruit, concluding that noni juice alone did not cause these effects (34, 35, 36).
In 2009, EFSA issued another statement confirming the safety of noni juice for the general population. However, EFSA experts did report that some individuals may have a particular sensitivity for liver toxicity effects (37).
Additionally, noni juice may interact with certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure or those used to slow blood clotting. For this reason, it is important to consult with your medical provider before drinking noni juice.
High in Sugar
Noni juice may contain high amounts of sugar due to the variability between brands. What's more, it's mixed with other fruit juices that are often very sweet.
In fact, 3.5 ounces (100 ml) of noni juice contains roughly 8 grams of sugar. Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages like noni juice may increase your risk of metabolic diseases, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes (39, 40, 41).
Thus, it may be best to drink noni juice in moderation — or avoid it if you limit your sugar intake.
Noni juice is likely safe to drink for the general population. However, people with kidney problems and who take certain medications may wish to avoid noni juice. It can also be high in sugar.
The Bottom Line
Noni juice is derived from a Southeast Asian fruit.
It's particularly rich in vitamin C and may offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits — such as pain relief and improved immune health and exercise endurance. However, more research is needed.
Keep in mind that commercial varieties are often mixed with other juices and may be packed with sugar.
It's also important to remember that — despite exhibiting some benefits for smokers — noni juice should not be considered a preventative measure for tobacco-related illnesses or a replacement for quitting.
Overall, noni juice is likely safe. However, you may want to check with your medical provider if you're taking certain medications or have kidney problems.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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