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Noni Juice: Anti Aging Miracle or Scam?

Is Noni Juice Too Good to Be True?

By

Updated May 06, 2014

Noni Fruit

Noni Fruit

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Could Noni juice be an anti aging miracle food or is it just another scam to get your money? I would be the first to be thrilled if a naturally occurring fruit had anti aging properties and could increase everyone’s longevity. Of course, the marketing hype always exaggerates the truth, but how much?

What is a Noni Anyway?

Noni is one of many names for a fruit that grows on small trees in the Pacific Islands. The scientific name for it is Morinda citrifolia. It is also called "Indian mulberry," "Tahitian Noni" and "cheese fruit." The Noni tree is fairly hardy and yields a good amount of fruit less than two years from planting, making it decent for commercial purposes.

Health Claims of Noni Juice

Almost any health food store (and some grocery stores) will have Noni juice on its shelves. The health claims of Noni juice could fill pages. Here are some highlights:

What’s in Noni Juice? The Nutritional Components of Noni Juice

That turns out to be a bit of a complicated question and where the scam factor begins to step in. See, the Noni fruit (before being turned into juice) has a pretty impressive nutritional profile: healthy carbohydrates, lean protein, low fat, tons of vitamin C, niacin and other vitamins and minerals. This would all be great if you ate the fruit, but it turns out that the fruit is, well, pretty gross. So we end up with Noni juice.

When Noni fruit is made into Noni juice, it loses (as with many foods) much of its nutritional value in processing. Noni juice has a long way to travel, and it may sit in a truck/boat/container for a while before reaching your local health foods store. This means that Noni juice must be pasteurized. Between the pasteurization process and filtering out the Noni juice pulp, you are left with only a shadow of the former nutritional profile of the Noni fruit. Basically, there is still a lot of vitamin C in there and lots of other chemicals that have unknown antioxidant principles.

Noni Juice – Miracle or Scam?

So, bottom line, Noni juice doesn’t live up to its hype (or expense) in my opinion. It is not a harmful drink, but it is not much better than your ordinary orange juice. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even sent warning letters to Noni juice marketers about making unjustified claims. It makes me wonder what kind of claims marketers would put on orange juice if it were a recent discovery instead of a longstanding member of the “healthful foods” club.

Back to Strange Foods for Longevity

Sources:

Nutrient composition of TAHITIAN NONI Juice, as published by the European Commission document, Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Tahitian Noni Juice

FDA Warning Letter to Noni Juice Advertiser, May 6, 2002.

Goldstein, D. Noni Juice: Miracle of False Hope In A Bottle? CBS News. Feb 17, 2007.

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