Supplement Ingredient Guide: Acai Berry
What is it?
Acai berry is a small dark purple fruit which is native to South America. It rose to prominence as a health supplement due to its high antioxidant effects.
It has a wide array of health benefits which include neuroprotection, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol regulation and atheroma plaque stabilisation. Despite popular marketing of acai berry as a weight loss supplement, evidence does not backup such indication.
How much should I take?
If you decide to use acai berry as a supplement, then we advise to follow the recommended instructions of use provided by the manufacturer. There is currently a shortage of evidence on the ideal dose of acai consumption within humans. Several papers have mentioned using 100g twice a day.
Research has shown that acai berry is a potent antioxidant in humans; the highest recorded antioxidant capacity in any fruit or vegetable. Due to its antioxidant effect, it is capable of protecting against free radicals.
With regards to health benefits, there is a lot of evidence which confirms that acai berry has a neuroprotective role, suggesting it might hinder age-related neurodegeneration. It has also been shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory leading to a reduction in pain and improvement in movement disorders. It also plays a protective role against artherosclerosis. Finally, it has been shown within laboratory experiments that it can attenuate the proliferation of some cancer cells.
With regards to supplementing acai berry as a weight loss supplement then you’ll be surprised to hear that there is no credible evidence-based data to suggest it would work as a weight loss supplement. Despite being able to reduce the mean fasting glucose levels, mean plasma insulin levels, and lower total cholesterol levels it doesn’t have an impact on weight.
In a recent 2010 study it was deemed to be a sae and well tolerated supplement with no reported side-effects. However, more research is still needed to confirm this.
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Jensen, G. S., Ager, D. M., Redman, K. A., Mitzner, M. A., Benson, K. F., and Schauss, A. G. (2011).Pain Reduction and Improvement in Range of Motion After Daily Consumption of an Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) Pulp–Fortified Polyphenolic-Rich Fruit and Berry Juice Blend. J Med Food. July; 14(7-8): 702–711.
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Noratto GD, Angel-Morales G, Talcott ST, Mertens-Talcott SU. (2011) Polyphenolics from açaí ( Euterpe oleracea Mart.) and red muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia ) protect human umbilical vascular Endothelial cells (HUVEC) from glucose- and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation and target microRNA-126. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7999-8012. Epub 2011 Jun 30.
Del Pozo-Insfran D, Percival SS, Talcott ST. (2006). Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) polyphenolics in their glycoside and aglycone forms induce apoptosis of HL-60 leukemia cells. J Agric Food Chem.54:1222–9.
Poulose SM, Fisher DR, Larson J, Bielinski DF, Rimando AM, Carey AN, Schauss AG, Shukitt-Hale B. (2012) Anthocyanin-rich açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) fruit pulp fractions attenuate inflammatory stress signaling in mouse brain BV-2 microglial cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Feb 1;60(4):1084-93. Epub 2012 Jan 20.
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Udani, J. K, Singh, B. B., Singh, V. J. and Barrett, M. L. (2011). Effects of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study. Nutr J. 2011; 10: 45.
Xie C, Kang J, Burris R, Ferguson ME, Schauss AG, Nagarajan S, Wu X. (2011) Açaí juice attenuates atherosclerosis in ApoE deficient mice through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Atherosclerosis. 2011 Jun;216(2):327-33. Epub 2011 Feb 24.