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Acai Berry
(Açaí)


open quote logo quotation Acai is a berry fruit with potent antioxidant benefits. Many research studies have firmly established that taking berry fruits has a positive and profound impact on our health, performance, and disease prevention. close quote quotation logo



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Consider adding açaí berries to your regular dietary intake of pomegranate, blueberry and other berry fruits to maximize your long-term health and vitality.

You may want to try it to treat your arthritis problem but beware of scam and incredible inflated claims that it will cure it. It may work well for you. At least if it works a little, you might be able to lower your dose of your current anti-inflammatory medication. This would be great because anti-inflammatory drugs, with long-term use, have a nasty danger of hurting the stomach. Remember to discuss this with your doctor to let him or her know what you are planning to do.

Buy from online retailer or wholesaler that you trust so that you know exactly what you are getting. Where you get açaí is as important as which manufacturer made it.

Having said that, some websites are offering free trial bottles of açaí. Be aware of their policy so that you can avoid scams. We have heard of complaints of recurring credit card charges and non-responsive customer service department.

The two brands that have been used in research studies that are MonaVie Active and OptiAcai.

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Table of Contents



Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Antioxidant benefits / General health

In one clinical study, researchers showed that drinking açaí juice increases the antioxidant benefits in healthy adults. Antioxidants are proven to be beneficial to overall health.

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal High Cholesterol

A recently published well-designed clinical study lasting 12 weeks showed that berry-derived anthocyanin brings down the "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raises the "good" cholesterol (HDL) significantly.
 
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Leukemia

In laboratory settings at the University of Florida, this dietary supplement slows down the growth of leukemia cancer cells.

The researcher cautioned that although açaí berry fruits are a rich source of antioxidants, other berries such as grapes, guavas and mangoes also have been shown to kill cancer cells as well.

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Anti-inflammatory benefits
(Arthritis/Osteoarthritis/Rheumatoid arthritis)


In laboratory settings, açaí mildly inhibited the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes in the same way as Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Celebrex, Naprosyn and Aleve).

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Cancer cure or prevention / Other health conditions

There are no studies either in animal or human experiments. Lab test shows that this berry is able to stop the growth of cancerous leukemia cells.
 
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Weight loss / Obesity

There are no studies either in animal or human trials. Anecdotal reports suggest that taking this berry can lead to a significant weight loss.




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Facts about Acai


The health benefits made on the internet and television shows as to what acai berry plant and juice can cure far exceed any research studies we could find. 

However, we do know that eating berry fruits have a positive impact on overall health. (Don't you hate it when your mother was right in suggesting eating more fruits and vegetables?!)

Some consider açaí berry to be nature's most perfect food as it has one of the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) which neutralizes the dangerous free radicals that damages healthy cells. ORAC measures the power of the antioxidant capacities of various food products.

Experts believe that aging, atherosclerosis, heart disease plus many other ailments are the direct and indirect results of free radical damage to cells. It has been called "The Viagra of the Amazon."

How do you pronounce acai? 

AH-sigh-EE is the proper pronunciation for this berry.

What is are some other names?

It is also referred to as Amazonian palm, cabbage palm, palm heart

What is acai?

Acai is a palm tree that grows in Central and South America. The fruit produced by the açaí palm tree is a red-purple fruit about an inch in diameter.

The people of Amazon have been eating this traditional fruit or drinking the açaí juice extract as part of their diet for hundreds of years. The berries are a major part of their diet.

In addition to containing calcium, iron, phosphorus, thiamine and vitamin A, this fruit contains large amount of anthocyanins and flavonoids. Experts believe that the anthocyanins found in this fruit are what give it the extreme antioxidant power. The anthocyanins also give the fruit the purple colours.

What are the health benefits of acai berry juice?

Research studies show that this fruit has very potent antioxidant properties.

In one study, açaí pulp showed greater antioxidant power than cranberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry or blueberry. In another study, on average as a group, açaí juice antioxidant power is about the same as black cherry and cranberry juice. See table below for a quick summary. Pomegranate juice shows the highest antioxidant potency and apple juice, orange juice and iced tea shows the lowest of the group.

This points out that the way the berry is prepared may lead to different antioxidant potency. There are a lot of differences in açaí content between manufacturers so buy with caution. In the study below, the amount of açaí found in the studied juice was not determined.



Juice (Averaged of different brands)
Antioxidant Potency
pomegranate juice
Highest
red wine
concord grape juice
blueberry juice
acai juice/black cherry/cranberry juice
apple juice/orange juice/ice tea Lowest

Remember, this is an average. The juices used in this study did not specify exactly how much açaí was in them. Interpret the results with caution.

Does acai help with arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?

Açaí is shown to block the cyclooxygenase enzyme COX-1 and COX-2 in much the same ways as anti-inflammatory drugs do to help with arthritis pain. This results was from studies in test tubes only.

Does acai help with different types of cancer?

In laboratory research, acai was shown to slow down experimental leukemia cell's growth.

This claim cannot be supported at the moment. At the least, we need some studies in rats or other animals first. We don't even have that. We can say with confidence that fruits with powerful antioxidant effects can "contribute to the prevention of biological damages." (Spada, 2008)

Are there any studies done in animals or humans?

The answer is yes. Almost all studies were conducted in a lab and on tissues by scientist wearing white lab coats. One study done in healthy volunteers showed that drinking açaí juice resulted in an increase in blood antioxidant capacity by up to 3 times in less than 2 hours. This proves that we can absorb all the beneficial antioxidants found in the juice formulation.

The people of Amazon used it for hundreds of years. When did it become popular in North America?

Credits for the sudden increase in popularity of this fruit goes to Dr. Perricone who promoted it as one of the ten "Superfood" on the Oprah Winfrey television show. It is featured in other TV programs along with lots of testimonials from users of açaí claiming that it promotes weight loss and cancer killing ability.

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

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Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

No side effects expected - As this supplement is a berry fruit, side effects are not expected anymore than what would be expected from eating other fruits like strawberry, mango or grapes.

However, taking concentrated açaí berry in large quantities in a powder or a pill form may results in excessive amount possibly causing stomach aches and diarrhea.

Safety - It is believed to be safe when taken in quantities normally found in a typical Amazonian diet.

Pregnancy and Lactation - No information is available. Avoid using in quantities larger than what would be found in a typical diet containing  berry fruits.

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Common Drug & Health Condition Interactions

Anti-inflammatory Drugs - theoretical

Açaí is shown to block the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes similar to what Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs do. Combining açaí with these drugs may result in an increased effect and you may need to lower your dose of your prescription anti-inflammatory medication. Let your doctor know that you are taking açaí.
 
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Dosage & How to Take It

This dietary supplement comes in tablets, capsules, juice, smoothie, powder and whole fruit.

Suggested Doses and How to Use It

There is no typical dose. We suggest starting with açaí extract of 500 mg taken once to three times daily.


Related Topics

Antioxidant Facts - What are the benefits of antioxidants to our body?



Selected References for Acai
Updated: December 11, 2009

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