Acai Berry Information:
Research & Health Benefits Without Bulls*it
Tired of reading cyberspace articles filled with questionable acai berry information? We've examined the research, outlined the health benefits, & exposed the lies!
Acai Berry Information:
Acai berries (pronounced ah-sah-ee) are small, dark purple berries harvested from a palm tree (Euterpe oleraceae Martius) native to South America. The palm grows in the estuaries and flood planes of Brazil, Columbia, and Suriname. Most of the berries are harvested in Brazil where they've been used for centuries as a medicinal resource and a major food source .
Over the past decade, acai has received a lot of attention due to the potential health benefits associated with its high antioxidant content. But more recently, studies have credited the berry with neutralizing two lethal classes of oxidants, lowering cholesterol,
reducing the risk of heart disease, and destroying leukemia cells.
Acai Berry Research
Acai: The Biggest Lie & Scam
Acai: Unrivaled Antioxidant Capacity
Acai Berry Information
Acai Berry Research:
Numerous acai berry information sites credit this little berry with a broad spectrum of therapeutic and anti-carcinogenic properties. So -- you may be wondering -- which of these claims is actually supported by scientific research?
Here's what we found...
It's important to note that some of the claims associated with acai are not based on acai-focused studies; but they are scientifically substantiated.
Here's an example: The USDA, the World Health Organization, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute all state that eating more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat lowers cholesterol. This is a well-researched, well-documented fact .
In 2006, an acai-focused study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry documented acai's phytochemical and nutrient composition. The study placed acai's polyunsaturated fats at 11.1%, and its monounsaturated fats at 60.2 % of its total weight .
The claim: Acai lowers cholesterol
Based on the research and recommendations cited above, our team considers this claim to be substantiated. For a list of other claims -- substantiated and unsubstantiated -- read on. Or click on the claim to jump to a particular acai berry information section:
Antioxidant Focused Studies:
Acai: Reduces Weight Faster
It's all over the internet, acai helps you shed pounds 450% faster than diet and exercise alone. Follow this advice and the only thing you'll be losing a gazillion % faster is your hard earned money.
There are numerous acai berry information cites touting the berry as an extraordinary weight loss supplement. Their claims are supposedly backed by groundbreaking studies -- funny thing -- we searched the appropriate databases and couldn't find a single one. Hmmm.
What we did find was a warning issued by the Better Business Bureau (BBB): Stay clear of the 'free trial' deals and companies making erroneous claims backed by phantom studies. They're not reliable sources of acai berry information... and you're bound to get ripped off. Don't take our word for it, read the article yourself .
If you're interested in buying acai products -- but worried about the shysters -- check out each company's track record on the BBB's website . Don't just settle for the BBB's seal on the seller's site because some of those are as fraudulent as the sellers themselves. (Here's proof!) 
Our favorite acai supplier sells very high quality, freeze-dried acai products (organic & kosher)... and they have a high BBB rating. Their site also contains more acai berry information.
Acai: Highest Antioxidant Capacity
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concluded that freeze-dried acai has "the highest antioxidant capacity of any fruit or vegetable tested to date" (as per the Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity assay, ORACFL).
Acai also neutralizes 2 lethal classes of oxidants (peroxyl radicals, and superoxides) .
If you're keen on studies, this is the best one to read. It contains the most up to date acai berry information out there.
Acai: Boosts Immune Function
Polyphenols are powerful, plant-derived antioxidants that protect vital cellular components from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Research suggests that consuming a diet high in polyphenols delivers hefty health benefits, and reduces the risk of chronic and degenerative diseases .
Prevalent in acai, polyphenols are also noted for their anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-microbal, anti-clotting, and vasodilatory effects (relaxes the blood vessel walls) [7, 8, 9].
Polyphenols also protect and boost your immune function by neutralizing free radicals (the primary cause of immune dysfunction), and by protecting your lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are special cells (antibodies/ white blood cells) that fight infection by attacking bacteria, viruses and other substances that damage your body .
Acai: An Anti-Inflammatory
According to Schauss et al, freeze-dried acai is "a potent anti-inflammatory substance." Their study found that acai significantly inhibits LPS-induce nitric oxide (which is positively correlated with anti-inflammatory activities).
The researchers also suggest that acai may be used in the future for treating allergies and/or autoimmune disorders .
Acai: Destroys Leukemia & Colon Cancer Cells
This summary contains the most impressive acai berry information yet:
A study published in the 2006 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry identified acai as a "rich source of polyphenolics." Like antioxidants, polyphenols protect your cells from damage. Del Pozo-Insfran et al found that acai's polyphenolics triggered an 86% reduction in Leukemia cells via caspase-3 activation. Caspase-3 is the enzyme that triggers the cell's death .
A 2008 acai study published in the same journal observed similar results when HT-29 colon carcinoma cells were exposed to acai pulp and oil. According to the researchers, the polyphenolic components in acai berries decreased the number of cancer cells and inhibited cancer cell growth significantly .
Antioxidants: Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Since the 1970's, scientists have noted the high, positive correlation between oxidation and coronary heart disease (atherosclerosis) .
According to The Stroke Center (an educational information cite maintained by Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis) the presence of oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol) in the blood stream predicts heart attacks .
Oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood stream injures the innermost layer of lining in your arteries (aka the endothelium), and also increases the accumulation of plaques on the artery walls.
It's common knowledge in the scientific community that phenols (like those found in acai and red wine) decrease oxidized LDL in circulation . Consuming a diet high in antioxidants (particularly phenols) will decrease your risk of heart disease [7, 14].
Antioxidants: Reduce Age-Related Degenerative Diseases
Oxidative stress has been linked with numerous chronic diseases and degenerativeprocesses: such as, heart disease, age-related macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, aging, and cancer [6, 10].
According to a 2008 article published in NeuroMolecular Medicine, oxidative stress is also a common element in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases; like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and stroke .
This article strongly encourages dietary supplement of polyphenols (compounds present in acai that "exhibit potent antioxidative properties"). Minimizing oxidative damage to the brain inhibits neurodegenerative diseases , and minimizing oxidative damage overall inhibits age-related diseases .
Antioxidants: Improve Vision
According to an article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, and sponsored by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging there's a high, positive correlation between age-related cataracts, nutrition, and oxidative stress .
A parallel study spearheaded by the Australian Cataract Research Foundation in 2005 also cites oxidation as the key to age-related cataracts .
Scientists emphatically state, "optimizing nutrition by eating a diet rich in antioxidants can extend lens function" . Did you get that? Eating fruits and veggies that contain antioxidants delays the onset of age-related cataracts.
Antioxidants: Improve Circulation
Acai contains high-powered polyphenols. They protect vital cellular components from the damaging effects of oxidative stress, and are noted for their anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-microbal properties .
Often called heart-healthy antioxidants, polyphenols also facilitate "vaso-relaxation" (relaxing of the blood vessel walls) and have "anti-clotting" effects [7, 9, 14].
Simply put: Blood flow through a relaxed vessel improves circulation, and blood flow through a tense vessel constricts it (aka "hypertension").
Acai's Unrivaled Antioxidant Capacity:
Ten years ago -- when studies were limited & acai berry information was scarce – talk centered around acai's high antioxidant capacity. Recently, scientists have been trying to figure out exactly 'how high.' The answer – as it turns out - is phenomenally high!
Initial scientific studies placed acai's antioxidant capacity somewhere between blueberries and strawberries (with blueberries mid-level and strawberries at the high end). In 2006, a team of 10 scientists pegged acai's antioxidant capacity significantly higher than previous investigations.
Why the discrepancy in data? According to Schauss et al, prior studies used a limited number of assays (scientific tests used to identify the presence, the amount, and the potency of a substance) and may have inappropriately converted fresh weight to dry weight .
To rectify these errors, Schauss and his scientific cohort carefully calculated the conversions, and then subjected the freeze-dried samples to 11 separate tests... and yielded more accurate acai berry information.
Acai berries have the highest antioxidant capacity
of any fruit or vegetable tested to date and...
Acai neutralizes 2 of the most lethal classes of oxidants
- peroxyl radicals, and superoxides .
Quality Acai Supplements
Acai Berry Research
Acai: The Biggest Lie & Scam
How to Avoid Acai Scams
Acai: Unrivaled Antioxidant Capacity
Acai Berry Information
Looking for reputable acai dealers with high quality products? Look no further. Our favorite acai supplier fits the bill... and they have a high rating from the Better Business Bureau!
Their website also contains even more acai berry information.
REFERENCES (ACAI BERRY INFORMATION):
- Schauss A, Xianli W, Prior R, et al. Phytochemical and Nutrient Composition of the Freeze-Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (Acai) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2006;54:8598-8603. Second best acai berry information article.
- Third Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (PDF). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Website. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/. September 2002.
- Weight-loss Berry Claiming Oprah Endorsement Makes Wallets Slim and Consumers Angry Warns BBB. Better Business Bureau Website. http://www.bbb.org/us/article/8493. January 5, 2009. Accessed October 22, 2009.
- Check Out a Business or Charity. Better Business Bureau Website. http://www.bbb.org/us/Business-Search/. Accessed October 22, 2009.
- Tips to Avoid Online Escrow Fraud. Better Business Bureau Website. http://www.bbb.org/us/article/tips-to-avoid-online-escrow-fraud-553. August 2, 2005. Accessed October 22, 2009.
This article is about escrow fraud but it calls attention to sites that display fraudulent BBB seals.
- Schauss A, Xianli W, Prior R, et al. Antioxidant Capacity and Other Bioactivities of the Freeze-Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (Acai) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2006;54:8604-8610. If you only read one article, this one contains the best acai berry information.
- Sun A, Wang Q, Simonyi A, et al. Botanical Phenolics and Brain Health. NeuroMolecular Medicine. 2008;10(4):259-274.
- Del Pozo-Insfran D, Percival S, Talcott S. Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart) Polyphenolics in Their Glycoside and Aglycone Forms Induce Apoptosis of HL-60 Leukemia Cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2006;54:1222-1229. This study contains the best acai berry information related to cancer.
- Chin Y, Chai H, Keller W. Lignans and Other Constituents of the Fruits of (Euterpe oleracea Mart) with Antioxidant and Cytoprotective Activities. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2008;56:7759-7764.
- Pacheco-Palencia L, Talcott S, Safe S, et al. Absorption and Biological Activity of Phytochemical-Rich Extracts from Acai (Euterpe oleraceae Mart.) Pulp and Oil in Vitro. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2008;56:3593-3600.
- Staprans I, Pan XM, Rapp JH, et al. The Role of Dietary Oxidized Cholesterol and Oxidized Fatty Acids in the Development of Atherosclerosis. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 2005;49(11):1075-1082.
- Washington University in Saint Louis School of Medicine. Atherosclerosis and Thrombus Formation: Oxidation of LDL-Cholesterol. The Internet Stroke Center Website. http://www.strokecenter.org/education/
ais_pathogenesis/04_oxid_LDL_cholesterol.htm. Accessed October 19, 2009.
- Mecallef M, Lexis L, Lewandowski P. Red Wine Consumption Increases Antioxidant Status and Decreases Oxidative Stress in the Circultion of Both Young and Old Humans. Nutrition Journal Website. http://www.nutritionj.com/content/6/1/27. September 24, 2007. Accessed October 19, 2009.
- Garewal HS, ed in chief. Antioxidants and Disease Prevention. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC; 1997: 20-21.
- Taylor A. Cataract: relationship between nutrition and oxidation Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1993;12(2):138-146.
- Truscott RJ. Age-Related Nuclear Cataract-Oxidation is the Key. Experimental Eye Research Journal. 2005;80(5):709-725.