Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Acai Berry

I was interviewed for our local NBC news channel on the Acai Berry phenomenon. (Click here to see video). I had not realized that this was such as major story, but apparently there has been a lot on internet and the media. It is listed on Oprah's web site as a #1 super food. It has also been mentioned in the NY Times , ABC News and Wall Street Journal. It has been reported as a new anti-aging drink reportedly enjoyed by the rich and famous, from Jessica Simpson to Hillary Clinton.

The small grape like fruit (which is commonly pronounced a-sigh-ee) comes from a palm tree that grows in tropical Central and South America, such as the Amazon region of Brazil. This fruit has a large seed, with very little pulp. The juice and pulp from the berry is commonly used in juices and other beverages in these countries.

The potential health benefits from this berry (as well as other dark berries, like blueberries and raspberries) come from their pigment. Berry pigments contain Anthocyanin Antioxidants. A national symposium on the benefits of Anthocyanin Antioxidants held in 2005 presented data from laboratory studies showing potential benefit in:

  • reducing the blood from clotting (potential stroke and heart attack prevention)

  • increasing levels of “good” cholesterol, HDL

  • decreasing the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol, LDL

  • neutralizing oxygen radicals which can cause tissue damage (aging)

  • down-regulating enzymes leading to inflammation

There is some data that the acai berry (particularly when freeze dried) has higher level of anti-oxidants than other dark berries. Some reports state it has 10 to 30 times the antixoidant ability of red wines (which have been studied in humans and have shown a beneficial effect). Specific studies on the acai berry have shown it to have potential anti-inflammatory benefits and in one University of Florida study some anti-cancer effects, but these have been done only in test tubes. The benefits are not yet proven in humans.

Other benefits from the Acai berry come from its amino acids and essential fatty acids. The fatty acid content in açaí is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid which has potential cardiovascular benefits. Amino acids help build muscles.

Bottom Line: There are certainly benefits from eating berries, some of which come from their anthocyanin antioxidants, and the Acai berry seems to be full of them, as well as other good things. There have been no studies that I can find that show human benefit. Since the berry is natural, its extract may help you and likely will not be harmful.

A few caveats:

1. Make sure you are doing other beneficial things for health and aging, such as diet, exercise, sun protection, stopping smoking, and controlling chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

2. If you are going to use Acai berry as a supplement, make sure are already taking the supplements that are proven to have benefit, such as vitamin D and Calcium.

3. Acai berry appears to be sold comerically in juices. To make juices taste good and feel like they are working, sugar and caffeine are respectively added. Thus, the benefit of the acai berry may be outweighed by what you are getting with it, so be careful.


Anonymous said...

this juice is to expensive for average person as is the xango it would be nice if it was more affordable to try???? dr.mintz was wondering ig you could help me im now at 350 lbs from takin steriods for asthma for the last 25 years and can't seem to lose this weight dr keep sayin well you need to breath??? can you help??? please e me at gbionicele@aol.com with any suggestions Thank you marsh

Anonymous said...

There are some good acai products available but there are more inferior products than good ones. An excellent resource to find the most pure and most potent acai berry products is http://AcaiBerry-Products.com

The Stewart's said...

Mona Vie is a great acai juice that is $1.61 per serving a day. Mona Vie has a patent on the way the fruit is processed which gives it the highest amount of Antioxidants available in any fruit juice. If you would like more information go to www.get-monavie.com

Anonymous said...


I used two free trials of Acai Noni and Probiotic from http://oprahsacaiberrydiet.com and I saw a significant boost in energy and I feel great!