acai benefits review, acai berry juice benefit and side effects
- July 2013
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RESEARCH EVIDENCE

ACAI BENEFITS

Because of its high content of antioxidants, Acai berry, juice, or other Acai berry may carry various health benefits. In
the following sections, we are going to review what scientific evidence found to support Acai berry, juice or
supplement health benefit claims.

Antioxidants
Acai berry juice and extract supplements were found to have anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities.

MonaVie Active, a juice blend of fruits and berries; acai is the major ingredient The major antioxidants showed
antioxidant protection of erythrocytes. In a clinical study, intake of acai pulp and applesauce was found to increase
plasma antioxidant capacity (of anthocyanins) up to 2.3-3 folds. [6]

Consumption of an acai juice showed an increase in serum antioxidant, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation. [4] In a
different study, acai showed a strong inhibition of the reactive oxygen species formation in polymorphonuclear cells,
indicating the anti-inflammatory properties of Acai. [5] However, the antioxidant capacities of different Açaí samples
were found to be excellent against peroxyl radicals, good against peroxynitrite and poor against hydroxyl radicals
compared with common European fruit and vegetable juices. [14] However, pomegranate juice, red wine, Concord
grape juice, blueberry juice, black cherry juice are also good sources of antioxidants. [15] Further, the manufacturing
process for supplements may concentrate or degrade the antioxidants, thus, the beneficial effects of supplements
and juice are not the same.

Cancers
Acai supplements or juice may offer benefits to people at risk of certain cancers, but the supports are based only on
in vitro studies. The cell lines studied include HL-60 human leukemia cells, human colon adenocarcinoma cells. [9, 12]
While, in a study of male Wistar rats, a diet containing 5.0% spray-dried açaí powder showed a reduction in the
number of invasive colon tumors and tumor multiplicity. [18] In another study, a standard diet containing spray-dried
açai pulp also reduced mouse urinary bladder carcinogenesis. [19]

Hypertension (Blood Pressure)
It was also found that Acai stone extract had vasodilator activities, which the release of endothelium-derived
hyperpolarizing factor might be involved.[8]

Overweight
An advertisement in a magazine quoted celebrities were using it to help with weight loss. In an uncontrolled pilot
study, consumption of açai fruit pulp reduced levels of selected markers of metabolic disease risk in overweight
adults. The study was an open label pilot study conducted with 10 overweight adults (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m² and ≤ 30 kg/m²)
who took 100 g açai pulp twice daily for 1 month.[17] Acai juice or supplements may have benefits on subjects, but it
is not sure how it helps weight loss.

Diabetes and Hight Cholesterol
The markers in the study mentioned in the section of overweight [17] include levels of fasting plasma glucose, insulin,
cholesterol, triglycerides. At the end of the study, there were reductions in fasting glucose and insulin levels, a
reduction in total cholesterol as well as reductions in LDL-cholesterol and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-
cholesterol. Thus, intake of acai fruit pulp may benefit people at risk of high cholesterol and diabetes, but more
studies are needed to confirm the results.

Acai berry cleanse, Acai detox?
There are many herbal products on the market that claim to have "colon cleanse" properties. There is NO report to
suggest acai extract supplement has this property.
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ACAI BERRY SIDE EFFECTS

Acai berry side effects
Though small websites claim there are no major acai berry side effects reported in the medical literature. Acai
(Euterpe oleracea Mart.) juice has actually been reported to be a transmission route for Chagas' disease many years
ago. [1] Just in 2006, 178 cases of acute Chagas disease were reported in Brazil; 11 cases occurred in Barcarena
and were confirmed by visualization of parasites on blood smears. [2]

Is it safe for people with high blood pressure or kidney disease to take acai berry supplement product?
There are no scientific study related to this issue. Some websites suggest that there are no problems associated with
them, but it is known that acai berry has blood-pressure modulating activities.
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Acai supplements - acai juice - acai capsules
Acai is sold as capsules, juice, pulp and puree. Acai berry extract supplements have been promoted for those who
do not wish to consume the extra calories from the juice or drink.
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Reference:
[1] Pereira KS, Schmidt FL, Guaraldo AM, Franco RM, Dias VL, Passos LA. Chagas' disease as a foodborne illness. J Food Prot. 2009
Feb;72(2):441-6. [2] Nóbrega AA, Garcia MH, Tatto E, Obara MT, Costa E, Sobel J, Araujo WN. Oral transmission of Chagas disease by
consumption of açaí palm fruit, Brazil. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Apr;15(4):653-5. [3] Santos GM, Maia GA, Sousa PH, Costa JM, Figueiredo
RW, Prado GM. Correlation between antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds of açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart) comercial pulps Arch
Latinoam Nutr. 2008 Jun;58(2):187-92. [4] Jensen GS, Wu X, Patterson KM, Barnes J, Carter SG, Scherwitz L, Beaman R, Endres JR,
Schauss AG. In vitro and in vivo antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities of an antioxidant-rich fruit and berry juice blend. Results of
a pilot and randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8326-33. Epub
2008 Aug 22. [5] Honzel D, Carter SG, Redman KA, Schauss AG, Endres JR, Jensen GS. Comparison of chemical and cell-based
antioxidant methods for evaluation of foods and natural products: generating multifaceted data by parallel testing using erythrocytes and
polymorphonuclear cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8319-25. Epub 2008 Aug 22. [6] Mertens-Talcott SU, Rios J, Jilma-
Stohlawetz P, Pacheco-Palencia LA, Meibohm B, Talcott ST, Derendorf H. Pharmacokinetics of anthocyanins and antioxidant effects
after the consumption of anthocyanin-rich acai juice and pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) in human healthy volunteers. J Agric Food Chem.
2008 Sep 10;56(17):7796-802. Epub 2008 Aug 12. [7] Hassimotto NM, Genovese MI, Lajolo FM. Antioxidant activity of dietary fruits,
vegetables, and commercial frozen fruit pulps. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 20;53(8):2928-35. [8] Rocha AP, Carvalho LC, Sousa MA,
Madeira SV, Sousa PJ, Tano T, Schini-Kerth VB, Resende AC, Soares de Moura R. Endothelium-dependent vasodilator effect of Euterpe
oleracea Mart. (Açaí) extracts in mesenteric vascular bed of the rat. Vascul Pharmacol. 2007 Feb;46(2):97-104. Epub 2006 Sep 1. [9] Del
Pozo-Insfran D, Percival SS, Talcott ST. Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) polyphenolics in their glycoside and aglycone forms induce
apoptosis of HL-60 leukemia cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 22;54(4):1222-9. [10] Neida S, Elba S. Characterization of the acai or
manaca (Euterpe oleracea Mart.): a fruit of the Amazon Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2007 Mar;57(1):94-8. [11] Schauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, Ou
B, Patel D, Huang D, Kababick JP. Phytochemical and nutrient composition of the freeze-dried amazonian palm berry, Euterpe
oleraceae mart. (acai). J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 1;54(22):8598-603. [12] Pacheco-Palencia LA, Talcott ST, Safe S, Mertens-Talcott
S. Absorption and biological activity of phytochemical-rich extracts from açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp and oil in vitro. J Agric Food
Chem. 2008 May 28;56(10):3593-600. Epub 2008 Apr 29. [13] Pacheco-Palencia LA, Mertens-Talcott S, Talcott ST. Chemical
composition, antioxidant properties, and thermal stability of a phytochemical enriched oil from Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.). J Agric
Food Chem. 2008 Jun 25;56(12):4631-6. Epub 2008 Jun 4. [14] Lichtenthäler R, Rodrigues RB, Maia JG, Papagiannopoulos M,
Fabricius H, Marx F. Total oxidant scavenging capacities of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (Açaí) fruits. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2005 Feb;56(1):53-
64. [15] Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, Henning SM, Feng L, Dreher M, Heber D. Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly
consumed polyphenol-rich beverages in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 27;56(4):1415-22. Epub 2008 Jan 26. [16]
Chin YW, Chai HB, Keller WJ, Kinghorn AD. Lignans and other constituents of the fruits of Euterpe oleracea (Acai) with antioxidant and
cytoprotective activities. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 10;56(17):7759-64. Epub 2008 Jul 26. [17] Udani JK, et al, Nutr J. 2011 May 12;10:
45. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-45. [18] Fragoso MF et al, Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Aug;58:68-76 [19] Fragoso MF et al, Plant Foods
Hum Nutr. 2012 Sep;67(3):235-41.
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Crude oil extracts of Acai fruit (Euterpe oleracea) contains various phenolic compounds such as vanillic acid, syringic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid,
protocatechuic acid, and ferulic acid (+)-catechin and numerous procyanidin oligomers [13]
INTRODUCTION

The acai berry is the fruit of the acai palm and is traditionally consumed in Brazil. It has gained popularity abroad as
a food and functional ingredient. It is promoted as a bomb of powerful antioxidants. The berry is purple in color.
Generally, The neutral and acidic flavonoids of red cabbage, red lettuce, acai frozen pulps, and other pulps or
frozen pulps showed high antioxidant activities. [7]

Nutrient Composition, nutritional value

Açaí fruit is a good source of vitamin C and good source of natural antioxidants - anthocyanins and carotenoids. [3]

Acai fruit also have a high nutritional value:
Item(s)
Description
Lipids
33-49%, 71% of the Acai fat is oleic acid [10]

Total polyunsaturated fatty acid, total monounsaturated fatty acid, and
total saturated fatty acids contributed to 11.1%, 60.2%, and 28.7% of
total fatty acid.  Oleic acid (53.9%) and palmitic acid (26.7%) were the
two dominant fatty acids.[11]
Protein
9-13% [10]
Ash
2-5% [10]
Dietary fiber
18-27% [10]
Iron
0.015-0.023 mg/100 g [10]
Polyphenols
2-5 g/100 g [10]
Tannins
0.7-1.37 g/100 g [10]
Proanthocyanidins
mainly polymer; 12.9 mg/g dry weight; and other flavonoids (such as
homoorientin, orientin, isovitexin, scoparin, and taxifolin deoxyhexose).
[11]
Amino acids
7.59%; 19 amino acids found [11]
Anthocyanins
0.73-1.6 g/100 g; mainly cyandin 3-glucoside and cyaniding
3-rutinoside; 3.19 mg/g dry weight [11]
Sterols
0.048% by weight of powder, B-sitosterol, campesterol, and sigmasterol
[11]
Others
Dihydroconiferyl alcohol, (+)-lariciresinol, (+)-pinoresinol,
(+)-syringaresinol, and protocatechuic acid methyl ester,
aryltetrahydronaphthalene, dihydrobenzofuran, furofuran,
8-O-4'-neolignan, and tetrahydrofuran structural types
Antioxidant Capacity
87-88% [10]