Acai berry: a superfruit and antioxidant powerhouse...

What is it?
Acai (pronounced "AH-sigh-EE") is a species of palm tree in Central and South America whose fruit has become renowned for its nutritive and medicinal properties. After an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show by Dr. Nicholas Perricone touting acai as a "Superfood for Age-Defying Beauty", and acai weight loss pills being promoted by Rachel Ray on her show, acai was rocketed into the spotlight in North America

How is it used?
In South America, acai is used as a dessert ingredient and as juice and liqueur flavouring. In the general consumer market, acai is sold as frozen pulp, juice, and in various products from beverages and foods, to cosmetics and supplements. Although initially touted as a weight loss aid, recent research has debunked that myth. Now it is generally toted as a superfruit because of its extremely rich antioxidant content and high levels of omega fats.

Antioxidant Ability
Antioxidants have the ability to neutralize free radicals in the body. Free radicals are reactive substances that damage nutrients and body tissues. We are exposed to free radicals in air pollution, UV rays, cigarette smoke, and even as byproducts of our own metabolism. Free radical damage results in cancer, cardiovascular disease, and the visible signs of aging. Due to its recent fame, the antioxidant ability of acai was thoroughly tested and found to be extremely high. This is the reason it has been touted to have anti-aging effects. Also, the antioxidants found in acai have been shown to be easily absorbed by our bodies, such that even low doses can have beneficial effects. Some studies show that acai fruit pulp has a very high antioxidant capacity with even more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Studies are ongoing though, and the jury is still out.

acai Weightloss Hype
Although acai has had celebrity endorsement and a lot of media hype, and despite a relatively large number of scientific studies, there is no scientific evidence that acai consumption affects body weight, or promotes weight loss. The only benefits that can be attributed to acai in this context is the high nutrient and antioxidant content which can help enrich a calorie restricted diet.

Why are acai berries used in beauty products?
Some cosmetics and beauty products contain acai oil in the ingredient list. That's because acai oil is a powerhouse of antioxidants that can help reduce free radical skin damage. Studies show that acai oil may be a safe alternative to other tropical oils used in beauty products such as facial and body creams, anti-aging skin therapies, shampoos and conditioners. It may also have a longer shelf life, because even when acai oil is processed and stored long-term, the antioxidant levels remain high.

How do I take it?
acai berries can be found as frozen pulp or juice in various commercial beverages. In supplements, acai can be found in powder or capsules as well as in many antioxidant and weight loss formulas. The juice itself is very high in antioxidants, and can be safely consumed in quantities of up to 2 cups a day. With powdered acai, although processing results in the loss of some antioxidants, it allows for further concentration of the acai, resulting in an overall more concentrated antioxidant. Recent research has shown that not all acai supplements are created equal. Those that are freeze dried prior to processing maintain significantly higher antioxidant levels than those simply frozen or air-dried ("spray dried") before use. Dosage recommendations depend on the product, but are generally 1,000-2,000mg of dried acai extract or 1-2 Tablespoons of liquid extract per day.



· Berries


· Cancer, antioxidant, cardiovascular disease, aging.


  •  1,000-2,000mg of dried extract or 1-2 Tablespoons of liquid extract per day. Suggested dose of juice is up to 2 cups per day (Clinical doses may be higher as recommended by your practitioner).


· Other antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and other antioxidant rich fruits


  •  There are no known side-effects to supplementation with acai, although its safety has not been sufficiently tested in pregnancy and lactation.
For informational purposes only.  Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.