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Acai Berry - Benefits of Acai Berry

The acai berry (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) is a small dark purple berry found in the Amazon forests of Brazil. It is said to have twice the anti-oxidants found in blueberries. It is a new entrant to the western world however acai berry has been taken for centuries by people living in the Amazon forests. The palm tree in which acai berry grows in bunches is known as "the tree of life" in Brazil.

The acai berry is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, amino acids, vitamins A, B1 and E, electrolytes, omega fats and protein. The acai berry is taken in juices, shakes and bars. It is even used in Brazil to flavor meat and fish dishes.

Benefits of Acai berry

  • Acai berry has a very high anti-oxidant content and helps in anti-aging
  • Acai berry substantially boosts energy levels
  • Acai berry contains important vitamins and minerals
  • Acai berry helps brain functions
  • Acai berry helps in maintaining a healthy heart
  • Acai berry boosts immunity
  • Acai berry is a detoxifying agent
  • Acai berry helps in maintaing a healthy skin
  • Acai berry helps in speeding recovery after injuries
  • Acai berry helps in controlling cholesterol

Research on Acai Berry

Pharmacokinetics of Anthocyanins and Antioxidant Effects after the Consumption of Anthocyanin-Rich Acai Juice and Pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) in Human Healthy Volunteers.
Mertens-Talcott SU, Rios J, Jilma-Stohlawetz P, Pacheco-Palencia LA, Meibohm B, Talcott ST, Derendorf H.

The acai berry is the fruit of the acai palm and is traditionally consumed in Brazil but has gained popularity abroad as a food and functional ingredient, yet little information exists on its health effect in humans. This study was performed as an acute four-way crossover clinical trial with acai pulp and clarified acai juice compared to applesauce and a non-antioxidant beverage as controls. Healthy volunteers (12) were dosed at 7 mL/kg of body weight after a washout phase and overnight fast, and plasma was repeatedly sampled over 12 h and urine over 24 h after consumption. Noncompartmental pharmacokinetic analysis of total anthocyanins quantified as cyanidin-3- O-glucoside showed C max values of 2321 and 1138 ng/L at t max times of 2.2 and 2.0 h, and AUC last values of 8568 and 3314 ng h L (-1) for pulp and juice, respectively. Nonlinear mixed effect modeling identified dose volume as a significant predictor of relative oral bioavailability in a negative nonlinear relationship for acai pulp and juice. Plasma antioxidant capacity was significantly increased by the acai pulp and applesauce. Individual increases in plasma antioxidant capacity of up to 2.3- and 3-fold for acai juice and pulp, respectively were observed. The antioxidant capacity in urine, generation of reactive oxygen species, and uric acid concentrations in plasma were not significantly altered by the treatments. Results demonstrate the absorption and antioxidant effects of anthocyanins in acai in plasma in an acute human consumption trial.

Absorption and biological activity of phytochemical-rich extracts from açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp and oil in vitro.
Pacheco-Palencia LA, Talcott ST, Safe S, Mertens-Talcott S. Department of Nutrition and Food Science and Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA.

Polyphenolic extracts from various fruits and vegetables have been shown to exert growth inhibitory effects in cell culture studies. Whereas individual polyphenolic compounds have been extensively evaluated, understanding of the biological activity of polyphenolic extracts from natural sources is limited and critical to the understanding of their potential effects on the human body. This study investigated the absorption and antiproliferative effects of phytochemical extracts from acai pulp and a polyphenolic-enriched acai oil obtained from the fruit pulp of the acai berry ( Euterpe oleracea Mart.). Chemical composition, antioxidant properties, and polyphenolic absorption of phytochemical fractions in a Caco-2 monolayer were determined, along with their cytotoxicity in HT-29 human colon adenocarcinoma cells. Standardized extracts were characterized by their predominance of hydroxybenzoic acids, monomeric flavan-3-ols, and procyanidin dimers and trimers. Polyphenolic mixtures (0-12 microg of gallic acid equiv/mL) from both acai pulp and acai oil extracts inhibited cell proliferation by up to 90.7%, which was accompanied by an increase of up to 2.1-fold in reactive oxygen species. Absorption experiments using a Caco-2 intestinal cell monolayer demonstrated that phenolic acids such as p-hydroxybenzoic, vanillic, syringic, and ferulic acids, in the presence of DMSO, were readily transported from the apical to the basolateral side along with monomeric flavanols such as (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin. Results from this study provide further evidence for the bioactive properties of acai polyphenolics and offer new insight on their composition and cellular absorption.
Total oxidant scavenging capacities of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (Açaí) fruits.Lichtenthäler R, Rodrigues RB, Maia JG, Papagiannopoulos M, Fabricius H, Marx F.
Institute of Nutritional and Food Sciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

The antioxidant capacities of 11 commercial and non-commercial samples of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (açaí) fruit pulp were studied with the total oxidant scavenging capacity assay in a modified and automated version against three reactive oxygen species. The antioxidant capacities of all purple 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 recently analysed. In all cases the correlation between sample concentration and antioxidant capacities was non-linear. The antioxidant capacities against all three reactive oxygen species of the fruit pulp from one white açaí variety were very low. The phenolic compounds in purple açaí fruit pulp were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, and the two major anthocyanins, cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside, were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography-visible spectrometry. The contributions of the anthocyanins to the overall antioxidant capacities of the fruit were estimated to be only approximately 10%. Obviously, compounds not yet identified are responsible for the major part of the antioxidant capacities of the açaí fruit pulp.

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