What is the açaí berry and are there health benefits?

Knowledge Center Team, American Dietetic Association, Chicago, IL., USA.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Impact Factor: 3.92). 11/2009; 109(11):1968. DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.09.017
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The palm Euterpe oleracea Martius (acai) has been acclaimed to have a wide range of health-promoting and therapeutic benefits due to its reportedly high levels of antioxidants. Acai has a history of use as a medicinal plant and as a staple food in many parts of Brazil. Traditionally, it has been used to treat fevers, skin complications, digestive disorders and parasitic infections. Acai has also been of great economic importance in Brazil. In recent years, acai berry has been advertised widely, for example, via the Internet. This is based to a relatively high content of polyphenols, which in turn has been linked to a range of reported (mostly in vitro) antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and cardioprotective properties. This review highlights the scientific knowledge about its phytochemistry and pharmacology (and its limitations). In vitro and in vivo studies have been assessed in order to determine the therapeutic potential of acai. Since there have been very limited studies the results are mostly inconclusive. Acai demonstrates promising potential with regard to antiproliferative activity and cardioprotection but further studies are required. Claims about alleged health benefits can generally only be substantiated to a very limited degree. Strategies need to be developed in order to prioritise lesser studied 'novel' herbal, medicines or nutraceuticals generally distributed/popularised via the Internet and to assess the benefits and risks of such products which also allows for the evaluation of the claims made.
    Phytochemistry Letters 03/2011; 4(1). DOI:10.1016/j.phytol.2010.11.005 · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acaiberry(Euterpe oleracea Mart.) was partially substituted from the formula for juak and the subsequent effects on the physiochemical and physical characteristics. And this study was carried out to standardize the recipe of acaiberry-juak. Acaiberry powder was added in 0(control), 1, 3 and 5% substitution ratios by weight per glutinous rice flour. Also, acaiberry puree was added in 3, 6 and 9% substitution ratios by weight water. The moisture contents showed juak with addition of acaiberry contents were lower then control. The diameter of the juak decreased with increasing levels of the added acaiberry powder and puree, whereas the height increased with increasing amount of the powder and puree. The Hunter colorimeteric L-values of the dough and acaiberry-juak decreased as the amount of acaiberry powder and puree increased. Hunter a and b-values both increased with increasing levels of the acaiberry powder and puree. Textural characteristics there were increase in hardness, springiness, chewiness as the amount of acaiberry powder and puree increased(p
    12/2013; 29(6). DOI:10.9724/kfcs.2013.29.6.653
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    ABSTRACT: Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) has recently emerged as a promising source of natural antioxidants. Because increased oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defense mechanisms are important factors in the development of diabetic complications and many health claims have been reported for açai, the present study was undertaken to evaluate the possible protective effects of açai on the production of reactive oxygen species by neutrophils and on the liver antioxidant defense system in control and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Diet supplementation with 2% açai was found to increase mRNA levels for gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase and glutathione peroxidase in liver tissue and to decrease reactive oxygen species production by neutrophils. Compared to control animals, diabetic rats exhibited lower levels of mRNA coding for Zn-superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase and higher levels of reactive oxygen species production by neutrophils, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances and carbonyl proteins in hepatic tissues. Although açai supplementation was not effective in restore gene expression of antioxidant enzymes in diabetic rats, it showed a protective effect, decreasing thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances levels and increasing reduced glutathione content in the liver. These findings suggest that açai can modulate reactive oxygen species production by neutrophils and that it has a significant favorable effect on the liver antioxidant defense system under fisiological conditions of oxidative stress and partially revert deleterious effects of diabetes in the liver.
    Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 11/2011; 49(3):188-94. DOI:10.3164/jcbn.11-02 · 2.29 Impact Factor