Acai shows heart health benefits: Pilot study
By Stephen Daniells, 19-May-2011 (www.nutraingredients-usa.com)
Related topics: Antioxidants, carotenoids, Phytochemicals, plant extracts, Cardiovascular health, Diabetes, Research
smoothies may reduce cholesterol levels and improve metabolic syndrome
risk factors in overweight subjects, suggest preliminary findings from a
intake of the açai pulp in the form of a smoothie was associated with a
reduction in levels of blood sugar and total cholesterol of 5.3 and
10.6 percent, respectively, according to findings published in the Nutrition Journal .
"These reductions are greater than those deemed necessary for a change in risk status [for developing diabetes]," wrote the researchers, led by Jay Udani, MD, CEO of Medicus Research.
study used a commercial açai puree provided by California-based
Sambazon Inc. According to the study, the product is pasteurized and
manufactured in a GMP facility in Brazil. Sambazon funded the study.
was an open label, uncontrolled, pilot study designed to explore the
potential effects of Sambazon Açai on risk factors for diabetes and
cardiovascular disease," explained Dr Udani and his team.
limitations of this study are a lack of a blinding, a placebo control
and the small sample population. This was an exploratory study, and as
the results are positive, further studies placebo-controlled studies
with a larger study population are warranted."
Super fruits from Central and South America
berries (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) have long formed part of the staple
diet of Indian tribes. With the appearance of a purple grape and taste
of a tropical berry, it has been shown to have powerful antioxidant
properties thanks to a high level of anthocyanins, pigments that are
also present in red wine.
is presently being sold in a number of countries, including New
Zealand, Australia, South America, Japan, USA, and the Middle East.
is not the first time açai has been reported to offer potential heart
health benefits. Only recently a study supported by açai producer and
distributor MonaVie LLC found that the berry's juice may provide
anti-inflammatory benefits that offer protection from hardening of the
The research, published in Atherosclerosis (doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.02.035
), also supports the possibility that açaí juice may exert protective
effects against the development of atherosclerosis by inhibiting
pro-inflammatory compounds called cytokines, through regulating
The new study sought to evaluate the potential of açai fruit pulp in overweight subjects.
an email to NutraIngredients-USA.com, Dr Udani explained that the
proprietary acai puree (Sambazon) contained 6.4g of fatty acids per
dose, 4.5mg/ml phenolics, and 5.3g fiber.
"It appears that this high fiber, high fatty acid blend with phenolics is one of the reasons that this mixture was effective," he said.
Udani and his co-workers recruited 10 overweight subjects and provided
them with a daily dose of 200 grams of açai pulp. One month later, the
researchers analyzed risk factors of metabolic syndrome, including
cholesterol levels, insulin and glucose levels, and blood levels of
C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation.
syndrome (MetS) is a condition characterised by central obesity,
hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome
has been linked to increased risks of both type-2 diabetes and
cardiovascular disease (CVD).
showed that, compared to levels at the start of the study, açai
ingestion was associated with significant reductions in glucose,
insulin, and total cholesterol levels. CRP levels were unaffected, they
this uncontrolled pilot study, consumption of acai fruit pulp reduced
levels of selected markers of metabolic disease risk in overweight
adults, indicating that further studies are warranted," concluded the researchers.
Dr Udani confirmed that further studies are in development, but not yet underway.
2011, 10:45, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-45
"Effects of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study"
Authors: J.K. Udani, B.B. Singh, V.J. Singh, M.L. Barrett