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The Science on Acai Berries

Exerpt from NutritionFacts.org - August 22, 2013 by Michael Greger M.D.

 

 

An independent review of the effects of açaí berries was recently published, which included studies on immune function, arthritis, and metabolic parameters. The "Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Acai" was issued by the Natural Standards Research Collaboration (NSRC), an impartial scientific body that refuses to take support from product manufacturers. They are cited by the World Health Organization as one of the most authoritative sources on such matters. What did the NSRC find?

Whenever a new purported superfood hits the market, the first thing researchers tend to look at its chemistry such as antioxidant capacity, which was done back in 2006. Based on one measure of antioxidants, it had "the highest of any food reported to date," - a remarkable finding I reported at the time in my video Antioxidant Content of 300 Foods. I've since unveiled Antioxidant Content of 3,139 Foods, and while acai's title has been stripped, it's still high in the list. Despite its cost, as I noted in Superfood Bargains, frozen acai pulp represents one of the best antioxidant bangs for our buck. We still didn't know what it did outside of a test tube, though.

The next step is to go from test tube to petri dish and try it out on some human cells. They dripped the concentration of acai berry phytonutrients expected in one's bloodstream after consumption on some cancer cells taken from a 36-year-old woman with leukemia. They saw a dramatic rise in cancer cell mortality-about twice that found previously using similar concentrations of hibiscus tea on the same cancer.

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