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Acai Berry's Anti Aging Properties - Fact or Marketing Fiction?

Can the Acai Berry Help With Anti Aging?


Updated May 08, 2009

Acai Berry

Acai Berry

Breno Peck / Getty Images
The acai berry’s anti aging and health properties are being marketed all over the place. A simple trip down the grocery aisle now has this tiny Brazilian fruit everywhere. What is the big deal about the acai berry and are all the anti aging, longevity and health claims true?

Acai Berry – Anti aging and Longevity Miracle?

The acai berry is a tiny grape-like fruit that grows in the rain forest of Brazil. The claims around the acai berry are long and many. Here are just a few of the supposed acai berry health benefits (please keep in mind that these are non-proven claims): That’s a pretty long list, and I even edited some of the claims from the many, many websites selling acai berry related products. I expected a few of them to even claim that the acai berry would lower your gas costs, improve your 401(k) performance and make your teenage kids listen to you.

Acai Berry – Reality Check

OK, so the acai berry seems to have a good marketing team. The reality is much more sober. It is true that the acai berry has about 10 times the antioxidants of grapes and twice the antioxidants of blueberries, but that is not enough nutritional punch for all the claims above. There is also some amount of omega-3s in the acai berry as well as a good amount of vitamins. There was one study by the University of Florida where an acai berry extract slowed the growth of leukemia cells (not proven in the human body, but in a laboratory setting).

Acai Berry Juice – Should I Drink It?

The labels on acai berry juice claim that drinking 2 ounces in the morning and 2 ounces in the evening is the equivalent of getting 14 fruits a day. If that is true (not saying that it is) is getting 14 fruits a day a good thing? Hard to say. We certainly see benefits from adding a few fruits to your diet every day, but 14? Over the long term I could see it just as likely that all the acai berry juice causes problems in your body as benefits (it could give your liver and kidneys quite a workout purging all those unneeded nutrients).

A week’s supply of acai berry juice will cost you about $40 (over $2,000 a year). For that much money, there are a lot of more proven things you can do to increase your health. Acai juice is often sold by individuals in a “networking marketing” type arrangement. You may find yourself cornered by a wayward cousin or friend who is selling this juice. Don’t feel pressured into buying it. None of the claims have been evaluated by the FDA and there is very little research on acai berry juice and health.

At best, acai berry juice is a quick and convenient substitute for all the other fruits that you should be eating anyway. Personally, I abide by the standard nutritional principle of eating lots of different kinds of fruits and vegetables to assure a good balance of nutrients. Acai berry juice could be put into a rotation of other fruits and vegetables in a well-rounded diet. So far, there is no solid research to show that acai berries alone hold any particular anti aging secrets.

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Del Pozo-Insfran D, Percival SS, Talcott ST. Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) polyphenolics in their glycoside and aglycone forms induce apoptosis of HL-60 leukemia cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 22;54(4):1222-9.

Schauss, A. G., Wu, X., Prior, R. L., Ou, B., Huang, D., Owens, J., Agarwal, A., Jensen, G. S., Hart, A. N., & Shanbrom, E. (2006). Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (acai). J. Agric. Food Chem. 54 (22): 8604-8610.

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