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Acai Berry - Research vs. Hype

It’s tough to browse the internet today without being overwhelmed by a flood of advertisements for acai products. These ads mainly focus on weight loss and “detox”. So what exactly is acai and how the heck do you pronounce it?

Acai Berry Research

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) refers to the acai berries of the Euterpe oleraceae tree which is native to the Amazon River. Acai berries have been shown to have numerous health benefits and continual research helps validate acai’s use as a dietary supplement.

Acai berries contain anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and other flavonoids including homoorientin, orientin, isovitexin, scoparin, and taxifolin deoxyhexose, along with several unknown flavonoids. In addition, components including fatty acids, amino acids, sterols, minerals and resveratrol have also been found in acai berries1.

Numerous scientific studies have validated the importance of consuming anthocyanin-rich foods to aid in the slowing or prevention of chronic diseases. The chemoprotective, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-angiogenic and anti-cancer properties are considered to be very significant with berry anthocyanins consumption2.

Acai berries have also been shown to be cardioprotectant, beneficial in reducing age-associated oxidative stress, improving neuronal and cognitive brain function as well as ocular health. Anthocyanin derivatives exhibit antioxidative, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-hypertensive and anti-angiogenic effects. Anthocyanins also enhance the immune system and detoxification, and modulate cholesterol biosynthesis2.

Putting it all together

Acai berry research is very promising for healthy living, but the implications for extreme weight loss and detox is simply hype. I promote acai berries for the benefits it embodies, nothing more.

Based on warnings from the Better Business Bureau®, it’s recommended to avoid purchasing acai products from any company that promotes acai berry as a weight loss and/or detox miracle. Also, several scams involving “free trials” are also red flags to avoid3. For more information, please visit the Better Business Bureau® at www.bbb.org.

Acai berries are a nutritional powerhouse with many potential health benefits. Just know the difference between substantiated research and a scam.


1 Alexander G. Schauss, Xianli Wu, Ronald L. Prior, Boxin Ou, Dinesh Patel, Dejian Huang, and James P. Kababick. Phytochemical and Nutrient Composition of the Freeze-Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (Acai). J. Agric. Food Chem., 2006, 54 (22), pp 8598–8603.

2 Shirley Zafra-Stone, Manashi Bagchi, Debasis Bagchi. Health Benefits of Edible Berry Anthocyanins: Novel Antioxidant and Anti-Angiogenic Properties. Antioxidant Measurement and Applications, Chapter 22, 2007, pp 337-351 ACS Symposium Series, Volume 956.

3 Alison Southwick. Weight-loss Berry Claiming Oprah Endorsement Makes Wallets Slim and Consumers Angry Warns BBB. January 5, 2009. http://www.bbb.org/us/article/8493.

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Written on September 25, 2009 by Brian Putchio
Last Updated: July 06, 2010

This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice.Please check with your health care providers prior to starting any new dietary or exercise program. CasePerformance is not responsible for the outcome of any decision made based off the information presented in this article.

About the Author: Brian Putchio is owner/operator of NUTRI-BODIES, LLC in Dubuque, Iowa. Through his extensive knowledge and experience in the nutraceuticals industry since 1999, Brian offers a unique perspective to his blog readers. Brian's refusal to simply flow with the marketing strategies of the industry conveys a strong sense of credibility that helps consumers successfully navigate the nutraceutical minefield.