What Science and Research Have to Say About Acai Berries ?
Before taking up a new health supplement, it’s important to consider the amount of research used to support the efficacy of any product. In the case of acai berries, however, the result of various scientific studies is unanimous: acai berries are truly good for your health.
Scientists from the University of Florida, for instance, assert the potential of acai berries of fighting against cancer cells.
An assistant professor in the university’s Food Science and Human Nutrition department, Stephen Talcott, together with his research team, has published a report regarding certain chemical properties of acai berry and its ability to destroy human-cultured leukemia cells.
Aware that acai berries have been used as an ingredient in several health drinks as well as the fact that they have long been part of the diet regime of various indigenous communities for centuries, Talcott and his researchers were also cognizant of the fact that few studies had explored the effect of acai berries on cancer. Of course, this doesn’t come much as a surprise considering how it was only several years ago that acai berries were imported to markets outside Brazil.
Talcott emphasized their efforts not to assume any plant used in making health drinks or food possesses any medical benefit. The experiments they had conducted were mainly focused on two things: finding out if the cancer cells reacting to acai berries were dying and if they were releasing caspase-3 enzymes. These enzymes are only discharged by dying cancer cells.
For their research, a human-cultured leukemia cell was introduced to five acai berry samples with various concentrations. The results displayed a high mortality response for the cancer cell, ranging from 25 to 84 percent.
Nevertheless, Talcott and his researchers haven’t provided outright confirmation of the cancer fighting potential of acai berries. Such statements would have to wait until their ongoing studies, with human subjects this time, would end. For their current batch of experiments, Talcott and his team are searching for signs that acai berries are capable of lowering cholesterol levels or blood pressure and whether or not they’re capable of being absorbed into the blood stream.
Another study regarding acai berries was published in a 2008 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry issue. The report detailed the findings of scientists from the Texas Agrilife Research regarding the possible antioxidant benefits of acai berry intake.
Twelve voluntary and healthy subjects were used for the study and they were then asked to drink a single serving of acai pulp or juice.
As far as taste was concerned, the results were mainly positive. As acai contained low sugar content but possessing of a chocolate and wine-like flavor, there were no major complaints given by the subjects.
The study was prompted by the increasing popularity of acai berries in the health industry. They were used as an ingredient not only for energy drinks but also for desserts and health supplements. Advertisement for acai berries has also been particularly aggressive as food and drug manufacturers contend the fruit’s ability to boost metabolism, enhance athletic prowess, and reduce weight.
Finding out whether the nutritional substances from acai berry could indeed be absorbed by the blood or were simply eliminated as waste was the main goal of the study. The single-serve drink of acai berry was then compared to the results of taking in a non-antioxidant beverage and applesauce.
Using urine and blood samples, the research team was then able to conclude that a significant amount of antioxidants from acai berry was indeed absorbed into the blood stream of the subjects.