Acai


Article Outline
  1. 1. Composition
  2. 2. Preparation
  3. 3. Healing Properties
    1. 3.1. Antiinflammatory (anti-inflammatory)
    2. 3.2. Antioxidant
      1. 3.2.1. Brain Health
    3. 3.3. Blood Health
      1. 3.3.1. Hematopoietic Effects
    4. 3.4. Hypoglycemic
    5. 3.5. Heart Health
      1. 3.5.1. Vascular Function
      2. 3.5.2. Kidney Function
      3. 3.5.3. Antihypertensive
        1. 3.5.3.1. Endothelial Health
    6. 3.6. Gut Health
  4. 4. Disease / Symptom Treatment
    1. 4.1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
      1. 4.1.1. Colitis
    2. 4.2. Fatty Liver (hepatic steatosis)
    3. 4.3. Metabolic Syndrome
    4. 4.4. Neurological Disease
    5. 4.5. Weight Loss (Obesity)

Acai berries are the fruit of the Euterpe oleracea palm tree. Acai berries are small, round, black-purple fruits, similar in appearance to a grape, but smaller and with less pulp. The ripe fruits are a deep purple color, or green, depending on the kind of açaí and its maturity. They contain a single large seed. The seed makes up about 60-80% of the fruit.

Composition

Acai berries have a high polyphenol content. They also contain many nutrients such as: iron, vitamin E, and unsaturated fatty acids.[1]

  • Polyphenols (Phenolic Compounds)

    • Acai seed extract (ASE) is rich in catechin and polymeric pro-anthocyanidins.[1:1]
    • Açaí oil is rich in protocatechuic acid.
  • Acai Seed Extract is rich in catechin, epicatechin and polymeric proanthocyanidins, which are natural antioxidant and anti-infammatory polyphenolic compounds.[2]

Acai berries contain anthocyanins such as cyanidine-3-glucoside (C3Glc), cyanidine-3-diglucoside, and cyanidin-3-rutinoside (which contribute to antioxidant activity).[1:2]

Chemical studies have shown that acaí is composed of a variety of compounds, including hydroxybenzoic acids, polyphenolics, favan-3-ols and anthocyanins, particularly cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside and cyanidin 3-O-glucuronide.[2:1]

Preparation

The pulp of the acai fruit is commonly freeze-dried, with the seed and skin removed.[3]

Healing Properties

Antiinflammatory (anti-inflammatory)

Phytochemicals contained in acai, including favan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins, were demonstrated to exhibit anti-infammatory effects.[2:2]

Antioxidant

Brain Health

Acai treatment has been shown to prevent brain oxidative damage.[1:3]

Blood Health

Acai treatment increases the Red Blood Cell Population via Erythropoietin Upregulation.[1:4]

Hematopoietic Effects

Haematopoiesis refers the formation of blood cellular components.

Acai treatment significantly increased the erythrocytes, hemoglobin, and hematocrit contents compared to controls.[1:5]

  • Acai induced a hemopoietic effect via the enhancement of maturation and intact erythrocytes.[1:6]

Acai administration significantly increased the levels of the hematopoietic-related hormone erythropoietin in blood compared to controls and also significantly upregulated the gene expression of Erythropoietin (EPO) in the kidney.[1:7]

Erythropoietin is a hormone produced by the kidney that promotes the formation of red blood cells by the bone marrow.

Hypoglycemic

Heart Health

  • Acai Seed Extract’s ability to induce endothelium dependent vasodilation may help treat hypertension, atherosclerosis, and heart failure.[4]

  • Acai treatment has been shown to improve cardiac dysfunction following myocardial infarction.[1:8]

Vascular Function

Kidney Function

Acai extract was shown to induce renal hypoxia.[1:9]

Hypoxia is the fundamental stimulus for erythropoietin (EP) production in the kidneys. Hypoxia increases erythropoietin messenger RNA in a renal cell, which leads to the production of increased amounts of erythropoietin in the kidney. Hypoxia also increases external messenger substances that amplify the effects of hypoxia and increases erythropoietin messenger RNA to further accelerate erythropoietin production.[5]

Antihypertensive

Endothelial Health

Acai Seed Extract has been shown to induce endothelium dependent vasodilation (widening and relaxation of blood vessels).[4:1]

Endothelial cells produce a number of substances, collectively termed endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), that promote local relaxation of vascular smooth muscle.

Gut Health

Acai is rich in anthocyanidin and chrysanthemin (cyanidin-3-glucoside) which have been shown to inhibit the growth of E. coli and promote the growth of probiotic (beneficial) strains of microorganisms.

Disease / Symptom Treatment

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Acai Seed Extract could reduce colonic infammation.[2:3]

Intestinal infammation is associated with the overproduction of both reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species, leading to oxidative and nitrosative stress, which are observed in infammatory bowel diseases.[2:4]

Acai Seed Extract treatment reduced malonyldialdehyde (MDA) levels.[2:5] This is a marker for inflammation.

Excessive oxygen radicals are critical factors for ulcerative infammation tissue damage, oxidative stress has been proposed as the mechanism underlying the pathophysiology of Crohn’s disease. Membrane lipids are susceptible to reactive oxygen species-induced damage, resulting in lipid peroxidation and products derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids measured by MDA levels.[2:6]

Colitis

Acai Seed Extract prevents colonic mucosal damage caused by colitis by decreasing the infammatory processes and oxidative stress.[2:7]

Acai Seed Extract reduced abnormal increases in colon weight and macroscopic infammation.[2:8]

Evaluation of the colon after treatment with acai seed extract revealed a signifcant decrease in microscopic damage.[2:9]

Acai Seed Extract reduced all parameters of intestinal damage, including mucosal architecture loss, cellular infltrate, muscle thickening, crypt abscess and goblet cell depletion, macroscopic lesions characterized by focal hyperemia or bowel wall thickening, and ulceration with infammation.[2:10]

Acai Seed Extract signifcantly reduced Neutrophil–myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, thereby decreasing extensive neutrophil infltration into the colonic tissues and repairing the formation of oxidative damage in colitis.[2:11]

Neutrophil–myeloperoxidase (MPO) is an abundant granule enzyme that catalyzes the production of potent ROS, causing an increase in oxidative damage in the intestinal mucosa. Attenuating MPO may mitigate oxidative damage and infammation in the intestinal mucosa.[2:12]

Fatty Liver (hepatic steatosis)

Acai treatment has been shown to provide protection from fatty liver disease.[1:10]

Metabolic Syndrome

Neurological Disease

Acai treatment has been shown to prevent brain oxidative damage.[1:11]

Weight Loss (Obesity)

Acai treatment has been shown to provide protection from diet-induced obesity.[1:12]

Acai berries are a promising functional food for the management and prevention of obesity.[4:2] Açai seed extract (ASE) has been evidenced as a potential regulator of body mass.[4:3] Research suggests that even low doses of the compounds found in acai berries may have a protective role against body weight gain and consequently obesity development.[4:4]

  • Inclusion of acai berries in the diet significantly improved plasma and tissue markers of obesity.[4:5]
  • Phenolic compounds found in Acai Seed Extract prevent body mass gain and obesity and promote body weight reduction by altering the expression of the specific genes involved in adipogenesis thereby positively modulating the metabolic pathways responsble for the creation of new fat cells.[4:6]
    • Acai Seed Extract can be used as a potential strategy to modulate adipogenesis.[4:7]
    • Açai Seed Extract was shown to reduce adipogenesis, suppress lipid accumulation, and prevent obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet.[4:8]

  1. Title: Acai Extract Increases the Red Blood Cell Population via Erythropoietin Upregulation in Mice
    Publication: MDPI: Preprints
    Archive: ipfs.io ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. Title: Euterpe oleracea Mart. (Açaí) attenuates experimental colitis in rats: involvement of TLR4/COX-2/NF-ĸB
    Publication: Springer - Inflammopharmacology
    Archive: ipfs.io ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. Title: Anti-oxidant capacities of flavonoid compounds isolated from acai pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.)
    Publication: Food Chemistry
    Archive: ipfs.io ↩︎

  4. Title: Antiadipogenic effects of açai seed extract on high fat diet-fed mice and 3T3-L1 adipocytes: A potential mechanism of action
    Publication: Life Sciences
    Archive: ipfs.io ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  5. Title: The role of hypoxia in renal production of erythropoietin
    Publication: Cancer
    Date: August 1992
    Institution(s): Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, US ↩︎