Acai Health Benefits – Free Radicals & Inflammation

The Amazon Rainforest is home to the largest collection of animal and plant species in the world. One of the most promising plants to come out of the Amazon is the acai berry. What is acai? The acai berry is loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that make it one of the healthiest fruits on earth.

Acai’s components range from potent antioxidants to fatty acids. Perricone considers acai to be a true superfood that is anti-inflammatory and is an excellent tool for overall health.

This article will discuss:

  • Acai at Work in the Body
  • Key Components of Acai

Acai at Work in the Body

Acai has a powerful antioxidant effect that works to counteract inflammation and free radical damage within the body.

Free Radicals
Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells when they seek out the missing electron they need to become stable. This process creates damaged DNA inside the cells. Cells with damaged DNA have a limited ability to reproduce and communicate with each other. This results in a lack of healthy new cells just when older cells are less able to perform their functions. Acai contains anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds belonging to a specialized group of nutrient rich pigments called flavonoids. Anthocyanins provide the extra electrons free radicals need so they don’t need to damage the cells in order to become stable.

The ability of an antioxidant to supply free radicals with an extra electron is measured by the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). The recommended daily ORAC level is between 3,000 and 5,000; acai has an ORAC of 5,500 for every 100 grams of fruit. Blueberries and red grapes, which are also rich in anthocyanins, only possess ORAC scores of 2,250 and 550 per 100 grams, respectively.

Inflammation
Although it is an important part of the immune system, he inflammatory response also plays a crucial role in the aging process. It works to increase in blood flow to an infected or damaged area of the body. Cells expand to allow larger blood cells to pass through their membranes. This increases the proteins provided to the damaged area to support the immune system and clean away infection.

The problems arise when the inflammation doesn’t subside normally after the infection is gone. If chronic inflammation results, the cells remain swollen. Swollen cells can apply pressure to surrounding cells, eventually damaging them in turn. Normally a cellular trigger called the apoptosis response turns off injured cells so that they can’t continue to harm the cells around them. Cells with free radical-damaged DNA prevent the apoptosis response from happening. This means that damaged cells receive a “stay alive” signal and are able to continue harming their neighbors.

Acai’s ability to fight inflammation comes from two components: antioxidants and oleic acid. When anthocyanins fight damage from free radicals, it keeps cell DNA intact. Intact DNA signals correctly signals the apoptosis response and stops the inflammation. Oleic acid makes the cell walls more malleable, meaning that inflammatory toxins are able to leave the cell more readily. Also, blood is able to move through the cell walls more efficiently when inflammation does occur. Malleable cell membranes are better return to their normal state before inflammation can result in any long-term damage.

For information on Perricone’s Acai supplements, watch this video:


Key Components of Acai

  1. Omega Fatty Acids
    Cells use omega fats to develop cell membranes and cell walls, but three healthy fats in particular are especially beneficial:

    • Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in joints, tissues and the bloodstream, and according to Perricone, inflammation is one of the major causes of aging.
    • Omega-6, another essential fatty acid that promotes the clotting ability in blood, supports skin health and lowers LDL cholesterol. However, if the level of Omega-6 exceeds that of Omega-3, then blood clots can build up in the bloodstream.
    • Omega-9, although produced by the body in moderate amounts, is considered essential and functions as a monounsaturated oleic acid. Monounsaturated oleic acids, most commonly found in olive oil, promote malleability in cell membranes and assist cellular function productivity. Acai pulp contains 37.5 grams healthy unsaturated fats per every 100 grams serving.
  2. Fiber
    There are two types of fiber, neither of which can be digested by the human body:

    • Soluble fiber binds with fatty acids to slow the absorption of sugars in the stomach, thus helping to regulate blood sugar levels. It also reduces LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
    • Insoluble fiber moves bulky matter through the intestines, also regulates pH levels, controls bacterial growth, reduces constipation, and lessens the chance for microbes to develop cancerous byproducts.
  3. Amino Acids
    Acai berries contain an impressive 19 of the 20 total amino acids. This results in 8g of protein in every 100g serving of acai. Amino acids are an essential building block of life. They operate in almost every important biochemical process, especially in metabolism, because of their role in protein formation. Humans are only able to create 10 of the 20 amino acids, but need all of them for protein synthesis.
    To get a sense of the large quantity of amino acids present in acai, here is a comparison of 16 of the 19 amino acids in acai with those found found in an egg (measurements are done in grams/100 grams in doses of amino acids):

*The human body cannot biosynthesize these Amino Acids. The only other amino acid not produced by the human body is asparagine.

Information for this study conducted by Laboratório Catarinense S/A a FDA Certified Pharmaceutical Laboratory July 2004.

   







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11 Comments • Please comment below

11 Comments

  1. I born in Brazil very close to the state where this little fruit in quositen ACAI come from that Americans now are trying to rename to ACAI BERRY. PLEASE THIS IS AN ALERT TO EVERY ONE!!! The Acai fruit its not a diet supplement and its not going to make you lose weight, this are all tricks to make you lose money, also the name is fake because if you go to the state in Brazil where the fruit originally come from BELEM-PARA and ask for Acai berry they dont know what it is. Continue

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  8. I am most interested in the anti-inflammatory properties of acai. If we eat a clean diet and include acai and other supplements we don’t really age and I would love to be the grandma who is out running the bases with the grandchildren as well as doing the Times crosswords every morning. Thanks for helping bringing Acai to the market and it is common sense marketing greed will get on a trend but sensible people know to go to the ones who originally brought it to the market!

  9. Acai looks like a really good choice for a super antioxidant. It amazes me how many amino acids there are in the berry. Looks like such good rounded nutrition and well worth adding to the daily diet.

  10. I have heard a lot about Acai, but I’ve only really seen it in juice and other products that have much too much sugar for me. I’m a type II Diabetic, and am controlled through diet – and I want to stay that way. But it always seems these “super foods” are supplied in a way that’s not appropriate for me. A powder that I could add to something sounds perfect.

  11. I would love to include Acai into my diet. I am a picky eater as it is and it is very hard for me to find ways to incorporate healthy foods and the Acai berry is a truly wonderful addition I would love to try.