"The Antioxidant Effectsof Açaí vs.
Apples" There are so many açaíproducts on the market now, from frozen pulp in smoothie packs tofreeze-dried powder and supplements.
How is it eatentraditionally? Amazonian tribes cut downthe tree, eat its heart and then pee on the stumpto attract a certain type of beetle that laysthese monster maggots.
And so a few weeks later, you’ve got3 or 4 pounds of these suckers; so you can makesome grub-kababs.
I think I’ll just stickwith my smoothie pack.
Despite being used for a longtime as food in the Amazon, only since the beginningof this century have açaí berries been theobject of scientific research.
Four years ago, I reviewed that research,starting with in vitro studies that showed that açaí could killleukemia cells in a petri dish at levels one might expectin one’s bloodstream eating a cup ortwo of açaí pulp, or cutting the growth of coloncancer cells in half.
Unfortunately, subsequent studiespublished since then failed to find such benefit forthat type of colon cancer, a different typeof colon cancer, or an estrogen receptornegative form of breast cancer.
An açaí extract didappear to kill off a line of estrogen receptorpositive breast cancer cells, but to achieve that level ofaçaí nutrients in your breast, you’d have to sit down to like400 cups of açaí pulp.
That’s the problem with manyof these petri dish studies— they use concentrationsthat you could never realistically achievein your blood stream.
For example, açaí berries mayexert a neuroprotective effect, blocking the buildup of amyloidfibers implicated in Alzheimer’s, but only at a dose reached drinking maybe 2,000 cups at a time.
Or have an anti-allergy effect,or decrease bone loss, at a mere thousandcups a day.
But I also talked about a clinical study,in which folks were asked to drink less than a cup a dayof açaí in a smoothie, and appeared to get significantimprovements in blood sugar and insulin levelsand cholesterol.
Now, there was no control group,and it was a small study, but there’d never been a biggerstudy to try to replicate it.
Same amount of açaí for the same duration,but no significant improvements in blood sugars, insulin,or cholesterol.
Huh? Why did this study fail to show thebenefits seen in the first study? Well, this study was publicallyfunded, no conflicts of interest, whereas the first study wasfunded by an açaíi company, which always makes yoususpect that maybe the study was somehow designedto get the desired result.
And indeed, the study participantswere not just given açaí smoothies but explicitly told toavoid processed meat, like bacon and hot dogs.
No wonder their numbers lookedbetter at the end of the month.
Now, the new study didfind a decrease in markers of oxidative stress in theparticipants’ bloodstreams, a sign of how antioxidant-richaçaí berries can be.
Those that hock supplements loveto talk about how açaí consumption can triple antioxidant capacity, triple the antioxidantcapacity of your blood.
And if you look at thestudy they cite, YES, there was a tripling in antioxidantcapacity of the blood after eating açaí, but there was the sameor even better tripling after just plainapple sauce, which was used as a control,and is significantly cheaper than açaí berriesor supplements.
There was a new study showing significantimprovements in artery function after eating açaí berries, but any more than commoner fruits and vegetables? We’ll find out, next.