Acai...is it all it is cracked up to be?

April 2010, Warren Matthews

Summary

Question: from Jonathan

I just read an article (promotion) on Acai berry as an incredibly powerful antioxidant. They quoted a measurement of the antioxidant value of Acai berry using the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) with a value of 5,500 compared to a cup of blueberries at 3,200 and a banana at 212.

They promote Acai berry as one of the most potent antioxidants available. Yet Wikipedia says the antioxidant value of Acai berry is less then blueberries?? I have three related questions:

1. What is your opinion on the value of Acai berry as a supplement?

2. What do you know of the validity of the ORAC measurement?

3. When I searched the blog there was no result for Acai berry so, do you use acai berry in any way - and why?

Question: from Jonathan

I just read an article (promotion) on Acai berry as an incredibly powerful antioxidant. They quoted a measurement of the antioxidant value of Acai berry using the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) with a value of 5,500 compared to a cup of blueberries at 3,200 and a banana at 212.

They promote Acai berry as one of the most potent antioxidants available. Yet Wikipedia says the antioxidant value of Acai berry is less then blueberries?? I have three related questions:

1. What is your opinion on the value of Acai berry as a supplement?

2. What do you know of the validity of the ORAC measurement?

3. When I searched the blog there was no result for Acai berry so, do you use acai berry in any way - and why?

Answer: from Warren

1. Acai berry is an OK supplement but it is grossly overhyped. There are many other nutrients more potent than this.

2. ORAC is a good measurement, BUT only when it is done to a fixed set of protocols. There is only one reliable measurement and that is Brunswick Laboratories in the USA who specialize on measuring ORAC values on various nutrients. Many companies use other laboratories for their measurements and the results can vary widely depending upon the protocols used. The values can also be misleading in that an ORAC value for a supplement should be based on the daily recommended dose or the individual dose. For example, the grape seed extract that we now use has an ORAC value of 12,000 per gram based on tests from Brunswick...BUT, if only 50mgs is used per serving then the total per serving would only be 600. So, there are two things you need to look at when comparing ORAC values. One, was the test done by Brunswick and two, does it relate to the actual serving size.

3. We don't use Acai berry. We looked into a few years ago but did not go ahead with it for two reasons. One, the potency of it was not brilliant and two...it did not meet our microbiological standards. In other words we could not find a source that did not have unacceptable levels of microbiological contamination. Note: Since that time the manufacturers may have sorted that problem out. They were talking about irradiation which was not acceptable to us.

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