If you’re looking for the best acai berry supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Acai Berry Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Acai Berry Supplements
|#1||Nature’s Bounty Acai||More Info|
|#2||Nature’s Way Acai||More Info|
|#3||Source Naturals Acai Extract||More Info|
|#4||NOW Foods Certified Organic Acai Powder||More Info|
|#5||Natrol Acai Berry||More Info|
|#6||Solgar Acai Extract||More Info|
|#7||Doctor’s Best Acai||More Info|
|#8||Nature’s Plus Acai||More Info|
|#9||Puritan’s Pride Acai||More Info|
|#10||Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum Acai||More Info|
What Are Acai Berries?
Acai berries are dark purple, almost black, colored fruits that grow on a palm tree native to Central America and the northern half of South America. The scientific name of the tree is Euterpe oleracea or Euterpe badiocarpa. Its name comes from an indigenous word that means “fruit that cries.” At about an inch long apiece, the berries resemble grapes.
These fruits are edible, and were traditionally an important part of the indigenous peoples’ diets and were used as a traditional folk remedy for diarrhea. Acai berries are said to taste like a combination of chocolate and wild berries, with hints of clove and red wine. These berries were first brought to the attention of U.S. consumers in 2000 by a pair of California brothers who encountered the fruit on a vacation in Brazil.
Some supplement marketers have claimed acai berry supplements could be used to aid in weight loss. Scientific evidence does not support the use of acai berry supplements for weight loss or weight management.
What is an Acai Berry Supplement?
Acai berries, also known as Amazonian palm berries, have been promoted in alternative and complementary medicine literature as a potential treatment for arthritis, erectile dysfunction, and high cholesterol. These claims may also credit the little berries (technically fruits, since they only contain a single seed) with improving the appearance of the skin, “detoxification,” improving memory retention, and improved overall health. However, little or no scientific evidence supports these claims. Acai berries and juices made from these berries are known to have scientifically demonstrated health benefits, but it is not clear that supplements provide an additional health benefit beyond that which is provided by the raw fruit or its juice.
Benefits of Acai Berry Supplements
Some studies have suggested that acai berry supplements may help in lowering cholesterol and in lowering blood sugar. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, acai berry juice has anti-inflammatory properties as well as vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.
These berries are rich in antioxidants, including the strong antioxidants called anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, chemicals that help the body fight against cell damage done by free radicals. Amounts of antioxidants in acai berry juice is believed to be higher than the amounts found in cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, raspberries, and strawberries, although this has been disputed by some studies. The antioxidant properties found in acai berries and juices may help protect the body against cellular changes that can lead to cancers. Antioxidants are also thought to help protect the body against heart disease, narrowing of the arteries, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Some research has also suggested that acai berry supplements may have properties that help stop the progression of cancers, at least in animals. Further research is needed to determine whether these effects are transferable to human cancer patients.
Vitamins and minerals found in fresh acai berries and acai berry juices include vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Acai berries and juices also contain nutritionally beneficial amounts of dietary fiber, with one serving providing about half of one’s recommended fiber intake for a day. They also contain oleic acid, a nutritious fatty acid that is also found in olive oil. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat; avocados are one of the only other foods that can be eaten as a dietary source of the monounsaturated fats (“good” fats) found in acai berries. Four ounces of fresh acai berries have about 100 calories in them, making them a relatively low-calorie snack.
Are There any Side Effects?
In a few, rare instances, consumption of raw acai fruits has been associated with Chagas disease. The disease, which is quite rare in the United States, is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Symptoms of Chagas disease include a sore where the parasite has bitten the person, rash, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and swollen eyelids if the person has been bitten near the eye. Individuals who eat acai berries in their raw form should see a health care provider immediately if experiencing any of these signs. It should be noted, though, that one’s chances of contracting Chagas disease from eating acai berries are extremely low.
Other possible side effects of acai berry supplements include high blood pressure, gastric ulcers, and intestinal bleeding. Those considering using acai berry supplements should consult with a health care provider before starting to take the supplements.
Fresh acai berry juice is known to affect the results of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests. Consumers who use acai berry supplements, eat the fresh berries, or drink acai berry juice should stop using these products two weeks before a scheduled MRI appointment.
Acai berry supplements may cause some drug interaction effects for using taking over-the-counter and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen as well as other pain relief medications. They are suspected of blocking the effectiveness of some anti-cancer drugs.
Because acai berries and acai berry supplements are known to have some effect on lowering blood sugar, those who already have low blood sugar should talk to a health care provider before using these supplements. Not enough research has been done to conclude that acai berry supplements are safe for those who are pregnant or breast feeding, so people under these circumstances may want to avoid acai berry supplements until further evidence is known.
People who are allergic to pollen and/or to trees may want to avoid fresh acai berries. Those who are allergic to cranberries or similar fruits may want to avoid fresh acai berries, acai berry juices, and acai berry supplements.
How to Take Acai Berry Supplements
Acai berry supplements are available in many forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, frozen pulp, bottled smoothies, energy drinks, and fresh fruit juices. The fruit is also made into edible products such as jams, ice creams, and liqueurs. Consumption of acai berries as a food is generally thought to be safe for most people, especially when eaten in moderate amounts.
Excessive consumption of acai berries can affect individuals with diabetes, kidney disease, and high cholesterol, due to the mineral content that naturally occurs in the berries. Acai berry supplements should not be used with other antioxidant supplements except under the supervision of a qualified health care professional.
What to Look for in a Good Acai Berry Supplement
Because acai berries are a fruit, they naturally contain sugar. Consumers should be wary of acai berry products and supplements that contain too much added sugar, especially if the consumer is trying to limit the amount of excess sugar in his or her diet.
As with all supplements, the consumer will want to look for a supplement that comes from trusted, reputable manufacturer. ConsumerLab.com, NSF International, and U.S. Pharmacopeia are three respected organizations that lend their seals of approval to supplement products.
Some products that contain acai also contain caffeine, especially those products that are labeled as energy drinks or as weight loss products. Those who are sensitive to caffeine and/or have a known heart condition should check the ingredients before consuming any acai-containing product.
Acai berry supplements tend to be relatively costly compared to other antioxidant supplements. This is because a large number of acai berries must be harvested to obtain a small amount of juice or pulp. Berries naturally have a single large seed inside, and the volume of the seed is greater than the volume of the fruit itself. When taking acai supplements for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory value, the consumer must weigh whether the monetary cost of acai supplements over other antioxidant supplements from a less expensive fruit (the cranberry, for example) is justified by the potential health benefit.