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Acai (Euterpe oleracea)

Acai Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Acai flour, acai palm, Amazonian palm, Euterpe oleracea, Euterpe oleracea Mart., heart of palm, OptiAcai™, palm heart.

Mechanism of Action
  • Constituents: Acai four has a high fat content (16%) and includes dietetic fiber and iron (25mg/100g).4 Acai also contains polyphenolics.2
  • Anti-inflammatory activity: In vitro, acai has been indicated as a potential cyclooxygenase COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitor. It also showed a weak effect on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide.1
  • Antioxidant activity: In an in vitro study, freeze-dried acai fruit pulp/skin powder (OptiAcai) exhibited significantly high antioxidant capacity, especially for superoxide and peroxyl scavenging.1 In freshly purified human neutrophils, acai antioxidants were able to enter human cells in a fully functional form and to perform an oxygen quenching function at very low doses.
  • Antiproliferative effects: In an in vitro study of HL-60 human leukemia cells, polyphenolics extracted from acai reduced cell proliferation from 56% to 86%, which the authors note was potentially due to caspase-3 activation (apoptosis).2
  • Immunologic activity: In vitro, acai showed no effect on either lymphocyte proliferation or phagocytic capacity.1
  • MRI oral contrast agent: Acai fruit pulp has been used as an experimental, clinical oral contrast agent for MRI of the gastrointestinal tract in vivo.3 Acai pulp presented an increase in T(1) weighted MRI signal, equivalent to that of gadolinium-diethyltriamin pentaacetic acid, and a decrease in T(2)-weighted images. Paramagnetic Fe, Mn, and Cu ions in acai may contribute to the T(1) signal enhancement and T(2) opacification.

  1. Schauss, A. G., Wu, X., Prior, R. L., Ou, B., Huang, D., Owens, J., Agarwal, A., Jensen, G. S., Hart, A. N., and Shanbrom, E. Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai). J Agric.Food Chem 11-1-2006;54(22):8604-8610. 17061840
  2. Pozo-Insfran, D., Percival, S. S., and Talcott, S. T. Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) polyphenolics in their glycoside and aglycone forms induce apoptosis of HL-60 leukemia cells. J Agric.Food Chem 2-22-2006;54(4):1222-1229. 16478240
  3. Cordova-Fraga, T., de Araujo, D. B., Sanchez, T. A., Elias, J., Jr., Carneiro, A. A., Brandt-Oliveira, R., Sosa, M., and Baffa, O. Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) as an alternative oral contrast agent in MRI of the gastrointestinal system: preliminary results. Magn Reson.Imaging 2004;22(3):389-393. 15062934
  4. Sangronis, E., Teixeira, P., Otero, M., Guerra, M., and Hidalgo, G. [Manaca, sweet potato and yam: possible substitutes of wheat in foods for two ethnic population in Venezuelan Amazon]. Arch Latinoam.Nutr 2006;56(1):77-82. 16786737