Pure Acai Berry Not Just For Weight Loss – It Extends Lifespan


Studies have repeatedly shown that when diets are rich in botanicals, numerous health benefits ensue. Acai is the small, blackish-purple fruit from the Acai palm tree that is native to the Amazon River delta’s swamps and floodplains. Acai Longevity 2 300x223 Pure Acai Berry Not Just For Weight Loss   It Extends Lifespan Many health experts have praised the remarkable health-imparting properties of the Acai berry, which is a staple food in Brazil. The berry, which is about 1 inch in diameter, is known as a superfood that possesses an array of therapeutic properties. Although the Acai Berry has mostly been marketed for its weight loss properties, recent studies show that the berry’s benefits extend far beyond its potential to help shed excess pounds.

Red, purple and blue berries are all rich in a type of phytonutrient known as anthocyanins. These phytonutrients exhibit numerous biomedical functions, as has been demonstrated in animal and cell-based studies and clinical trials. Such functions include anti-cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activity. A test using an in vivo model of tumor angiogenesis found that the presence of anthocyanins decreased cancer cell growth by more than 50% [1]. Anthocyanins also exhibit anti-oxidant properties, reducing age-related stress on cognitive brain function and protecting the integrity of DNA. Since DNA damage or cell mutation accumulation is theorized to be a major cause of aging, this makes anthocyanins an ideal anti-aging supplement.

Acai Increases Longevity – The Study

The free radical theory states that aging results from oxidative damage that is caused by reactive oxygen species — highly reactive molecules that can damage a multitude of cellular components. Oxidative damage to DNA macromolecules accumulates in cells as an organism ages and is thought to be one of the primary causes of aging. Effective aging mitigation can be achieved by reducing oxidative damage. Animal studies have shown that lifespan is extended through the reduction of oxidative damage.

The January 2010 issue of Experimental Gerontology published a recent study that was the first examination of the Acai berry’s anti-aging potential. The experiment was conducted on the Drosophila melanogaster, otherwise known as the fruit fly. This type of fruit fly is commonly used in biologic experiments because of their rapid reproduction rate and short life span.

Acai Mitigates A High Fat Diet’s Harmful Effects

Given Acai pulp’s strong anti-oxidant activity and the beneficial effects of its phytochemicals – as shown in prior studies – the hypothesis was that Acai should reverse the damage caused by a high fat diet.

Two aging models were established to evaluate the berry’s anti-aging effect. Group one was composed of fruit flies that were fed a high fat diet of a type known to decrease lifespan by 19%. Group two was fed the same high-fat diet, with the additional supplementation of 2% Acai pulp. [2].

The Acai group of fruit flies demonstrated a 22% increase in lifespan when compared to the fruit flies that did not receive the supplement. In effect, the Acai supplement restored the normal lifespan that had been reduced by the high fat diet. In an attempt to identify Acai’s molecular mechanism for lengthening life, the researchers found that there was an increase in the activity of anti-aging genes.

A plethora of diseases can be attributed to consuming a high-fat diet. Type 2 diabetes begins as insulin resistance caused by a high-fat diet. The lead author of the study, Dr. Sun, postulated that the findings suggest that Acai pulp may be effective in preventing and controlling type 2 diabetes.

The study demonstrated that Acai pulp acts as a medicinal food, mitigating the deleterious effects of high-fat diets.

Acai Reverses Oxidative Damage

The investigators hypothesized that Acai pulp would increase the survival rate of flies that were already in a condition of oxidative stress. In order to test their theory, they adopted a model of oxidative stress commonly used in the field of biological aging. The flies used in this model were genetically modified so that their SOD – or superoxide dismutase enzyme – was dysfunctional. SOD is an essential enzyme for the reparation of damage done to cells by free radicals. SOD-modified fruit flies live under constant oxidative stress due to their inability to repair oxidative damage. During the adult lifetime of the fruit flies, they received 2% Acai pulp. The results showed an 18% mean increase of the lifespan of these flies, as compared to the control group, which did not receive the supplement. The findings demonstrated that Acai promotes longevity by alleviating the stress caused by oxidation.

The authors of the study theorized that Acai’s antiaging properties are the result of its high levels of polyphenolics, which make it operate as a free-radical scavenger. Another point of interest was that the effect on the fruit flies due to Acai supplementation paralleled the effect on mice due to supplementation of resveratrol. Another polyphenolic compound that also exhibits anti-aging effects, resveratrol has been shown to extend the lifespan of mice that were fed a high fat diet [3].

Acai’s Health Benefits Extend Beyond Weight Loss

The potential health benefits of Acai berry have been mentioned in more than 20 studies published in peer-reviewed journals. However, this is the first study that used animal models to test Acai’s anti-aging properties. Further studies of Acai’s weight loss effect are ongoing. In the meantime, anecdotal and real-life experience have demonstrated that in addition to imparting general health benefits, the berry may also help shed extra weight.

Given the long-standing recognition of the healthful properties of berries and fruit, Acai should be an important component of all healthy diets that promote weight loss. Acai berry has earned its reputation as a superfood that has the potential to prevent disease and promote human health.

References

1. Anti-angiogenic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties of a novel anthocyanin-rich berry extract formula. Bagchi D. et al. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2004 Jan;69(1):75-80.

2. Açai palm fruit (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp improves survival of flies on a high fat diet. Sun X. et al. Experimental Gerontology 45 (2010) 243–251.

3. Resveratrol delays age-related deterioration and mimics transcriptional aspects of dietary restriction without extending life span. Pearson, K.J., 2008. Cell Metab. 8, 157–168.

Guest Author: About the Author
(Note: If you would like to be a guest author, contact us and let us know what you will be interested in contributing)
Using his background in biology science, Matthew Constas, PhD, enjoys learning and writing about the health potential of berries from South America and their use as part of holist diets and weight loss programs. Matthew maintains a blog at Bistro MD coupon discount.

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