Antioxidant Benefits from Acai Berries
A recently published study in Experimental Gerontology shows that acai berry prolongs the lifespan of fruit flies which are exposed to oxidative stress. Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine led by Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer, a postdoctoral fellow found that a simple sugar diet with acai supplementation could triple the fruit flies’ life spans, from eight to 24 days.
Furthermore, they also found that acai also protected the flies against oxidative stress brought about by exposure to hydrogen peroxide or paraquat. Paraquat is a pesticide used to kill weeds and has toxic effects on nerve cells that resemble Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat disrupts the flies’ sleep-wake cycles. Acai supplementation helps minimize the effects of paraquat on the flies’ circadian rhythms.
Vrailas-Mortimer explains that their experiment started out by using several other commercially available antioxidant products such as coenzyme Q10, vitamins, and lutein. However, they observed that acai berry products seemed to have the most effects. He also believes that acai not only increased their life spans, it also seemed to keep the flies functioning better under paraquat exposure, suggesting that it may maintain quality of life rather than just prevent them from dying.
Subhabrata Sanyal, assistant professor of cell biology, PhD and colleague of Vrailas-Mortimer, states that acai berries contain a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, like anthocyanins. She believes that in human clinical trials it may be better to take into consideration the components of the fruit together rather than in isolation.
Emory University (2012, August 21). Acai counteracts oxidative stress, lengthens lifespan in fruit flies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2012.