Twelve weeks of consuming 120 ml of the açai juice were associated increases in the antioxidant status of the 14 study participants, and this was correlated with “improvements in physical well-being”, according to findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods.
“The data presented here show a correlation between pain levels and antioxidant status but only a poor or no correlation to lipid peroxidation and [C-reactive protein (CRP), marker of inflammation],” report the researchers, led by Dr Gitte Jensen from Oregon-based NIS Labs.
“We hope that these data will encourage other studies on complex natural products that contain a broader spectrum of polyphenol antioxidants, in terms of effects of consumption on complex issues such as pain perception and cognitive function,” they added.
The study, funded by MonaVie LLC, was performed by researchers from NIS Labs, Oregon-based Cascade Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, and AIBMR Life Sciences.
Super fruits from Central and South America
Açai berries (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) have long formed part of the staple diet of Indian tribes. With the appearance of a purple grape and taste of a tropical berry, it has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties thanks to a high level of anthocyanins, pigments that are also present in red wine.
It is presently being sold in a number of countries, including New Zealand, Australia, South America, Japan, USA, and the Middle East
Dr Jensen and her co-workers recruited 14 older adults with some degree of chronic joint pain to participate in their open-label pilot. The participants received a daily 120 mL açai beverage (MonaVie Active, with açai pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.)) for three months.
At the end of the study, results showed a decline in pain measures, as well as improvements in the range of motion in the spine and other extremities.
Antioxidant levels, measured using NIS Labs’ CAP-e assay, were found to have improved within only two weeks of starting the intervention, said the researchers, and levels “continued to improve throughout the 12 weeks of study participation”, they added.
On the other hand, no statistically significant changes were observed in levels of C-reactive protein, a well-established marker of inflammation.
“The antioxidant status, as measured by the CAP-e, showed the best correlation with improvements in physical health,” wrote the researchers. “Antioxidants as a whole have been scrutinized as of late, mainly because of a meta-analysis of studies involving such vitamins as ascorbic acid and vitamin E–tocopherols.
“It is crucial to separate studies of single antioxidant vitamins from studies involving foods containing complex arrays of polyphenols,” they added.
AIBMR’s Alex Schauss serves as an uncompensated member on MonaVie’s scientific advisory board.
Source: Journal of Medicinal Foods
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0150
“Pain Reduction and Improvement in Range of Motion After Daily Consumption of an Ac¸ai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) Pulp–Fortified Polyphenolic-Rich Fruit and Berry Juice Blend”
Authors: G.S. Jensen, D.M. Ager, K.A. Redman, M.A. Mitzner, K.F. Benson, A.G. Schauss