Is acai effective in the treatment of inflammatory disorders?
Acai berry is a supplement that has recently gained popularity in North America and European
countries. This supplement boasts many health benefits, including weight loss, skincare,
cardiovascular health, and more.2 One benefit is anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, in this poster,
we plan to address the question of “Is acai effective in the treatment of inflammatory disorders?”
Studies had shown evidence that acai was useful for anti-inflammatory properties in a variety of
ways. Components of acai pulp include anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, other flavonoids, and
lignans. These components have been shown to have anti-inflammatory activity in proliferative and
exudative phases of inflammation.6 Additionally, it appeared to inhibit COX-1 and -2 in vitro studies
indicative of its potential anti-inflammatory effect.9 Consumption of acai berries has no reports of
adverse effects and known drug-drug interactions.3 Consequently, there is immense interest in using
acai berries to treat and supplement therapy of inflammatory diseases and conditions.
One example of an inflammatory disorder that was treated with acai is metabolic syndrome. One
study had shown that in patients with metabolic syndrome, drinking an acai beverage reduced key
markers of inflammation, such as interferon-gamma and 8-isoprostane.4 Another study reinforces
the benefit of acai in patients with type 2 diabetes. The polyphenolics from acai decrease damage to
the vascular endothelial cells in humans via lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation.1 Another
inflammatory condition that was improved by acai consumption is wound healing.7 The reduction of
COX enzyme activity promotes anti-inflammation and helps heal wounds.
In another study, acai pulp in a juice mixture was given to study the pain, antioxidant, and
anti-inflammatory effect. The result of the study showed a correlation between pain levels and
antioxidant status, but no statistical significance for decreasing inflammatory marker, C-reactive
protein (CRP), despite a reduction.5 Larger clinical studies will be needed to confirm findings and the
use of acai berry in these areas of treatment.
The “Anti-inflammatory activity of polyphenolics from acai in intestinal myofibroblasts CCD-18Co
cells” study indicates the potential of acai polyphenolics in preventing intestinal inflammation by
partially reversing the effect of LPS-induced in a dose-dependent manner. Acai extracts could
potentially down-regulated LPS-induced mRNA-expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, TNF-α,
cyclooxygenase 2, COX-2, toll-like receptor-4, TLR-4, 12 TNF receptor-associated factor 6, TRAF-6,
NF-κB, VCAM-1, intercellular 14 adhesion molecule 1, and ICAM-1.8 However, the study concluded
that future in vivo studies should be performed to verify the potential of polyphenols from acai in
preventing intestinal inflammation.
In conclusion, compounds from the acai berry can reduce key inflammatory markers in the human
body. This opens up the potential for acai berry extracts to be used to care for patients with
inflammatory disorders and conditions. However, there still needs to be more
randomized-controlled trials in humans to establish efficacy.
1. Noratto, G.D., Angel-Morales, G., Talcott, S.T., Mertens-Talcott, S.U., 2011. Polyphenolics
from Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) and Red Muscadine Grape (Vitis rotundifolia) Protect
Human Umbilical Vascular Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) from Glucose- and Lipopolysaccharide
(LPS)-Induced Inflammation and Target MicroRNA-126. Journal of Agricultural and Food
Chemistry 59, 7999–8012.. doi:10.1021/jf201056x
2. Acai. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acai/ataglance.htm. Accessed August 2, 2021
3. Natural Medicines. (2021, August 2)). Acai [monograph].
4. Kim H , Simbo SY , Fang C , et al. Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) beverage consumption
improves biomarkers for inflammation but not glucose- or lipid-metabolism in individuals
with metabolic syndrome in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Food Funct. 2018 Jun 20;9(6):3097-3103. doi: 10.1039/c8fo00595h. PMID: 29850709.
5. Jensen GS, Ager DM, Redman KA, Mitzner MA, Benson KF, Schauss AG. Pain reduction and
improvement in range of motion after daily consumption of an açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.)
pulp-fortified polyphenolic-rich fruit and berry juice blend. J Med Food.
6. Kang, J., Xie, C., Li, Z., et al. (2011). Flavonoids from acai (euterpe OLERACEA MART.) pulp
and their antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory activities. Food Chemistry, 128(1), 152–157.
7. Xiong J , Matta FV , Grace M , Lila MA , Ward NI , Felipe-Sotelo M , et al. Phenolic content,
anti-inflammatory properties, and dermal wound repair properties of industrially processed
and non-processed acai from the Brazilian Amazon. Food Funct. 2020;11(6):4903–14.
8. Dias MM, Martino HS, Noratto G, Roque-Andrade A, Stringheta PC, Talcott S, Ramos AM,
Mertens-Talcott SU. Anti-inflammatory activity of polyphenolics from açai (Euterpe oleracea
Martius) in intestinal myofibroblasts CCD-18Co cells. Food Funct. 2015 Oct;6(10):3249-56.
doi: 10.1039/c5fo00278h. PMID: 26243669.