Monday, July 19, 2010

Blasting cancer cells: Acai Berries as a possible cure?

While Acai Berries have been touted as being everything from an anti-ageing product, to a miracle weight loss aid, the newest research shows that they could be a potential cancer cure. This is just the latest in a series of claims being made about these berries from the Brazilian rainforest, whose recent run in the news has been of interest to scientists, doctors, nutritionists and people looking for aids to weight loss.

The University of Florida’s study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, shows that acai berry extract, when tested on cancer cells, triggered off a destructive cycle which resulted in upto 86% of cells dying. This is truly remarkable, but as the conductors of the study warned, this does not in any way mean that acai berries can instantly be used as either a preventive or curative measure against cancer. Studies such as these are conducted under strict conditions, and can only be considered models of reactions that would hopefully occur in our bodies as well, under similar conditions. Previous studies of other fruits whose antioxidant properties have been exalted, have also yielded similar results in terms of being able to react negatively with cancer cells. However, there is an enormous amount of encouragement to be taken from these results.

Acai berries being a relatively recent phenomenon, especially the availability of berry-based products, there simply has not been sufficient study or research conducted into the many claims being made about the berry’s properties. The acai berry is traditionally found in the floodplain areas of the Amazon river, and usually is used immediately after picking. The effect of preservatives and synthetic additives such as those used in the berry-based products available on the internet is not known. However, the berry has historically been used by Brazilians as a home remedy for digestive and skin disorders.

So while acai berries may definitely have some noteworthy properties, the kind of semi-ambrosial devotion with which they are currently being promoted on the internet is misleading to consumers. Acai berries have not been proven to be miracle weight loss aids, nor are they a cure for cancer, impotence or skin problems. Just like any other fruit or vegetable that provides nutrition, vitamins and whose essential properties are primarily beneficial to the human body upon consumption, acai berries are a good addition to healthy diet and active lifestyle.

And who knows? With all the research that is currently going into investigating acai berry properties, it might just prove to be the wonder food that we’re all being told it is!

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