Acai is a berry that has gained immense popularity as a so-called “superfood.”

Proponents of acai berry claim that the fruit provides health benefits for various conditions, including weight loss, prevention against the signs of aging and as a cancer-inhibiting food. Although acai may have some properties that can help lower your risk of cancer, more work needs to be done to determine the effects of acai on your body.


Acai is a purple berry that comes from the acai palm tree, which is native to tropical areas of Central and South America, including the Amazon rainforest. The acai berry is related to blueberries and cranberries. Acai berries can be eaten raw and are often juiced and sold commercially as beverages. Some of the compounds in acai berries, including chemicals known as anthocyanins may be extracted and added to acai supplements.


Acai and Antioxidants

The acai berry is rich in special molecules known as antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body from molecules known as reactive oxygen species. Reactive oxygen species, sometimes called free radicals, are substances that can damage DNA and other structures in your body. DNA damage may cause genetic mutations to occur that change normal cells into cancerous ones. In theory, acai berry may help protect against cancer by virtue of its antioxidant content.

Other Anti-Cancer Effects

Acai extract has also been tested for specific anti-cancer features, aside from its antioxidant content. A 2006 article in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” found that administering an extract from acai berries to human leukemia cell cultures caused the cancerous cells to stop growing and die via a process known as apoptosis, or “cell death.” It is thought that this activity may be due to acai’s ability to send chemical signals to cancer cells that cause them to die. It is not known if these effects also occur in humans, however.


Although acai may reduce your risk of some forms of cancer, its effects in humans still needs study before definitive conclusions can be reached. Acai products are usually expensive and may not provide any benefit. In addition, there is the risk that consuming acai while receiving certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, might inhibit the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Souced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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