Acai Berry Products: Safe and Effective?

The acai berry achieved its great reputation a few years back as being one of several ‘superfruits’ which are loaded with antioxidants.  These compounds are known to have great protective effects against cell damage, keeping cells healthy and delaying chances of developing some types of cancer.  Beyond that, the acai berry itself has no magic healthful properties.

Furthermore, the berry, which is grown in South America, cannot legally be imported into this country (as is true for many breeds of foreign produce).  So in the US we get ‘extracts’ and ‘powders’ and other forms of ‘supplements’ in over-the-counter potions and formulas that tout the wonder of acai berry power, targeting the hopeful buyers who want to lose weight, feel full of energy, cleanse their system of toxins, etc.  Since these extracts are not technically either a drug or a food, the FDA has no regulating power over the development, contents, marketing, or claims of these products.  So far there are no reputable studies that show any beneficial results of any of these products and none of them are FDA approved for ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxing’ or bestowing extra energy upon us.

Cleanses and detoxes are usually products that contain laxatives (some of them rather harsh) and give the feeling of having one’s system ‘purged’ by releasing significant amounts of water via the intestinal tract.  The effects can range from mild discomfort to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, so none of them should be assumed to be safe.  There is no regulation for ingredients or amounts contained within the products.

There is no reason for anyone to have to cleanse their system using herbal products or colonics: your body cleanses itself naturally using your kidneys, liver, intestines and other organs you have for that very purpose.  Cleansing gives the illusion that the system has been flushed because of the sensation of the water lost through the intestinal tract, and the scale will reflect weight loss due to temporary hydration–as soon as you drink a few glasses of water, the scale will tell you that you haven’t lost any permanent weight.

Consider starting a healthier diet that includes fiber to keep your system running normally and to achieve a desirable weight for life.

Image credit: Breno Peck

Laurie Beebe

Laurie Beebe is a registered dietitian with over 25 years of experience. She assists people from all walks of life in changing their diet for better health. Certified in Adult Weight Management, Laurie has transitioned into life coaching to better implement changes in people’s environments. No matter how much people know about what they ‘should’ be doing differently, they don’t alter their habits without making adjustments in their surroundings and their awareness. Coaching helps lead people to permanent changes by helping them set their own goals and design their own action plans. Please visit Laurie’s website for more free nutrition tips, a free monthly newsletter, or more information on coaching, at www.mycoachlaurie.com.

1 thought on “Acai Berry Products: Safe and Effective?

  1. Thanks for the information. I have recently been seeking this information out. I had a bad experience with an Acai Berry vendor who had sold my information to other companies, including my credit card number! I would like to add to anyone wanting to try this product to please purchase from a vitamin or GNC store, do not order it over the internet. Also, people use Oprah’s name ot sell it and sometimes she is really not endorsing their product. Read the fine print. I buy so many things over the internet, i thought it would be a good idea..I was wrong. Secondly, the only point I would like to say that I have heard some convincing arguments otherwise, is about the lack of need for cleansing with herbal products. We ingest a lot more chemicals today than our bodies were designed to handle. Sometimes there can be build up in the intestines along the intestinal wall and healthy, herbal cleansing can help break that up and get things running smoothly. I believe God put a lot of natural things on this earth to help our bodies perform like they should, but we also need to be wary that all things natural are not necessarily beneficial and can even be toxic.

    Thanks again Laurie for a great article. I am by no means as qualified and knowledgeable as you are, all I can speak to is personal experiences. All my best!

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