A study recently conducted at the University of Florida in Gainesville on the properties of an extract of the acai berry produced some surprising results. When exposed to acai berry extract, cancer cells died. These were cancer cells which have proven to be resistant to other treatments. This was the first of many studies planned on the properties of the acai berry in cases of cancer.
When testing leukaemia cells with the extract from this berry, a staggering 86% of the cells self-destructed. Although the benefits of acai berries were already known as a great source of antioxidants, this has been an astounding discovery. An assistant professor at University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Services has confirmed that 86% in not an exaggeration.
There are other fruits that have antioxidants that may be able to kill leukaemia cells. However, all research is preliminary because there have to be other influences factored in the process. Still the percentages are quite impressive.
In Australia, the acai berry has swiftly grown in popularity, as have diets rich in this fruit, noni, goji and mangosteen. One sees a lot of promotions for juices and other products made from these fruits. These fruits, not coincidentally have also been shown to be high in antioxidant content.
A study from March of this year in Brisbane, Australia focused on the differences between the antioxidants sourced from olive leaves and those occurring in these tropical fruits and juices. This study showed some antioxidant properties to be present in olive leaves, but those done on acai berries have been more conclusive in their results.
The most interesting of these studies are, of course, the ones which have been done on fruits and cancer. U.S. researchers are working tirelessly to find a cure for cancer, especially leukaemia. Australia is doing the same in regard to cancer research. Leukaemia is the top disease related cause of death in children aged 20 and younger worldwide. For this reason, leukaemia research is a priority for many nations around the globe.
Because only basic research has been done up to a certain point, more studies are warranted. The acai berries have anywhere from 50 to 75 compounds that have not been established yet. The main reason the berries are so hard to study is that they are very perishable.
The acai berry is roughly the same size as a blueberry and is dark purple when ripe. They contain a single seed and decompose rapidly if not frozen or used straightaway. Since this berry is native to the Amazon River basin, freezing these berries for a long trip is not always a viable option.
To be imported all the way to Australia, acai powder works best. This is produced from acai berries by dehydrating and then freeze-drying acai pulp. Far easier and cheaper to export than are the ripe berries, this powder can then be used in all sorts of nutritional supplements and foods. The powder contains all of the same nutritional and health benefits of the fresh berries.
Although studies are only preliminary for now, the hope that one day leukaemia and other cancers will be cured is still alive. The sad fact is that leukaemia strikes more children than adults. For the children who suffer from this disease, the day that such a cure is found will be a great day indeed.