Controlling the global obesity epidemic

The challenge

At the other end of the malnutrition scale, obesity is one of today’s most blatantly visible – yet most neglected – public health problems. Paradoxically coexisting with undernutrition, an escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity – “globesity” – is taking over many parts of the world. If immediate action is not taken, millions will suffer from an array of serious health disorders.

Obesity is a complex condition, one with serious social and psychological dimensions, that affects virtually all age and socioeconomic groups and threatens to overwhelm both developed and developing countries. In 1995, there were an estimated 200 million obese adults worldwide and another 18 million under-five children classified as overweight. As of 2000, the number of obese adults has increased to over 300 million. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; in developing countries, it is estimated that over 115 million people suffer from obesity-related problems.

Generally, although men may have higher rates of overweight, women have higher rates of obesity. For both, obesity poses a major risk for serious diet-related noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. Its health consequences range from increased risk of premature death to serious chronic conditions that reduce the overall quality of life.

The response: making healthy choices easy choices

WHO began sounding the alarm in the 1990s, spearheading a series of expert and technical consultations. Public awareness campaigns were also initiated to sensitize policy-makers, private sector partners, medical professionals and the public at large. Aware that obesity is predominantly a “social and environmental disease”, WHO is helping to develop strategies that will make healthy choices easier to make. In collaboration with the University of Sydney (Australia), WHO is calculating the worldwide economic impact of overweight and obesity. It is also working with the University of Auckland (New Zealand) to analyse the impact that globalization and rapid socioeconomic transition have on nutrition and to identify the main political, socioeco-nomic, cultural and physical factors which promote obesogenic environments.

Studies of gene variants related to inflammation, oxidative stress, dyslipidemia, and obesity: implications for a nutrigenetic approach.


Obesity is currently considered a serious public health issue due to its strong impact on health, economy, and quality of life. It is considered a chronic low-grade inflammation state and is directly involved in the genesis of metabolic disturbances, such as insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, which are well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, there is evidence that genetic variation that predisposes to inflammation and metabolic disturbances could interact with environmental factors, such as diet, modulating individual susceptibility to developing these conditions. This paper aims to review the possible interactions between diet and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes implicated on the inflammatory response, lipoprotein metabolism, and oxidative status. Therefore, the impact of genetic variants of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-(PPAR-)gamma, tumor necrosis factor-(TNF-)alpha, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, apolipoprotein (Apo) A1, Apo A2, Apo A5, Apo E, glutathione peroxidases 1, 2, and 4, and selenoprotein P exposed to variations on diet composition is described.

Curti ML, Jacob P, Borges MC, Rogero MM, Ferreira SR.

The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview


This paper discusses the effects of curcumin on patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Curcumin (Turmeric), an ancient Indian herb used in curry powder, has been extensively studied in modern medicine and Indian systems of medicine for the treatment of various medical conditions, including cystic fibrosis, haemorrhoids, gastric ulcer, colon cancer, breast cancer, atherosclerosis, liver diseases and arthritis. It has been used in various types of treatments for dementia and traumatic brain injury. Curcumin also has a potential role in the prevention and treatment of AD. Curcumin as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipophilic action improves the cognitive functions in patients with AD. A growing body of evidence indicates that oxidative stress, free radicals, beta amyloid, cerebral deregulation caused by bio-metal toxicity and abnormal inflammatory reactions contribute to the key event in Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Due to various effects of curcumin, such as decreased Beta-amyloid plaques, delayed degradation of neurons, metal-chelation, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and decreased microglia formation, the overall memory in patients with AD has improved.

Shrikant Mishra and Kalpana Palanivelu

Equine estrogens impair nitric oxide production and endothelial nitric oxide synthase transcription in human endothelial cells compared with the natural 17{beta}-estradiol.


Conjugated equine estrogen therapy is the most common hormone replacement strategy used to treat postmenopausal women. However, the ability of an individual conjugated equine estrogen to modulate NO production and, therefore, to induce cardiovascular protection is largely unknown. The effects of equine and naturally occurring estrogens on NO generation were evaluated in human aortic endothelial cells by measuring in vivo NO production, as well as NO synthase (eNOS) activity and expression. The transcriptional activity on the eNOS gene was determined by the ability of estrogen receptors (alpha and beta) to activate the eNOS promoter and induce transcription. Docking and molecular dynamics simulations were used to study structural features of the interaction between estrogenic compounds and estrogen receptor-alpha. After 24 hours of incubation, we found that estrone upregulated NO production almost as effectively as estradiol by increasing eNOS activity and expression. However, the effect of equine estrogens (equilin, equilenin, and their metabolites) were marked decreased. eNOS promoter activity by equine estrogens was 30% to 50% lower than the naturally occurring estrogens. Computational analysis of estrogen molecules revealed that position 17 and the saturation of estrogenic compounds in ring B are important determinants for estrogen receptor-alpha transcriptional activity. Equine estrogens increase NO production less effectively than naturally occurring estrogens, partially because of their lesser ability to activate the eNOS promoter and induce transcription. Differences in NO production by different estrogens may account for the differences in cardiovascular benefits achieved by the distinct estrogen replacement therapies.

Novensa L, Selent J, Pastor M, Sandberg K, Heras M, Dantas AP.

Nobel Laureate Endorses Biomedical Intervention at Autism One Conference, 2012

This Year’s Autism One conference (held over 5 days in Chicago as always) was as large and impressive as ever with 8 tracks, 126 speakers and over a thousand parents and professionals racing to 172 lectures on treatments that have the potential to recover their children from Autism.

This year was especially noteworthy as it featured French Nobel Laureate Dr Luc Montagnier, who won a Nobel prize in 2008 for co-discovering HIV. Monsieur Montagnier presented clinical findings from his French team who has found Autism to be treatable and language and socialisation gains to be profound by treating bacterial infections in a responsive subset of Autistic children. Another eminent scientist, Australia’s own Professor Tom Borody, lectured on Gastro Intestinal Microbiota and Regressive Autism drawing on his considerable expertise to make the connection between gut bugs, brain function and cognitive regression. The scientific endorsement from 2 world-renowned scientists represents a significant step forward for the Biomedical movement!

Even more encouraging, was that these respected scientists and hundreds more scientists and physicians had a strong education in the multi-system approach to a multi-factorial disorder from the world’s top Biomedical/ASD scientists including; Dr Martha Herbert on Mainstreaming Biomed: Why and How, Dick Deith PhD on Redox & Methylation in the Gut, Brain & Immune System; Dr Arthur Krigsman on Autistic Enterocolitis; Dr Richard Frye on Neurological Abnormalities and Seizures in Autism; Dr Anju Usman on The Autonomic Nervous System, Hormones and Stress; Dr Kyle Van Dyke on Oxidative Stress, Mitochondrial Hormesis and Hyperbaric Therapy in Autism; William Walsh PhD on An Epigenetic Model of Autism; Anat Baniel on Linking Powerful Pathways to Harness the Potential of the Brain; Dr John Hicks on Biofilms, Bugs and Bowels; Dr Dan Rossignol on Cerebral Folate Auto-Antibodies in Autism; Dr David Berger on Environmental and Nutritional Strategies for Lowering the Risk of Autism; Dr Jeff Bradstreet on Are Stem Cells the Future of Autism Biomedical Therapies?

Another exciting development is the formation of MAPS, the Medical Advisory for Pediatric Special needs, spearheaded by Dr Dan Rossignol and Dr David Berger. MAPS will offer a certification and fellowship to licensed practitioners worldwide. Within their curriculum will be a strong evidence-based approach and a rating system that ranks treatments based on research to date. Mindd Foundation will be providing the MAPS training in Australia and New Zealand as of May 2013 (see MAPS article in this newsletter).

Autism One fittingly opened with Culinary Day, an entire day dedicated to lectures on the importance of diet as part of the Biomedical treatment program. Speakers emphasized the need for a nutrient-dense, no additive, low GI, low grain and casein/gluten/soy/corn –free diet and covered the key diets; Casein/Gluten-Free, Specific Carbohydrate, GAPS, Body Ecology and Weston Price. Most importantly they showed parents how to make nutrient-rich foods their kids will eat.

More “alternative treatments” were also presented at Autism One with very impressive anecdotal reporting including lectures on MMS in the treatment of infections; fermented foods in providing long-term beneficial gut flora; hyperbaric in improving socialisation and reducing inflammation; homeopathy in supporting the body’s ability to heal; Osteopathy in treating seizures and much more…

The treatment of Down Syndrome had a significant presence with many of the experienced Autism clinicians presenting on effective biomedical treatments for DS patients of all ages. These Biomedical doctors and scientists have found the principles of improving cellular health through digestive and metabolic support to be very effective not only in neuro-developmental disorders but in a range of illness including allergies, asthma, auto-immune disease, depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes and much more…

Other noteworthy happenings at Autism One include a strong show by dads who this year more than ever took copious notes, chased down specialists, attended several dad-focused lectures and mingled at a beer & pizza night.

While the numerous and complex lectures at Autism One can be intimidating, especially to newer parents, the information offers hope and helps strengthen their resolve to comply with the diet, supplement, medical and lifestyle regimes that have significantly improved the lives of tens of thousands of children worldwide.

In an effort to make the information more accessible to delegates, the conference offered a very successful Q & A session featuring 4 of the world’s top Biomedical physicians and 3 experienced Biomedical mums. This standing room only event was a HUGE success allowing very important information exchange to happen.

This coming together of parents, patients and practitioners is at the heart of the Biomedical and Integrative movements. As one of the Biomedical doctors on the panel emphasised; “it’s the information from parents that has lead us to our most important treatments.”
The Mindd Forum, 17-20 May, 2013 will feature several key speakers from Autism One including MAPS Founding Director, Dr Dan Rossignol, Dr Martha Herbert, PhD, Harvard University and Anat Baniel who will speak on neuroplasticity and brain repair.

Superfoods – Berries & Other Fruits

By Frances Dalton Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist

Adding more salads and vegetables to your child’s diet is important for restoring or maintaining health, however there is mounting concern about the quality of our food. Soils are becoming depleted of essential minerals, the use of farming practices like factory farming, the emergence of genetic modification & the heavy use of pesticides, herbicides & antibiotics mean that good food may not be enough. (I highly recommend “The Great Food Gamble” by John Humphrys if you would like to read more on this topic) With this in mind, the inclusion of Superfoods in the diet is a wise choice. Superfoods are nutritionally more potent than regular foods. Superfoods are the most powerful nutrient-dense foods on the planet thus they are powerhouses in any healing program. Superfoods provide nutrients in the form of phytonutrients that cannot be provided with synthetic supplements alone. These phytonutrients serve to activate phase II liver detoxification, reduce lactic acid & support mitochondrial (cellular energy) function & immune function

This article gives a brief overview of another terrific group of Superfoods – Berries & Superfruits known for their antioxidant potential, followed by a few recipes to give you some ideas on ways to incorporate them into your child’s diet.

Free radicals may sound a little like an extremist terrorist group evading capture and wreaking havoc across the globe & in fact within the context of your body you would be right. They occur naturally through normal metabolism however an extra and unnecessary free radical load can be put on our bodies by external factors including pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation, heavy metals, burnt & deep fried foods & by internal factors like inflammation. The body works to combat this oxidative stress with antioxidants like the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), Glutathione (GSH) & catalase to name a few as well as other antioxidant molecules like Vitamins A, C & E, transferrin, ceruloplasmin & carotenoids. There is mounting evidence that children with Autism & allergies have high levels of oxidative stress – lots of free radicals with inadequate antioxidant capacity. Additionally, antioxidant support is imperative during any detoxification program which is part of the treatment program for most of these children. Detoxification requires liver & antioxidant support. Interestingly “Many of the enzymes in the methylation cycle are down-regulated in response to oxidative stress, so if it’s high it could be one cause of methylation issues in autistic children” (Jepson).
The best way to improve your child’s antioxidant capacity & combat the free radicals in the system is to increase intake of foods with high antioxidant properties. When antioxidants react with free radicals their destructive properties are eliminated. Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemicals in foods. They include vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids such as beta-carotene, some minerals, phenolic compounds and other naturally occurring chemicals found in fruit, vegetable & nuts. Superfoods are not only nutrient dense but have very high antioxidant properties with Berries being star performers in this category.


All Berries including strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, cloudberry, blackberry & blackcurrant are very high in antioxidants. For example, one strawberry is higher in Vitamin C than one orange. Berries contain many phytonutrients that boost the immune system. Best of all, berries have a low glycaemic index (GI) which means they create sustained slow releasing energy as opposed to creating a spike in your blood sugar levels. Being low in sugars means they are less likely than some fruits to cause issues in those dealing with yeast and bacterial overgrowth.

Goji Berries – Goji berries also known as wolfberries, are grown on vines in the protected valleys of Inner Mongolia and Tibet. The distinctively flavoured red berries are a very rich source of Vitamin C, having 500 times more Vitamin C per ounce than oranges. They are a superb source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E and contain a full complement of protein with 18 amino acids including the 8 essential amino acids and 21 trace minerals including zinc, calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorus & germanium. Most of all they are an excellent antioxidant, containing more beta-carotene than carrots, making them an ideal natural whole food for reversing aging and protecting against disease.

Acai Berries
Açai (pronounced “ah-sigh-ee”) is a natural & powerful antioxidant. Acai berries come from a type of palm tree that grows in tropical & central South America & have long been a main staple in the diet of tribes within the Amazon. The Acai berry boasts a complete complement of nutrients. For centuries the people of the Amazon have revered the Acai berry for its unique nutritional properties. Their tribal healers used Acai to promote health & longevity & their warriors consumed it as a source of strength, energy & vitality. Recently the remarkable health benefits of Acai have been validated by modern science. The high content of anthocyanin’s in Acai gives the berry it’s dark & vibrant colour & is the main reason for its antioxidant activity. Based on USDA data, freeze dried acai has a higher antioxidant activity on a gram for gram basis than any other known fruit or vegetable with six times the antioxidant capacity as blueberries & approximately 30 times the anthocyanins in red wine.

Acai berries are also full of amino acids & essential fatty acids. Acai also contains phytosterols which reduce blood plasma cholesterol. Acai has high levels of calcium, vitamin E, phosphorus, iron & fibre.

Acai contains:

– Essential Fatty Acids (Omegas 6 & 9)
– Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E & flavonoids
– Minerals (Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus, Calcium)
– Phytosterols (cholesterol busting)
– 19 Amino Acids (proteins)
– Fibre (30+%)
– Trace elements (chromium, cobalt, molybdenum) Polyphenols (free radical scavenging)

In addition to its nutritional properties, Acai has antibacterial & anti-inflammatory properties. In scientific tests Acai has been shown to stimulate the activity of macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells that are an important part of the body’s immune system – they actually swallow & destroy foreign objects & pathogens. Acai extract was found to inhibit the inflammatory action of certain types of bacteria in the body & the more Acai that was used the greater the effect.

Freeze dried Acai berry powder can be added to smoothies & deserts. Be sure to buy from a reputable supplier.

Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree with deep reddish purple fruit which is sweet with a hint of citrus & peach flavours & a creamy texture. A number of laboratory & animal studies show that mangosteen has significant anti-inflammatory effects & is high in Vitamin C & beta-carotene. Mangosteen also contains xanthione extracts (garcinol & mangostin) which are anti-inflammatory agents with preliminary evidence for inhibiting carcinogens. Mangosteen also has antioxidant, antibacterial & antifungal properties.

Pomegranate is classed as a berry & has been used as a food for many thousands of years & is popular is the Middle East & Turkey. It is a red fruit which is full of seeds covered in the flesh of the fruit. There are approximately 600 seeds in each pomegranate. Pomegranate is rich in Vitamin C, B5, potassium & antioxidant polyphenols.

Australian Indigenous fruits are currently causing a lot of interest worldwide due to their dense antioxidant capacity & potentially bioactive phytochemicals. Below is a brief summary of three of these Australian Native Superfoods.

Kakadu plum is a native Australian superfruit that is not actually a plum but more closely related to almonds. Kakadu plum is the world’s highest fruit source of Vitamin C. Additionally, research by the CSIRO shows it has other nutritionally important polyphenolic antioxidant compounds. Two of the phytochemicals in Kakadu plums are gallic & ellagic acids, both have excellent antioxidant properties.
Gallic acid has antibacterial, anti-viral activity & also shows anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-mutagenic & anti-bronchodilatory activities. Ellagic acid also has anti-cancer effects against a wide range of damaging compounds. Kakadu plum is available as a freeze dried powder that can be added to smoothies etc.

Wild Rosella is the modified leaf or calyce of the native hibiscus plant. These fruits are a deep rich red with a slightly tart citrus like taste. Wild Rosella contain appreciable levels of anthocyanins & antioxidant activity.

Another Australian native superfood. Illawarra Plums contain high levels of mucopolysaccharides which are hugely beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract health. Deep crimson colour indicates high anthocyanins & Illawarra plums have an antioxidant activity up to 7 times that of blueberries.


Berries & fruits are easy to add to smoothies, deserts or sauces but here are a few simple delicious recipes to get you started.

GFCF Berry Ice Cream with Raw Chocolate Sauce
Serves 4
3 frozen bananas
1 1/2 cups of frozen mixed berries
1 vanilla pod or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tsp Acai powder
1 tablespoon agave or 1/4 teaspoon stevia to sweeten
2 tablespoons of tahini (sesame seed paste)
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup of warm water
1/2 cup ice
1. Blend the bananas, mixed berries, honey and vanilla in a high speed blender.
2. For the sauce, mix all ingredients except for the ice in a high speed blender. Add the ice only when a creamy consistency is formed.
3. Serve the ice cream in bowls and pour sauce over the top.

Chia Power Porridge
1/2 cup Chia seeds
2 cups Nut milk or water
1 tbsp Goji berries
1 tbsp Sultanas
1 tbsp Pumpkin seeds (soaked 4 hours)
1/4 cup Water
1 tbsp Cinnamon powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
Place all ingredients into a saucepan & stir over low heat for 10 mins. Place in serving bowl & Top with fresh grated apple or pear.

Goji Chocolate fudge
1/2 cup cacao cocoa butter
1/2 cup raw cashew butter or ground up cashews
1/2 cup goji berries ground up
1/2 cup agave nectar or sweetener of choice
1/2 cup goji berries soaked overnight
Zest from 1 orange.
Place all ingredients into a food processor except zest & soaked goji berries. Place mixture into a pretty bowl & mix in the soaked goji berries & orange zest. Chill in the fridge to set. Garnish with orange zest, cacao nibs or nuts. Cut in small squares as this fudge is very rich.

Blueberry Smoothie
2 cups wild blueberries (these are smaller & tarter than standard blueberries & have a red centre)
2 bananas 2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup shredded coconut.
Blend & serve.

Blueberry bliss
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1 banana
1 or 2 cups of fresh blueberries.
Blend & serve (add water if too thick)

Raspberry bliss
1 cup raspberries
1 banana
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp Acai powder
2 cups almond milk
agave syrup or sweetener of choice to taste.
Blend & Serve.

2 cups almond milk
1 tsp Raw mangosteen powder
1 tsp acai powder
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
Cacao nibs
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
Blend & serve.

These delicious iceblocks are rich in vitamin C to boost the immune function & help soothe a the mucus membranes in the throat.
1 cup blackcurrants
1 cup strawberries
1 cup apple juice (freshly juiced is best – store bought juices are pasteurised which means many enzymes & heat sensitive vitamins are lost)
Blend until smooth & pour into iceblock moulds. Freeze.

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.


Dietary interventions involving antioxidants are of interest for reducing inflammation, improving joint motion, and altering pain perception. We evaluated the effect of oral consumption of a fruit and berry blend on pain and range of motion (ROM). This open-label clinical pilot study involved 14 study participants with limitations in ROM that was associated with pain and affected daily living. Participants included but were not limited to those with age-related osteoarthritis. Study participants consumed 120 mL MonaVie Active® fruit juice, predominantly containing açai pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) and other fruit concentrates, daily for 12 weeks. Study participants were assessed at baseline and 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks by structured nurse interviews, pain and activities of daily living (ADL) questionnaires, blood samples, and ROM assessment. Pain was scored by using a visual analogue scale. ROM was assessed by using dual digital inclinometry as recommended by American Medical Association guidelines. Consumption of the juice resulted in significant pain reduction, improved ROM measures, and improvement in ADLs. Serum antioxidant status, as monitored by the cell-based antioxidant protection in erythrocytes (CAP-e) assay, was improved within 2 weeks and continued to improve throughout the 12 weeks of study participation (P<.01). The inflammatory marker C-reactive protein was reduced at 12 weeks, but this change did not reach statistical significance. Lipid peroxidation decreased mildly at 12 weeks. The antioxidant status, as measured by the CAP-e bioassay, showed the best correlation with improvements in physical well-being (pain, ROM, and ADL). The significant association among increased antioxidant status, improved ROM, and pain reduction warrants further study. Jensen GS, Ager DM, Redman KA, Mitzner MA, Benson KF, Schauss AG.

Nasal Acai polysaccharides potentiate innate immunity to protect against pulmonary Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei Infections.


Pulmonary Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei infections are highly lethal in untreated patients, and current antibiotic regimens are not always effective. Activating the innate immune system provides an alternative means of treating infection and can also complement antibiotic therapies. Several natural agonists were screened for their ability to enhance host resistance to infection, and polysaccharides derived from the Acai berry (Acai PS) were found to have potent abilities as an immunotherapeutic to treat F. tularensis and B. pseudomallei infections. In vitro, Acai PS impaired replication of Francisella in primary human macrophages co-cultured with autologous NK cells via augmentation of NK cell IFN-γ. Furthermore, Acai PS administered nasally before or after infection protected mice against type A F. tularensis aerosol challenge with survival rates up to 80%, and protection was still observed, albeit reduced, when mice were treated two days post-infection. Nasal Acai PS administration augmented intracellular expression of IFN-γ by NK cells in the lungs of F. tularensis-infected mice, and neutralization of IFN-γ ablated the protective effect of Acai PS. Likewise, nasal Acai PS treatment conferred protection against pulmonary infection with B. pseudomallei strain 1026b. Acai PS dramatically reduced the replication of B. pseudomallei in the lung and blocked bacterial dissemination to the spleen and liver. Nasal administration of Acai PS enhanced IFN-γ responses by NK and γδ T cells in the lungs, while neutralization of IFN-γ totally abrogated the protective effect of Acai PS against pulmonary B. pseudomallei infection. Collectively, these results demonstrate Acai PS is a potent innate immune agonist that can resolve F. tularensis and B. pseudomallei infections, suggesting this innate immune agonist has broad-spectrum activity against virulent intracellular pathogens.

Skyberg JA, Rollins MF, Holderness JS, Marlenee NL, Schepetkin IA, Goodyear A, Dow SW, Jutila MA, Pascual DW.

Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai).


The fruit of Euterpe oleraceae, commonly known as acai, has been demonstrated to exhibit significantly high antioxidant capacity in vitro, especially for superoxide and peroxyl scavenging, and, therefore, may have possible health benefits. In this study, the antioxidant capacities of freeze-dried acai fruit pulp/skin powder (OptiAcai) were evaluated by different assays with various free radical sources. It was found to have exceptional activity against superoxide in the superoxide scavenging (SOD) assay, the highest of any food reported to date against the peroxyl radical as measured by the oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay with fluorescein as the fluorescent probe (ORACFL), and mild activity against both the peroxynitrite and hydroxyl radical by the peroxynitrite averting capacity (NORAC) and hydroxyl radical averting capacity (HORAC) assays, respectively. The SOD of acai was 1614 units/g, an extremely high scavenging capacity for O2*-, by far the highest of any fruit or vegetable tested to date. Total phenolics were also tested as comparison. In the total antioxidant (TAO) assay, antioxidants in acai were differentiated into “slow-acting” and “fast-acting” components. An assay measuring inhibition of reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in freshly purified human neutrophils showed that antioxidants in acai are able to enter human cells in a fully functional form and to perform an oxygen quenching function at very low doses. Furthermore, other bioactivities related to anti-inflammation and immune functions were also investigated. Acai was found to be a potential cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 inhibitor. It also showed a weak effect on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide but no effect on either lymphocyte proliferation and phagocytic capacity.

Schauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, Ou B, Huang D, Owens J, Agarwal A, Jensen GS, Hart AN, Shanbrom E.