Anthocyanins In Acai Berry
T he anthocyanins are the primary group of phytonutrients in the acai berry.(1) To begin with, anthocyanins are water soluble pigments that may appear as blue, purple or red, depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the medium in which they occur.(2) They are generally odorless and almost flavorless compounds that occur in all tissues of higher plants.(3) They belong to a higher class of molecules called flavonoids, which are a subclass of plant polyphenols that have antioxidant
Fruits such as the acai berry that are exposed to direct sunlight receive high levels of ultraviolet (UV) light. This UV light induces the production of free radicals in the fruit. In order to eliminate the harmful free radicals, fruits produce high levels of anthocyanins because they have potent antioxidant properties.(5) They act as a natural sunscreen for plants while the vibrant colors they exude aid in the spreading of seeds.(6) Animals are enticed to eat attractive-looking foods, thereby promoting pollination. More importantly, the antioxidant properties of anthocyanins remain even after they are consumed by another organism. This is precisely the reason why fruits with bright pigmentation tend to have high ORAC values - they are essentially packed with anthocyanins.(7) There is a particularly high concentration of naturally occurring anthocyanins in the acai berry. In fact, acai berry is one of the richest natural sources of anthocyanins and powerful antioxidants. The most abundant anthocyanins in acai berry are cyanidin-3-rutinoside and cyanidin-3-glucoside (also known as kuromanin),(8) but it contains a host of others as well.
Cyanidin-3-glucoside or C-3-G, is the main anthocyanin in acai berry.(9) Studies have shown that it has the ability to prevent oxidative damage to blood fats, one of the early factors in the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases.(10) The degree of antioxidant protection afforded by C-3-G has been found to be a lot higher than vitamin C or reservatrol, the main antioxidant responsible for the beneficial health properties of red wine.(11) This type of anthocyanin in acai berry is also an effective oxygen free-radical scavenger.
Anthocyanins are widely consumed by humans and it had been estimated that that the average daily intake is about 180 mg, coming mainly from fruits. A plethora of health benefits have been associated with anthocyanins, and these were established and proven through a number of recent studies and research.
(1) Engineered Lifestyles - Phytonutrients