The health benefits of rare and exotic berries and fruits is starting to become much more commonly recognized by the general public. In fact, they have caught the attention of many prestigious organizations and are being studied quite extensively throughout the world. Most people in North America probably didn’t even know what Acai berries, Mangosteen fruit or Goji berries were until this century when they took the supplement industry by storm. To some of the skeptics the marketing pitch sounded like it was too good to be true. While some of that definitely played a part in the promotion of various superfoods, the facts are well established that certain berries and fruits grown in other parts of the world possess an amazing profile of antioxidants and phytonutrient compounds that when harvested and used properly, can make a dramatic impact on your state of health.
Thanks to the recent advancements in nutritional science the technology exists that allows us to identify and obtain the most beneficial properties of these fruits and berries so they can be used in dietary supplements. Extensive research has been conducted in order to identify what makes these super foods so special.
Recently, our partnered sponsor 7 Lights Nutrition, in an effort to provide their client base with an all-in-one dietary supplement containing an impressive array of super fruits and berries, introduced Super Berry Complex. This formula was custom designed to contain a concentrated blend of five elite berries and super fruits along with Green Tea Leaf making it one of the most impressive antioxidant supplements on the market.
Each berry was selected because of its high ranking ORAC value and phytonutrient properties. Every ingredient contains amazing benefits individually. However, when taken all together in combination we believe this formula offers a significant synergistic effect that makes them all work even better. Here’s what you will find in this exciting new product: Acai Berry, Mangosteen Fruit, Goji Berry, Pomegranate, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Grape Seed Extract, Grape Skin Extract.
Acai Berry is regarded as one of the most beneficial and unique superfoods that we know of. Acai berries grow abundantly on the Acai palm tree mainly found in Central and South America. Acai berries look very similar to blueberries, except they contain even higher levels of antioxidants than raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
While Acai berries have only recently made significant inroads to the North American nutritional market, they have been regarded and consumed for thousands of years in areas where they grow predominantly. In a study of three traditional Caboclo populations in the Brazilian Amazon, Açai palm was described as the most important plant species because the fruit makes up a major component of their diet, up to 42% of the total food intake by weight. (1)
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) values measuring the antioxidant power of acai fruit pulp/skin powder reportedly have the highest ORAC value among fruits and vegetables, or 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes. (2)
They also contain anthocyanin compounds such as resveratrol and cyaniding and ferulic acid, which not only give fruits and vegetables their distinct color, but also team up with flavonoids to defend the body against harmful free radicals. In fact, acai berries contain 10 to 30 times more anthocyanin power than red wine. (3)
Regular consumption of Acai Berry can exhibit several health benefits because it prevents oxidative damage in the human body. The anthocyanin contained in Acai berries prevents the action of free radicals in the body thereby ensuring maximum cellular protection. Here are just some of the things Acai is known to help with.
- Heart Health
- Resistant to Harmful Organisms
- Aids Weight Loss
- Promotes Skin Health
- Helps Digestion
- Reduces Irritation
- Improved Cellular Health
- Immune Booster
- Energy Booster
- Increased Blood Circulation
- Improved Mental Function (4)
The purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as mangosteen, is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. It grows mainly in Southeast Asia, southwest India and other tropical areas such as Puerto Rico and Florida, where the tree has been introduced. The tree grows from 19.7 to 82.0 feet tall. The fruit of the mangosteen is sweet and tangy, juicy, somewhat fibrous, with fluid-filled vesicles (like the flesh of citrus fruits). (5)
The potassium content helps control heart rate and regulate blood pressure, which in turn aids in stroke and coronary heart disease prevention. Healthy amounts of manganese and magnesium are also present, and new research suggests that xanthones – a powerful antioxidant found almost exclusively in mangosteen – have properties that fight pain, allergies, infections, skin disorders, and fatigue while supporting intestinal health.
Mangosteen’s vitamin C content is another advantage, providing the body with a water-soluble (easily absorbed) antioxidant, while staving off infections and scavenging harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and folate help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. (6)
The diverse structure and chemical properties of xanthones have been reported to have a variety of health promoting properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer activity. The chemical structure of a xanthone consists of a three ring system which contains several different functional groups including isoprene, methoxy, and phenyl groups as well as aromatic protons, phenolic hydroxyl groups, hydroxyl protons, and dihydrofuran rings (Shan et al., 2011). Xanthones can be classified into several groups including simple oxygenated xanthones, prenylated xanthones, xanthone glycosides, and xanthonolignoids based on these substituents.
To date, more than 60 different xanthones have been isolated from the mangosteen pericarp, bark, and roots including α-Mangostin, γ-Mangostin, gartanin, 8-deoxygartanin, and 9-hydroxycalabaxanthone (Obolskiy et al., 2009). A wide variety of pharmacological activities have been associated with the fruit and more specifically the individual xanthones therein have been shown to target multiple signaling pathways. Among the xanthones, α-Mangostin is the most abundant and is also one of the most studied xanthones due to its potential therapeutic properties. (7)
According to Jodi Helmer, the author of Goji Berries: Antioxidant Supreme, goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamins A, C and E. In fact, the goji berry contains approximately 500 times more vitamin C per weight than an orange and considerably more beta-carotene than carrots. These findings are reinforced by the goji berries’ high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score of 3,290, which shows that they contain much larger concentrations of antioxidants than most other fruits. Since antioxidants help neutralize the cell-damaging effects of free radicals, eating more antioxidant-rich foods like goji berries can help guard us from degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and most types of cancer.
Though goji berries are best-known for their antioxidant activity, they also contain an impressive number of vitamins and minerals. According to Paul Gross in his report, The Top 20 Superfruits, a quarter cup of goji berries contains 11 essential vitamins and 22 trace minerals, including 24 percent of our RDI of potassium, 18 percent of our RDI of zinc and a whopping 100 percent of our RDI of iron, copper and riboflavin. They also contain 8 polysaccharides, a primary source of dietary fiber. (8)
Accumulating data clearly claimed that Punica granatum L. (pomegranate) has several health benefits. Pomegranates can help prevent or treat various disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, hyperglycemia, and inflammatory activities. It is demonstrated that certain components of pomegranate such as polyphenols have potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic effects. The antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice is more than that of red wine and green tea, which is induced through ellagitannins and hydrosable tannins. Pomegranate juice can reduce macrophage oxidative stress, free radicals, and lipid peroxidation. (9)
There are two unique substances in pomegranates that are responsible for most of their health benefits.
Punicalagins are extremely powerful antioxidants found in the juice and peel of a pomegranate. They are so powerful that pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea. Pomegranate extract and powder is typically made from the peel, due to its high antioxidant and punicalagin content.
Punicic acid, also known as pomegranate seed oil, is the main fatty acid in the arils. It is a type of conjugated linoleic acid with potent biological effects. (10)
Pomegranates contain three types of antioxidant polyphenols, including tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, in significant amounts. Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). (11)
In both laboratory and clinical studies, pomegranate shows great promise in averting the numerous pathological changes associated with cardiovascular disease. Scientists believe pomegranate works through several mechanisms to fight cardiovascular disease by:
- reducing oxidative stress
- supporting the synthesis and activity of nitric oxide
- inhibiting the oxidation of potentially harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein). (12)
Grape Skin Extract
Grape is a phenol-rich plant, and these phenolics are mainly distributed in the skin, stem, leaf and seed of grape, rather than their juicy middle sections.
The compounds mainly included proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, flavonols, flavanols, resveratrols and phenolic acids. Proanthocyanidins are the major phenolic compounds in grape seed and skin of grape.
Recently, growing interests on phenolic compounds from grapes have focused on their biological activities linking to human health benefits, such as antioxidant, cardioprotective, anticancer, anti-inflammation, antiaging and antimicrobial properties.
Being most the notable bioactivity of phenolic compounds from grapes, the antioxidative characteristics have been widely studied, including scavenging of free radicals, inhibition of lipid oxidation, reduction of hydroperoxide formation, and so on
In different parts of grape, the highest antioxidant capacity was found in grape seeds, followed by skin, and the flesh displayed the lowest antioxidant capacity. Therefore, the extracts from grape seeds are a promising antioxidant for dietary supplement.
Grape and products from grape have been consumed for a long time. The studies have demonstrated an inverse association between intake of grape and products from grape and mortality from age-related diseases such as coronary heart diseases. The health benefits of grapes are thought to arise mainly from bioactivities of their polyphenols. Anthocyanins, flavonoids and resveratrol are the major functional components that are responsible for most of biological activities of grape. The grape and its main components anthocyanins, flavonoids and resveratrol have a variety of bioactivities, such as antioxidant, cardioprotective, anticancer, anti-inflammation, antiaging and antimicrobial activities, which are closely related to the prevention against disease and promotion of health, making greater potential for grape in the field of food and pharmaceutical application. (13)
Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract has an incredible antioxidant potential with its flavonoid phytonutrients. These polyphenols include resveratrol and unique oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPC’s). The most potent form is in grape seed extract, as it contains 95% OPC’s, which is more than any other antioxidant extract.
OPC’s help the body produce glutathione, which is the master antioxidant that protects DNA and strengthens the immune system. They also increase intracellular vitamin C levels and strengthen capillaries and thus improve blood oxygen circulation throughout the body. These antioxidants also act to protect soft tissue collagen in the joints and skin from free radical damage and premature aging.
The powerful free radical scavenging effects of grape seed extract protect the skin from UV radiation damage, the blood vessel walls from inflammatory stress and the brain from low oxygen states. Due to the benefits that grape seed extract has on these systems, it has been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer, improve blood pressure and protect against dementia. (14)
Grape Seed Extract May Help Dementia and Alzheimer’s, So Says The US NIH
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly 4.5 million Americans and is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable disease with a slow progression beginning with mild memory loss and ending with severe brain damage and death. While no treatment is proven to stop Alzheimer’s disease, some conventional drugs may limit symptoms for a short period of time in the early stages of the disease. Emerging research shows a correlation between red wine consumption and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive decline. Authors of a new NCCAM-funded study in mice found that grape seed-derived polyphenolics—similar to that in red wine—significantly reduced Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive deterioration.
The researchers found that mice treated with grape seed extract had significantly reduced Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive deterioration compared to the control mice. This is due to the prevention of a molecule called amyloid forming in the brain that has been shown to cause Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive impairment. (15)
Green Tea Leaf Extract
The health benefits of green tea for a wide variety of ailments, including different types of cancer, heart disease, and liver disease, were reported. Many of these beneficial effects of green tea are related to its catechin, particularly (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, content. There is evidence from in vitro and animal studies on the underlying mechanisms of green tea catechins and their biological actions. There are also human studies on using green tea catechins to treat metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors.
Long-term consumption of tea catechins could be beneficial against high-fat diet-induced obesity and type II diabetes and could reduce the risk of coronary disease. Further research that conforms to international standards should be performed to monitor the pharmacological and clinical effects of green tea and to elucidate its mechanisms of action.
Health benefits of green tea in humans and animals
Studies using animal models show that green tea catechins provide some protection against degenerative diseases. Some studies indicated that green tea has an antiproliferative activity on hepatoma cells and a hypolipidemic activity in hepatoma-treated rats, as well as the prevention of hepatoxicity and as a preventive agent against mammary cancer post-initiation. Green tea catechins could also act as antitumorigenic agents and as immune modulators in immunodysfunction caused by transplanted tumors or by carcinogen treatment. Moreover, green tea, its extract, and its isolated constituents were also found to be effective in preventing oxidative stress and neurological problems.
Green tea consumption has also been linked to the prevention of many types of cancer, including lung, colon, esophagus, mouth, stomach, small intestine, kidney, pancreas, and mammary glands. Several epidemiological studies and clinical trials showed that green tea (and black and Oolong teas to a lesser extent) may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. This beneficial effect has been attributed to the presence of high amounts of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. In particular, green tea may lower blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Some animal’s studies suggested that green tea might protect against the development of coronary heart disease by reducing blood glucose levels and body weight. However, all these data are based on middle-aged animals’ populations, not the elderly populations, which nutritional status tends to be more adversely influenced by age-related biological and socioeconomic factors.
Tea components possess antioxidant, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic effects and could protect humans against the risk of cancer by environmental agents. Sano et al. reported the inhibitory effects of green tea leaves against tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced lipid peroxidation, and a similar antioxidant effect on the kidney was observed after oral administration of the major tea polyphenol EGCG. The antioxidative potency of crude catechin powder and individual catechins was tested in experiments using the active oxygen method. Crude catechins reduced the formation of peroxides far more effectively than dl-α-tocopherol. Shim et al. studied the chemopreventive effect of green tea among cigarette smokers and found that it can block the cigarette-induced increase in sister chromatid exchange frequency. (16)
Author: Gregory Ciola
Gregory Ciola began his publishing career in the year 2000 when he released a ground breaking book on the dangers of genetic engineering. The book’s title was, “GMOs – Beware of the Coming Food Apocalypse!”. Gregory Ciola was one of the first biotech whistle blowers in the natural food industry to alert the public to what was happening to a majority of our foods. Ciola also began publishing a hard-hitting national newsletter in 2001 called “CRUSADOR” that was renamed in 2015 to “The Investigator’s Report”. He is best known for his in-depth interviews with well known book authors and leading health experts.