Acai is an exotic berry sourced mostly from the Amazons that is known for its ability to help people lose weight and improve their overall energy levels.
It’s become extremely popular in recent years, largely in part because it tastes good and it appeared on shows like Dr. Oz.
We set out to cover the best acai products.
1. ORGANIFI RED JUICE
Organifi Red Juice is a superfood supplement that goes above and beyond to supply you with all the benefits and great taste of Acai with 10 other superfoods to make sure that you don’t miss out on any nutritional benefits.
It’s designed to boost your metabolism to support weight loss with Acai, cordyceps, blueberries, and Rhodiola. It fights the effects of aging with reishi and beets. And it boosts your energy with Siberian Ginseng.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It packs all of these benefits into one powder with a fantastic beet juice taste. It’s organic, vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. It’s simply a fantastic product, and that’s why it’s our number one choice of 2020.
2. Nature’s Craft Acai
Nature’s Craft offers an acai supplement that is powerful, concentrated, and free of any other supplement ingredients save for the usual gelatin capsule (from animals; sorry, vegetarians) and binding compounds.
Each 600 mg capsule offers a potent dose of acai. With its strong concentration and its simple design philosophy, Nature’s Craft Acai Berry is a great pick for anyone.
3. Puritan’s Pride Triple Strength Acai
Puritan’s Pride has quite a high dosage of acai berry in their supplement, though because they do not provide the concentration ratio, it may not be quite as impressive as the label suggests.
For one, the stated amount on the bottle–3000 mg of acai—applies to each serving, which is two capsules. One capsule is going to be 1500 mg, and if it hasn’t been concentrated, might only be equivalent to 375 mg of 4:1 acai concentrate.
Even so, that’s still a respectable amount. The only other detriment is the inclusion of soybean oil, which will be a downside for the rare customer that avoids soy products. Even considering these defects, it’s still a very solid product.
4. NOW Freeze-Dried Acai
NOW is known for its wide range of basic, no-frills supplement products, and that’s exactly what you are getting with their freeze-dried acai supplement.
Each capsule contains 500 mg of acai, though it’s not concentrated so you do need to keep that in mind when comparing it to other acai products. One perk that NOW’s acai supplement has going for it is that it is one of the best acai products that is also vegan-friendly.
Its capsules are made with vegetable-derived cellulose and vegetable-derived binders, so there are no animal cruelty concerns.
5. Pure Encapsulations Acai 600
Pure Encapsulations Acai 600 is a good choice if you want acai berry alongside other antioxidants, but don’t want to sacrifice on the dose of acai. You’ll get antioxidant power from pomegranate, blueberries, and cranberries, though you still get 600 mg of acai extract. It’s not the best supplement for purists, but for a well-rounded antioxidant that is centered on acai, it’s a decent choice.
6. Health Harmony Super Antioxidants
Super Antioxidants is a combined supplement that provides a plethora of powerful antioxidant extracts from several superfoods, acai included.
The supplement includes a healthy amount of acai, goji berry, noni fruit, mangosteen, pomegranate, and resveratrol (from red grapes), as well as a small amount of a proprietary blend that includes several other antioxidant sources, like raspberry, black cherry, and blueberry, to name just a few.
The acai content of Health Harmony Super Antioxidants is mediocre, at 150 mg per capsule, so its main benefit is the fact that it delivers the acai in combination with all of these other antioxidant sources. The inclusion of noni and mangosteen may give it weight loss benefits that extend beyond those of acai, too.
7. Natrol Acai Berry 1000
Natrol is a pretty middle of the road acai supplement. While it advertises itself as providing 1000 mg of acai extract, that’s per serving, not per capsule. A serving is actually two capsules, so you only end up with 500 mg of acai per capsule.
The supplement design is decent, but not great. There are a few additional binders and stabilizers you won’t find in some of the higher caliber products on the market. Still, it’s not a bad pick.
8. Navitas Organics Acai Powder
If you really want to exert full control over your dosage and usage of acai, consider a powder-based supplement like Navitas Organics Acai Power. While it’s definitely messier and harder to measure out than a capsule-based supplement, it’s great for mixing into protein shakes and smoothies. Moreover, it’s hard to beat from a purity front. Though powder form acai is definitely not for everyone, among the powder options on the market, Navitas has the best.
9. Perfect Acai
Perfect Acai is a moderate dosage acai supplement, but it’s super pure. It uses vegan-friendly cellulose capsules, and the only non-capsule ingredient is freeze-dried acai powder. The 500 mg of acai powder per capsule is enough for most people, and it’s one of the better ultra-pure acai supplements out there.
10. Pure Organic Ingredients Acai Berry
Pure Organic Ingredients Acai Berry is great from a purity standpoint, but not so much from a dosage standpoint. It’s only got 250 mg of acai powder per capsule, which makes it challenging to high higher dosages if you are so inclined. Even among the super-pure acai supplement fans, most people will find better options up their alley unless they are specifically looking for a low dosage acai supplement.
11. Now Acai Liquid Concentrate
Now Acai Liquid Concentrate is an unusual form of acai that finds a niche application in people who want to add acai to their routine but don’t like taking capsules on a regular basis.
Most people, though, should opt instead for a capsule-based supplement, such as Now’s excellent freeze-dried acai capsules higher up on our list. Capsule-based supplements tend to be more reliable in their dosage than liquid supplements.
Who should buy acai berry?
If you want to add one of the most powerful natural sources of antioxidants to your supplementation routine, acai berry is the supplement for you.
Acai is a fruit that’s native to the tropical regions of South America, but it’s become incredibly popular worldwide thanks to rich, tart taste and a bevy of scientific studies showing that it has potent effects on charging up your immune system and fighting systemic inflammation.
Acai is a popular supplement for weight loss, but the strongest evidence actually supports using it for boosting immune function, accelerating recovery after hard workouts, and reducing inflammation.
While you can buy frozen acai berries or freeze-dried acai powders, the most efficient way to incorporate acai berries into your routine is in a supplement that contains an acai extract or powder.
That way, you get a standardized dosage that can match what is typically used in clinical and scientific research.
How we ranked
Our priority when formulating our rankings was delivering an effective dosage of the antioxidants in acai berry that are responsible for its health benefits.
To this end, we focused only on acai-centric supplements. Even though acai is also incorporated into multi-ingredient antioxidant supplements, we excluded these from our rankings. After identifying acai-centric supplements, we took a look at the acai content.
Our target was to replicate the total acai dosage delivered in the limited number of human studies done so far, which is about 100 to 250 ml of pure acai juice per day.
We sought out acai supplements that delivered at least 500 mg of acai powder to approximate this dosage level, though because animal studies have used far larger doses, we didn’t penalize any of the supplements that used higher doses of acai (some supplements deliver upwards of 1500 mg).
Having identified acai supplements of an appropriate dose, we examined the other ingredients. We dropped any supplements that had too much in the way of binders, fillers, stabilizers, and other ingredients that bloat the supplement.
We had a slight preference for vegan capsules made of cellulose as opposed to gelatin capsules, but this was a relatively minor consideration relative to the other criteria that made up our decision process.
After sorting the remaining candidates by dosage, purity, and overall quality, we had our final rankings. These are the best supplemental sources of acai that you can get right now.
Acai is a versatile supplement for health. We have seen that the acai berry does contain a number of nutrient-rich chemicals, but the actual literature regarding the effectiveness of acai supplements seems to be clear: there are limited proven benefits to taking acai supplements (1).
Though there are people who have claimed wonderful benefits from taking acai, medical and scientific literature is still out about the effectiveness of acai supplements in regard to one’s health.
Acai pills are the most convenient way to supplement (but not necessarily the most effective). There are multiple ways to use acai (2).
You could always opt to eat acai berries (though they may be hard to find depending on where you are – they are sourced mostly from the Amazons in Brazil)
Acai may fight cancerous cells. One study did find that certain chemicals in acai may prove to be beneficial in fighting cancer (3).
Though no research has been done to prove the effectiveness of acai supplements on the prevention or the treatment of cancer, the study is promising; it showed that chemicals within the acai berry have been known to cause apoptosis in leukemia cells.
Apoptosis is the process by which a cell self-destructs in order to preserve the body’s health. If these health benefits can be harnessed, acai supplements may offer an effective alternative to cancer prevention and treatment.
One study notes that it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of acai supplements on humans because most studies conducted about acai have been done on lab rats (4).
And, while some experiments done on our tiny furry rodents may certainly be replicated with humans, the nature of most acai studies make them difficult or impossible to actually use humans.
Acai also may help you lose weight. One of the major selling points behind acai is its alleged ability to “promote” weight loss. That’s why a study (thankfully) was conducted to test the validity of these claims and measure the effectiveness of acai supplements as a weight-loss agent (5).
In short, the results were inconclusive.
While the study didn’t mention that acai supplements are completely incapable of aiding in weight loss, it did state that scientific literature regarding its effectiveness has thus far proven inconclusive.
This, again, is due in part to the difficulty of performing tests on humans. However, as more and more research is conducted the benefits and disadvantages of using this supplement may become clearer.
Acai berries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. One study measured the antioxidant activity of acai berries actually surpasses that of other berry types, including cranberries and blueberries (6).
This may be why acai supplements and berries have gotten a reputation as being extremely beneficial for your health. Presumably, the higher concentration of anthocyanins (antioxidants) in acai makes the berry and its supplements better than other supplements.
However, as we’ve seen, it can be difficult to properly extract these beneficial properties for proper use in supplements.
Acai contains anthocyanins – which work to prevent signs of aging. We’ve talked a lot about anthocyanins, so it’s about time we talk about them in more depth. One study laid out many of the important health benefits that anthocyanins provide (7). In short, anthocyanins are effective as they help bond with and alter the function of free radicals in the body.
Free radicals can be damaging to the body, but antioxidants help bind to them and remove them from the body, reducing the harm that they can do such as causing wrinkles, cellular damage, and other signs of aging.
How dangerous are free radicals? They’ve been linked to cell death and even cancer, making them potentially very dangerous for your body.
Because of antioxidants’ ability to combat the negative effects of free radicals, supplements that contain these anthocyanins are considered to be good for our health. It’s imperative however that what you are getting really contains antioxidants that will survive your digestive tract and benefit you (or else all you are going to end up with is obnoxiously expensive pee).
Acai oil may improve absorption. Another way in which acai has been utilized is by extracting oil from the pulp of the berry (8). Researchers believe that acai oil may be used to increase cellular absorption of the chemical properties contained within.
This has led to increased research on the feasibility of using acai oil as a supplement in various kinds of products—from dietary supplements to skin creams.
While the verdict is still out about the use of acai oil, preliminary studies do suggest that it may, indeed, have greater benefits for our health than the supplements we currently see today.
Acai helps reduce oxidative cell damage for faster recovery. Recent research has suggested that acai – berry components may have additional benefits for our health in that they limit the production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) (9). ROS, inhibit the immune system’s response to various afflictions, causing us to be more susceptible to disease and other maladies.
A study of seven different extraction methods of antioxidants from the pulp of acai berries found that five of the different methods produced a product that could greatly reduce the formation and production of ROS. This suggests that acai has benefits for our immune system and even improves recovery from exercise.
This research is still in a preliminary stage, and more needs to be done to accurately determine how acai berries and acai supplements can be used to supplement our diets in a way that is beneficial to our immune health. However, present findings give hope that future acai supplements will have proven medical benefits.
Acai berries can stimulate immune function. Other studies have been conducted to analyze the effects of eating acai berries on immune health, and the results are similarly promising (10). One study found that the chemical properties of acai berries may aid in the stimulation of innate immune responses.
In other words, acai has been linked to the re-awakening of some immune processes. This potentially means that we can strengthen our immune systems by stimulating dormant immune responses. Say goodbye to the winter blues.
Acai is excellent for skin health. In addition to preventing signs of aging acai is used often in natural skin care products (11). So, if you use these topical health products you still have to watch out for low-quality products just as if your acai beauty product was a drink, pill, or snack. With a product packed with acai, you’ll notice fewer wrinkles, fewer dark spots, and improved skin tone (12). Time to turn back the clock.
Acai berry’s antioxidant properties increase as it’s being digested. One of the common ways that nutritionists use to quantify and rank different antioxidants, like those found in red wine, dark chocolate, or blueberries, is though standardized testing with reactive oxygen species performed in a chemistry laboratory.
However, one shortcoming of this approach is that antioxidant compounds don’t go straight into your bloodstream unaltered. They are digested by your body first, which could change their antioxidant capabilities. This important distinction was pointed out by a 2014 scientific study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (13).
The paper tested the antioxidant activity of several common superfoods, including green tea, pomegranate, acai berry, and grape seed. First, they tested the antioxidant power of these superfoods in their raw, unaltered state. After doing so, they found that pomegranate, resveratrol, and green tea extract came out on top as the most potent antioxidants.
However, the results were completely different when they simulated human digestion using specific digestive enzymes found in the human stomach and intestines.
After this simulated digestion process, acai showed a significant increase in its antioxidant capabilities. These results might explain why acai seems to be so powerful in animal studies, but is less impressive when it comes to basic lab tests of antioxidant capabilities.
So, from these results we can infer that we should be more focused on animal-based and human-based research when we evaluate acai berry supplements.
Acai can reduce post-workout soreness and increase blood levels of antioxidant compounds. One of the few studies to directly test the utility of acai in humans was conducted by a research team in Poland, who examined how six weeks’ worth of supplementation with acai berry juice affected workout performance, soreness, and antioxidant levels in the blood (14).
The subjects in this study were teenage hurdlers training at a national level. They took an acai berry juice supplement daily for six weeks, while the researchers tracked the relevant variables.
The researchers found that, while sprint workout performance was unchanged, post-workout soreness was reduced, and blood levels of antioxidants were increased.
The study was limited in its lack of a control group, though, so some of these benefits could be chalked up to the placebo effect. Even so, the effects on blood levels of antioxidants are hard to deny, and greater levels of antioxidants could definitely account for a reduction in post-workout soreness.
Other antioxidants, like vitamin C, have been used to reduce post-workout soreness as well. While more research is required, the benefits of acai in this study might be sufficiently high to justify including an acai berry supplement in your routine, assuming your goals are also to reduce post-workout soreness and increase your body’s levels of antioxidants.
There aren’t any side effects of taking acai, but there are some “warnings” that people should take notice.
While anthocyanin may provide many of the health benefits that acai berries are known for, not all anthocyanins are the same. In natural acai berries there are a whole spectrum of anthocyanin components that form an entire anthocyanin complex (15).
One potential concern with acai berry is related not to the supplement itself, but from unscrupulous manufacturers taking advantage of the extreme popularity of acai berry containing products. A case report published in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences in 2011 details an unfortunate 22-year-old man who had started taking an acai berry based weight loss supplement (16).
The man reported to the hospital with rhabdomyolysis, a condition where damaged muscle constituents accumulate in the bloodstream. While the man recovered in a few days, the medical team analyzed the supposedly acai berry based supplement, only to find that it contained no acai berry at all.
The doctors ascribed the cause of the man’s medical problems to the supplement, as he had started taking it not long before the symptoms emerged, and his problems went away after he had stopped taking it.
Case reports like this underscores the importance of using supplements from reputable, high-quality manufacturers. If you do that, you should not have any issues with mislabeled or contaminated products.
There have only been a limited number of studies of the effects of acai berry in humans, compared to the number of studies which have been done in animals. It’s not straightforward to scale up animal research to humans, since animal studies often involve improbably large doses.
Most information on effective acai dosage in humans comes from studies of acai juice drinks, which have used 100 to 250 ml of acai juice per day.
Since there is no standardized biochemical marker for acai’s potency (contrast with turmeric, in which curcumin content can be used as an index of potency), it’s hard to translate these doses into strict recommendations, but some rough math shows that at least 500 mg of acai berry powder per day is a good starting point.
With the good safety profile of (properly labeled) acai berry, it’s hard to put an upper limit on dosage; it’s not yet clear if too much acai is bad for you.
Q: Does acai help with weight loss?
A: Acai is popular for weight loss, but not much evidence actually supports its use as a weight loss pill. The evidence for its efficacy is actually much stronger when it comes to fighting some of the negative health effects of being overweight, such as chronic systemic inflammation.
Q: Can too much acai berry be harmful?
A: Acai berry is a natural fruit that’s commonly consumed as a part of the standard diet in places like Brazil, and no supplement studies in humans have reported any adverse effects from high doses.
Animal studies have also used enormous relative doses, without apparent ill effect. Despite this evidence, there’s not enough solid research in humans to definitively declare that there is no upper limit to the amount of acai berry that you can consume.
As long as you stay within the bounds of typical dietary intake, you’ll likely be fine as far as acai intake.
Q: Is acai powder healthy?
A: Acai powder is the dried form of acai berry, which makes it easier to get a given dosage. The powderizing process is usually done via freeze-drying, which eliminates water mass while preserving the essential chemical compounds that give acai berry its antioxidant benefits.
Powdered acai berry is the most common way to deliver acai in supplement form, and scientific research backs the efficacy of the antioxidants in acai berry, so even though it’s slightly removed from the “natural” form of acai, acai berry powder, acai powder can definitely be considered healthy.
Q: What is acai berry good for?
A: Acai berry is a powerful antioxidant, so it finds applications in most of the areas of health that can be addressed by antioxidant superfoods.
This includes boosting immune system function, reducing systemic inflammation, and boosting post-workout recovery. Studies in humans have demonstrated that acai significantly raises levels of antioxidants in the blood, which can help with inflammation.
Since inflammation contributes to so many chronic health problems, acai berry is commonly grouped among the “superfoods” thanks to its antioxidant potency.
Q: What nutritional benefits does acai berry have?
A: Beyond the clinical and scientific research on acai berry, it’s important to remember that acai berry has all the benefits of other fruits.
A large body of research supports fruits (and especially colorful berries) as a way to reduce the risk of long-term health problems like heart disease. Acai berry is also a good source of vitamin A, though surprisingly, it does not contain much in the way of vitamin C.
Q: Is acai berry good if you are on a diet?
A: Acai berry can be a good addition to a diet, as it helps counter some of the negative health effects of being overweight (such as systemic inflammation), but acai berry by itself is not known to exert any weight loss effects of its own.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it is not useful; rather, its benefits are concentrated elsewhere.
Q: What is acai berry?
A: The acai berry is a fruit that’s native to Central and South America. The acai berry is a traditional part of many local cuisines, most notably in the form of the acai bowl, which originated in Brazil.
The berry has a rich, sweet taste that is something like a raspberry or blackberry, but with an aftertaste with notes of dark chocolate. This richness makes it a bit different than the standard sweet berries that you might use as part of a healthy diet.
Q: What does acai berry taste like?
A: Acai berry has a unique taste that has the characteristic sweetness and tartness that you’ll find in other antioxidant-rich fruits like blackberry, raspberry, and blueberries (especially wild blueberries).
However, it’s a bit different in its aftertaste, which has a distinctive richness and a slight bitterness that’s reminiscent of dark chocolate.
This unique flavor profile is part of why the acai berry is the centerpiece of the acai bowl: it gives a taste that’s definitely different than a run of the mill fruit smoothie.
The acai berry is healthy, but the supplements probably won’t do too much. It’s like eating blueberries or other fruit packed with antioxidants.
However, the field of research regarding acai and its supplements is promising, as more and more medical and scientific literature suggests that acai berries are healthy. Even now, researchers are discovering new ways of extracting antioxidants and anthocyanins from acai berries so that we can develop better supplements.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 acai berry recommendation, click here.