Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering…
What is Acerola?
If you are passionate about maintaining good health, then you may be familiar with the benefits of acerola cherry (or Barbados cherry). Acerola offers antioxidant properties that work together to prevent infections, cellular aging and protect the body from harmful free radicals.
Acerola cherry traces its origin to Mexico and Central and South America. It has been described as having a sour, even semi-sweet flavor and is used to make jam, sauces, juices, jellies, syrups and wine. You may find acerola cherry powder in common bath and body products like face toners, facial masks, creams and massage oils. In fact, when used in these products, acerola protects your skin from premature aging because it increases the production of collagen.
Health Benefits of Acerola
Rich Source of Vitamin C
The acerola cherry is an outstanding source of vitamin C. Studies have shown that this fruit contains about nine times the vitamin C content of an orange, even though oranges have long been recommended for anyone who needs an immunity system boost (x). In fact, only the camu camu fruit has a higher vitamin C content.
Acerola is not only a rich source of vitamin C, but research shows that it is also chock-full of vitamin A — a nutrient that could reduce the risk of eye infections, respiratory problems and other infectious diseases.
Vitamin C promotes the health of your skin, boosts your immunity and supports the health of your heart. All these benefits are attainable if you consume acerola cherry either as a fruit juice, in the form of a powder or any other form that preserves its vitamin C content.
Supports Heart Health
As already suggested, acerola cherry is beneficial to cardiovascular health. Its vitamin C content helps to remove triglycerides (the fats that clog blood vessels) and lower LDL (the bad cholesterol). These protective benefits lower your risk of heart disease.
The “mopping up” action of the vitamin C in acerola cherry can also help to lower your blood pressure. Vitamin C unclogs blood vessels and eases the flow of blood throughout the circulatory system.
Aids in Better Digestion
Acerola is also helpful in keeping your digestive system working seamlessly. The dietary fiber contained in acerola cherry helps to keep your bowels moving regularly. This is because the fiber provides the bulk needed for your food to be moved through the system.
Dietary fiber is a valuable prebiotic that supports healthy microorganisms in your digestive system. These good gut microorganisms help in breaking down and extracting nutrients from the food you eat so your body can benefit from those nutrients.
Regulates Blood Sugar
A study conducted in 2006 suggests that acerola may help to lower blood sugar (x). The scientists who conducted that study discovered that extracts obtained from acerola cherry suppressed the transportation of blood sugar in the digestive tract of mice used during the research. However, the researchers cautioned that it should not be regarded as a remedy for hyperglycemia since its effects are minimal.
Suppresses UVB Skin Pigmentation
A study conducted in 2008 revealed that Barbados cherry extracts are effective at lightening dark spots that develop as a result of exposure to UV radiation (x). Furthermore, another study conducted in 2017 had similar findings and indicated that acerola could have skin lightening effects (x).
Combats Oxidative Stress
A laboratory study conducted in 2011 concluded that extracts from the acerola fruit may combat oxidative stress (x). Oxidative stress plays a part in the aging of cells and the development of major diseases. As a result of the study, the antioxidants in it were found to protect DNA from oxidative damage. In fact, that study showed that unripened acerola exhibits higher levels of antioxidant properties when compared to the ripened fruit.
Protects Against Cancer
A number of studies indicate that cherry could be helpful in preventing lung cancer. The results of one study conducted in 2002 indicated that acerola cherry extract could inhibit the growth of abnormal cells associated with lung cancer (x). Markedly, acerola powder is extremely beneficial to health since it may help stop the spread and growth of lung cancer.
Possible Side Effects
Acerola fruit contains high amounts of vitamin C. On the negative side, high amounts of vitamin C can lead to gastric discomfort, kidney stones and reduce the effectiveness of certain medications.
Special Warnings and Precautions
Expectant and Nursing Mothers: If you are pregnant or nursing, avoid taking this supplement without speaking to your doctor first.
People with Gout: Do not take this supplement if you have gout. Due to the high level of Vitamin C in acerola powder, levels of uric acid may increase and make the condition worse.
Possible Acerola Cherry Interactions with Medications
Warfarin is less effective when you take acerola powder. Speak to your doctor before taking this supplement. Your doctor may choose to monitor your blood or adjust the dosage of your medication to make sure your treatment is not compromised while using this supplement.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy
When used with medications containing estrogen, acerola powder may increase the absorption of estrogen due to the high content of vitamin C.
If you are taking fluphenazine powder, consult a doctor before taking acerola supplements. The high levels of vitamin C could reduce how much fluphenazine is absorbed in the body.
Why Take Acerola Supplements?
Barbados cherry fruits begin deteriorating shortly after they have been harvested from the tree. Surprisingly, the acerola cherry plant takes three years to produce fruit but has a rather long harvest season. Taking a supplement in the form of acerola powder makes it possible for you to obtain its amazing health benefits year round.
High Antioxidant Levels
Acerola powder is made when the antioxidant levels of the fruit are most potent (x). In other words, the antioxidant levels of the acerola cherry are at the peak when the fruit has not yet ripened.
This supplement offers the optimal blend of vitamin C and flavonoids. Stress within the body can lead to serious illnesses, but acerola powder can be helpful in reducing oxidative stress, ridding the body of harmful toxins and combating visible signs of aging.
There is no concrete dosage for acerola. Though it is a natural product, it may not be safe to consume in high amounts. It is best to discuss proper dosage with a health professional before adding an acerola supplement to your regimen (x).
The Bottom Line
The presence of antioxidants in acerola promote a healthy cardiovascular system. Due to the impressive content of vitamin C, acerola powder could boost your immunity and prevent infections and other illnesses. It is indeed a potent addition to your diet if you want to combat harmful free radicals in the body.
Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering the Vegas Golden Knights.