Study shows Acai berry could boost immunity vs COVID-19 symptoms

Brazilian acai berry, a popular superfood due to its high antioxidant content, is showing potential as treatment to prevent some symptoms of COVID-19, a University of Toronto scientist said.

Study shows Acai berry could boost immunity vs COVID-19 symptoms

Acai, according to Dr. Ana Andreazza, associate professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, can significantly decrease inflammation of NLRP3, which is what triggers the body's response against infections and stress.

Originally from Brazil and working with other Brazilian researchers on this berry, Dr. Andreazza said acai was “effective as an anti-inflammatory.”

“It's important to note that it has a very similar effect on the NLRP3 cell as it does with a damaged mitochondria as we’ve seen,” she said in a virtual forum entitled “Superfood Acai Berry Against COVID-19 symptoms: How to Harness its Nutrients” that was held in partnership with Philippine wellness company Organique.

Dr. Joseph Lee, a Filipino surgeon specialist, said patients who were given the acai are “stable” and have shown “no erratic change to them even if they are on maintenance for high blood and liver enzymes.”

“Basically, through continued monitoring of all our patients and their responses to acai, we have found that acai remains a most promising superfood that can likely live up to all the claims,” he said.

The clinical trial tests in Canada, which are slated to wrap up by the end of the first quarter of 2021, will determine whether an early intervention of acai palm berry extract can help mitigate severe inflammation problems in COVID-19 patients given the superfood’s potent anti-inflammatory properties.

“Organique has always believed in ‘prevention over cure.’ This is what has continuously compelled us to provide an affordable, safe, and effective immunity-boosting supplement powered by the acai super berry,” said Organique CEO and President Cathy Salimbangon.

“The findings from the University of Toronto’s study could be ground-breaking as we navigate COVID-19,” she added.

According to Dr. Michael Farkouh, lead researcher and director of the Peter Munk Center of Excellence in Multinational Clinical Trials, said definitive results will be available within the next six months on whether acai can be shared globally as efficient treatment.

“We can see if it can treat the virus, and if ever, be used for prevention, as well as for the actual symptoms. We will also monitor if there are any after-effects in COVID-19 patients two to five years down the line,” he said.

“The beauty of this trial is it can be done remotely. We can ship the extract or the placebo and monitor them for any need for hospitalization. We will be checking in on them on day 1, day 15, and day 30 for regular monitoring of their clinical status.”

Dr. Sonny Viloria, an expert in Integrative Wellness, stressed that boosting the immune system remains the best weapon against sickness.

“This can make a huge difference in a country like the Philippines, where many are unable to afford COVID care. If proven effective, this is just another reason why the acai berry should be a staple in our lifestyle,” he said.

Topics: COVID-19 , University of Toronto , Ana Andreazza , Organique , Joseph Lee
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