Acerola is a tropical fruit with incredible health benefits, and for this reason, it’s becoming increasingly popular amongst consumers and healthcare professionals. Today, it’s known for its high Vitamin C content and the presence of carotenoids and phenolic compounds which make it a nutritional powerhouse.
This fruit is rarely eaten fresh since it has an exceptionally acidic flavour. For this reason, it’s the most common presentation in is as an extract, in capsules or integrated into a juice. The vitamin C content in acerola works makes it a very effective antioxidant. The presence of antioxidants is known to help prevent and manage certain cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as curbing signs of ageing. If you'd like to find out about all the health benefits of this sensational fruit, keep reading.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our selection: The best acerola supplements
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about acerola supplements
- 4.1 What is acerola exactly?
- 4.2 What does acerola taste like?
- 4.3 How to eat acerola fruit?
- 4.4 What nutrients are found in acerola?
- 4.5 What are the health benefits associated with acerola?
- 4.6 Why is the vitamin C in acerola so important?
- 4.7 Which antioxidants can be found in acerola?
- 4.8 What types of acerola supplements are there and how do I know which one is right for me?
- 4.9 What is the recommended dose for acerola supplements?
- 4.10 What is the difference between acerola supplements and traditional vitamin C supplements?
- 4.11 Can children consume acerola supplements?
- 4.12 Who can benefit from taking acerola supplements?
- 4.13 What are the negative effects associated with the use of acerola?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Acerola is available as an extract, chewable tablets and capsules and even as a juice. These forms of intake are often preferred to the fresh fruit since it’s taste is highly acidic.
- Acerola supplements have a high concentration of Vitamin C. Which not only makes this fruit a powerful antioxidant. This vitamin is also important in other important processes, such as the synthesis of collagen, energy metabolisation and the proper functioning of the immune system.
- Additionally, acerola has more antioxidants, like polyphenols and carotenoids. These compounds are known for neutralising the oxidising agents known for inducing cell degeneration. All these antioxidants make acerola a great tool to help prevent cardiovascular diseases and the growth of cancer cells.
Our selection: The best acerola supplements
There is an increasing supply of acerola supplements, making it very easy for anyone to enjoy the health advantages of this powerful fruit. If you’re looking for a quick and simple way to ingest the supplement, capsules and chewable will be the best for you. Nonetheless, keep in mind that extracts and juices are very functional and they can be added to many foods and drinks. This next section includes some of the best supplements and presentations available on the market.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about acerola supplements
Just like with any other food supplement, the key to reaping all of its nutritional benefits is to consume it correctly. For this reason, in this next section, we include all of the information you need to know about this wonderful fruit in order to make the best use of it. We will address things like daily recommended dose, most convenient ingestion methods, and as always, answers to the most frequently asked questions among uses.
What is acerola exactly?
The fruit is bright red and sweet-tasting when it's fully mature. However, we should note that most of the acerola’s health benefits come from the fact that it is so rich in vitamin C —the more the fruit ripens, the more vitamin C is lost — and acerola ripens very quickly. For this reason, they are not often sold fresh in stores since the fruits deteriorate very quickly once picked from the tree.
What does acerola taste like?
How to eat acerola fruit?
The good news is that you have the choice of many forms of acerola supplements. You can find them in the form of juice, capsules, chewable tablets or as a powdered extract. Furthermore, acerola fruit can also be used to make preserves, gelatos, and chutneys. Nonetheless, we should note that these confections will not bring the same health advantages.
What nutrients are found in acerola?
At this point, it can have a concentration of vitamin C that can be up to 4830 mg per 100 grams. This means that acerola, depending on how ripe it is, can have 10 to 100 times more vitamin C than an orange. Other valuable components found in this fruit include polyphenols and carotenoids.
What are the health benefits associated with acerola?
- Antioxidant protection against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules are partly responsible for cell oxidation, which is a major cause for disease or premature aging. Some conditions linked to oxidative stress include: atherosclerosis, chronic fatigue, cancer and certain eye, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
- Helps maintain adequate vitamin C levels in smokers and those who recently quit. Smokers need higher levels of vitamin C than those who don’t smoke.
- Slows down age-related macular degeneration. Thanks to acerola’s high levels of beta-carotene (provitamin A) and lutein, it works to manage this disease -- which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels. This basically means that it works prevent spikes in blood glucose levels. This is quality is particularly relevant to diabetics.
- Protects the skin against damage caused by free radicals and the ultraviolet radiation (wrinkles). Both fresh acerola and in supplements can help encourage collagen production -- a protein responsible for keeping skin firm and smooth.
- Works to improve and regulate the state of mind. Since vitamin C plays a key role in norepinephrine production, the consumption of acerola helps improve overall emotional wellbeing.
- Boosts the immune system. It has antimicrobial action against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
- Can have a role in the prevention of various types of cancer. The anthocyanin found in acerola has been known to have tumor-fighting action, for breast and lung cancer.
- Acerola supports increased absorption of iron. Iron is present in green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, egg yolk, and other foods. Its a key nutrient in helping prevent anemia, which is often caused by iron deficiency.
Why is the vitamin C in acerola so important?
- It increases the absorption of non-heme iron. This is the type of iron found in non meat sources.
- Supports healthy immune function. It is an essential nutrient involved in the proper functioning of the immune system.
- Helps fight cold and flu symptoms. It also helps speed up recovery time.
- Vitamin C facilitates the metabolism of energy. Vitamin C allows the body to access the energy found in food.
- Stimulates collagen production. In the skin, tendons, joints and bones.
- Acts as a powerful antioxidant. Which works to neutralise the negative effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.
- Assists in the synthesis of mood-related neurotransmitters. Working as a natural and powerful mood regulator.
Which antioxidants can be found in acerola?
What types of acerola supplements are there and how do I know which one is right for me?
- Tablets: are usually made with gelatine or other binding agents, creating a capsule or tablet that holds acerola extract inside. Moreover, chewable tablets can be flavoured with natural ingredients like oranges or other citric flavours.
- Powdered extract: is made by cold drying (freezing) the acerola fruit, dehydrating it to create a mass that is crushed into powder. This presentation has a more concentrated natural acerola flavour. Ingesting it can be done by mixing it with other liquids or foods.
- Juice: the juice is extracted by cold pressing the fruit, this process retains most of the vitamin C, since the nutrient is thermo-sensitive and it's destroyed or degraded when exposed to high temperatures. The juice will have the characteristic acerola flavour, and it can be drunk on its own or mixed into a smoothie.
|Flavour|| These may have neutral or natural acerola taste.
They can also be flavoured with other ingredients (eg. citrus).
|Intense acerola flavour.||Pleasant, sweet and sour taste, typical of acerola.|
|Method of intake||They can be taken on their own, or with water. However, most tablets are flavoured and chewable.||Commonly mixed with water, milk, yoghurt, vegetable juice or smoothies.||Can be drunk on its own, it doesn't need to be mixed or diluted with water.|
|Amount of processing||Moderate. The extract needs to be mixed with other ingredients in order to be made into a capsule or tablet.||Low||Low|
|Recommended dose/serving||1 or 2 tablets a day||3 to 5 grams daily||50 to 100 ml|
|Amount of vitamin C per serving||500 mg per tablet or capsule on average.||438 to 730 mg.||800 to 1600 mg.|
What is the recommended dose for acerola supplements?
What is the difference between acerola supplements and traditional vitamin C supplements?
The differences between acerola and pure vitamin C supplements lies in the anthocyanin and carotenoids found in the fruit. This means that the combination of the nutrients in acerola will have additional benefits not found in vitamin C supplements. These benefits include its blood regulating actions and antimicrobial properties, as well as its role in preventing macular degeneration.
|Benefits||Acerola supplements||Vitamin C supplements|
|Blood sugar regulator||Yes||No|
|Strengthens the immune system||Yes||Yes|
|Prevents macular degeneration associated with age||Yes||No|
|Stimulates collagen production||Yes||Yes|
Can children consume acerola supplements?
Who can benefit from taking acerola supplements?
- Smokers and those who recently quit smoking
- Vegans and vegetarians who have suffered from an iron deficiency
- People with a diet low in fruits and vegetables -- fresh fruits and veggies are the main sources of vitamin C
- People suffering from a cold or the flu
- Diabetics (who don’t use insulin)
- People with a predisposition for age-associated macular degeneration
What are the negative effects associated with the use of acerola?
- Patients with chronic liver or kidney conditions. This does not necessarily mean they cannot take acerola supplements, but people suffering from these conditions should consult with their family doctor before taking any dietary supplements.
- Latex allergies. There can be a negative interaction between latex allergens and acerola molecule.
- Hemochromatosis. This illness is characterised by the disproportionate accumulation of iron in the tissues and organs. As you know by now, vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.
- People who take phenothiazines. This ends up being counterproductive since vitamin C can limit or block their effects.
Aside from these special cases, acerola supplements are generally safe for anyone to use. We should note that vitamin C is hydro-soluble, meaning that any accumulated excess will be discharged through urine — making it very hard for someone to overdose on acerola. Nonetheless, excess vitamin C may cause diarrhoea, stomach pain, and kidney stones.
Despite the fact that acerola supplements are generally safe, one should always condor certain important aspects in order to choose the best supplement for yourself. If you have any of the conditions that could benefit from supplementing with acerola, or you simply want to take advantage of its strong antioxidant powers, check out this next set of criteria to help you find the best product.
The easiest way to take acerola supplements is in tablets. Some of these may have to be swallowed with a sip of water, but the majority of options are chewable. Furthermore, the juice is also a simple supplementation format — just make sure to keep in the fridge after you’ve opened it and keep in mind it’s expiration.
Last but not least, the powdered extract is perfect for people looking for a supplement which is 100% natural. This format is produced by freeze-drying the acerola fruit and then crushing it into a fine powder. The one drawback to this format option is that you need to mix it with some kind of liquid or food in order to consume it.
The juice, along with the chewable tablets, will have a subtle, yet pleasant taste. The powder, on the other hand, has an intense, acre flavour, which can be nice if taken with a shake or a smoothie made with other citrus fruits, berries, pineapple or banana.
Ease of consumption
This is more relevant with children that can or need to have acerola supplements. It is of utmost importance to choose products that not only have agreeable taste, they must also have a suitable vitamin C concentration for their age (60 – 120 milligrams per tablet). Moreover, try to look for organic products because kids organisms are more susceptible to toxins and additives.
Even though acerola is naturally lactose and gluten-free, anyone with these restrictions, allergies or intolerances should carefully check the list of ingredients. Keep in mind that people who have an allergy to latex should not have any acerola.
Production and processing conditions
It is always advisable to opt for supplements which are made with sustainable farming practices, not only because of health reasons but also to care for the planet. Another point to consider regarding these criteria is the packaging, it’s always preferable to choose products made with recyclable packaging.
Always keep in mind that it’s much better to buy supplements that are made without any artificial colours, flavours or aromas. This is especially important with acerola since it is a fruit that goes bad very fast; meaning sometimes, excessive additives are being used to hide degeneration of the original raw fruit.
Acerola is a fruit which is rich in vitamin C, phenolic compounds and carotenoid pigments. The presence of these key nutrients results in acerola being one of the best natural sources of antioxidants. This nutrient content gives this fruit the ability to prevent illness and slow down ageing caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. These supplements can be found in the form of tablets, capsules, juice or powder.
Because vitamin C and acerola pigments (anthocyanin, beta carotene, and lutein) play key roles in the proper functioning of the body, these supplements are beneficial for both children and adults alike, however, when in doubt, it’s always important to consult your family doctor. Keep in mind that even though these supplements are often safe, it’s always important not to exceed the recommended daily dose.
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(Source of featured image: Somyot Pattana: 29697752/ 123rf.com)