Side effects of acai tablets

Written by beth richards
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Side effects of acai tablets
(Photo courtesy r.richards)

Acai tablets are a natural supplement that come from the acai berry, a fruit that is cultivated in the Amazon rainforest. Acai has become popular as an antioxidant nutritional supplement and for weight loss, energy and digestion. Although natural, any supplement should be evaluated for its safety and the possibility of side effects or reactions to combining it with other medications.

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History

Acai has become incredibly popular in recent years, although it has been harvested by Amazon tribes for centuries. Jeremy and Ryan Black started the current trend when they discovered healthy benefits from drinking acai juice while in Brazil. The brothers began making a powder out of acai because the fruit is too perishable in its natural state to transport. In the past decade, multiple companies have begun processing acai into juice concentrate and pills to sell as nutritional supplements.

Benefits

A study in the "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry" in 2006 showed that acai contained significant quantities of fatty acids and antioxidants. Antioxidants are vital for healthy functioning of our immune system, heart, skin and digestion. Acai berries also have the nutritional benefit of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for promoting good health and helpful in reducing inflammation. Omega-3 is most commonly thought of as coming from salmon or tuna, but acai is one of the few plants that contains beneficial amounts of the fatty acid.

Effects

Occasionally acai can have mild side effects, such as nausea, diarrhoea, upset stomach and dehydration. Although rare, this sort of reaction can happen from taking too much acai, similar to what happens when you eat too much fruit. Also, chemical additives in some of the lesser-quality acai tablets might cause side effects rather than effects from the actual berry.

Expert Insight

Dr. Mehmet Oz, professor of cardiac surgery at Columbia University and internationally acclaimed nutritional authority, recommends five servings of antioxidant fruits a day and suggests a 500 mg per day supplement of acai to be a safe amount, according to Oprah.com. However, some practitioners suggest as much as 1,000 to 4,000 mg a day can be taken without worry.

Prevention/Solution

To avoid side effects from acai tablets, take only your recommended daily amount. If you are unsure how much to take, check with your health-care provider.

Price usually reflects quality in nutritional supplements--but not always. Check ingredients, and buy only pure acai tablets. Just because a label includes the word "natural," it does not guarantee that everything in the pill is good for you. Purchase your tablets from a health-food store with a knowledgeable staff, a reputable online seller or from a natural pharmacy.

Drink plenty of water when taking acai tablets to avoid dehydration.

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