Acerola Cherry extract supplement health benefit, research studies
September 20 2017
by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

There are several different species of acerola, including Malpighia glabra, M. punicifolia, and M. emarginata. This fruit has one of the highest content of natural vitamin C per gram of fruit. Malphighia glabra is a small, fruit-bearing tree that grows in hot, dry climates. The tree is sensitive to wind and not very tolerant of cold. It grows to about 15 feet high, with evergreen leaves and small, pink flowers. The small, red fruits look like common cherries, blending sweet and sour in a juicy burst. Because the thin-skinned fruits are easily bruised and quickly deteriorate once picked, the fresh fruit is not distributed commercially. Acerola grows in South Texas, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and the northern part of South America. It can also be found in India.

Benefits, how it can help you
Acerola has been studied in the laboratory and has been found to be a powerful antioxidant and have anti-cancer potential. It contains polyphenols and is sold in juice form, jams, ices, gelatins, sweets or liquors.

Use with other dietary supplements
Can an acerola supplement be taken the same day as pomegranate, astragalus, acai, goji berry, ahcc, nattokinase, lyprinol extract, serrapeptase, mangosteen, curcumin, saw palmetto herb or graviola?
   I have not come across any research that would preclude its use with the supplements you mention.

Benefits of Acerola

This plant has vitamin C along with anthocyanins and quercitrin.

Antioxidant activity of dietary fruits, vegetables, and commercial frozen fruit pulps.
J Agric Food Chemistry. 2005.
Fruits, vegetables, and commercial frozen pulps consumed in the Brazilian diet were analyzed for antioxidant activities. The anthocyanin-rich samples showed the highest, concentration-dependent, antioxidant activities in both systems. The neutral and acidic flavonoids of red cabbage, red lettuce, black bean, mulberry, Gala apple peel, jambolao, acai frozen pulp, mulberry frozen pulps, and the acidic flavonoids of acerola frozen pulps showed the highest antioxidant activities. There was no relationship between total phenolics content, vitamin C, and antioxidant activity, suggesting that the antioxidant activity is a result of a combination of different compounds having synergic and antagonistic effects.

Cancer prevention
Effect of acerola cherry extract on cell proliferation and activation of ras signal pathway at the promotion stage of lung tumorigenesis in mice.
J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 2002.
Results suggest that acerola cherry extract regulates abnormal cell growth at the promotion stage of lung tumorigenesis in mice treated with NNK as a result of suppression of the initiation stage.

I take acetaminophen daily for arthritis. Could acerola cherry supplement help protect my liver?
   Perhaps, but I have not seen such studies. Acetylcysteine could be an option.

DNA protection
Genet Mol Biology. 2016. Protective effects of acerola juice on genotoxicity induced by iron in vivo. Metal ions such as iron can induce DNA damage by inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress. Vitamin C is one of the most widely consumed antioxidants worldwide, present in many fruits and vegetables, especially in Malpighia glabra L., popularly known as acerola, native to Brazil. Acerola is considered a functional fruit due to its high antioxidant properties and phenolic contents, and therefore is consumed to prevent diseases or as adjuvant in treatment strategies. Here, the influence of ripe and unripe acerola juices on iron genotoxicity was analyzed in vivo using the comet assay and micronucleus test. The comet assay results showed that acerola juice exerted no genotoxic or antigenotoxic activity. When compared to iron group, the pre-treatment with acerola juices exerted antimutagenic activity, decreasing significantly micronucleus mean values in bone marrow.

Acerola cherry flavor
Volatile components have been isolated from the fruit. One hundred fifty constituents have been identified in the aroma concentrate, from which furfural, hexadecanoic acid, 3-methyl-3-butenol, and limonene were found to be the major constituents. The amounts of esters, 3-methyl-3-butenol, and their various esters are thought to contribute to the unique flavor of the fruit.

Safety research study, adverse effects
Toxicological evaluation of polyphenol extract from Acerola fruit.
J Food Science. 2008. Research and Development, Nichirei Foods, Inc., Mihama-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba, Japan.
Acerola polyphenols were found to have radical scavenging activities and inhibitory effects on both alpha-glucosidase and advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) production. Our results show them to be safe.

Anaphylactic reaction to apple juice containing acerola: cross-reactivity to latex due to prohevein.
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002.

I researched the original study that was published in 2002 in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology on which all of the cautions about acerola being cross reactive for the latex protein were based, the conclusion were from a single case where the subject had a contact and internal allergy to latex. Is this conclusive enough for someone who suspects a latex allergy to avoid it? Does acerola in fact contain the prohevein protein?
   I don't know enough about the intricacies of acerola composition to provide a good answer.

Nutrient composition
The acerola fruit: composition, productive characteristics and economic importance
Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2006. Universidade do Vale do Itajai, Itajai, Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Acerola fruit origin is from South of Mexico, Central America and Septentrional area of South America. Acerola has a subglobulose drupa fruit with three seeds which account between the 19 - 25% of the total weight. The fruit shows green color when it is developing, which changes to yellow and red tones when it is mature. Each plant produces annually 20 - 30 kg of fruits. This fruit contents macro and micronutrients: proteins (0.2-0.8 g/100 g), fats (0.2-0.8 g per 100 grams), carbohydrates (3-7 g/100 g), mineral salts (iron 0.24, calcium 11, phosphorus 17 mg/100 g) and vitamins (thiamine 0.02, riboflavine 0.07, piridoxine 8 mg/100 g). Its high content in vitamin C (695 to 4827 mg/100 g) is remarkable. It also has carotenoids and bioflavonoids which provide important nutritive value and its potential use as antioxidant. Brazil has a climate and soil appropriate for the culture of acerola fruit.

Physico-chemical characterization of acerola (Malpighia glabra) produced in Maringa, Parana State, Brazil
Arch Latinoam Nutrition 1997.
The acerola Malpighia glabra, originally from the Antillas and North of South America, known by the people as cereja-das-antilhas or cereja-do-para distinguish itself by its high content of vitamin C. The ripe and fresh acerola fruits utilized in experiments, were obtained from farmers of Maringa region, Parana State, Brazil. The fruits were hulled in steel sieve with 25 mesh and the bagasse (seeds and hull) discarded. These physico-chemical analysis were realized in the pulp: vitamin C, moisture, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, lipids and fatty acids composition. We also determined the content of ash and cadmium, calcium, lead, copper, chrome, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc minerals. The average content of vitamin C was 1.7 g/100 g of pulp, it was higher than the one for other fruits, like pineapple, araca, cashew, guava, kiwi, orange, lemon, and strawberry and lower than the camu-camu sylvestral fruit of Amazonia. The contents of moisture, carbohydrate, fiber, lipids and minerals were not significantly different when compared to other fruits.

Is there any company making an acerola juice, drink, or beverage?
   I am not aware of acerola juice being sold, but perhaps if you do a thorough google search you can find a company that sells an acerola drink or beverage.

Food preservation
Meat Sci. 2015. Effects of acerola fruit extract on sensory and shelf-life of salted beef patties from grinds differing in fatty acid composition.. The effects of added acerola fruit extract on sensory and shelf-life of beef patties were evaluated. Ground beef was obtained from young bulls fed one of four diets (CON: control, LIN: linseed, CLA: conjugated linoleic acid, LINCLA: LIN plus CLA). Pre-salted (1.8% w/w) beef patties (7.7% fat) with (0.15% w/w) or without acerola were packed in modified atmosphere (80%O2:20%CO2) and displayed in a retail case for 8days. There were no interactions between diet and antioxidant treatments. LIN and/or CLA had no effect on color and lipid stability during display. However, LIN increased n-3 fatty acids in beef and tended to increase intensity of rancid flavor. Addition of acerola extended shelf-life by at least 3days by improving color and lipid stability and a decreased trend in intensity of rancid flavor of patties without affecting microbial counts. Thus, the use of acerola as a natural antioxidant can be considered an effective method to retard color and lipid oxidation in beef patties.

Now Foods, buy Acerola 4:1 Extract Powder supplement

NOW Acerola Powder is one of nature's highest sources of vitamin C. The fruit can yield up to 3,000 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fresh weight, but on the average yields around 1,500 mg. This Powder is a 4:1 extract that yields 180 mg of vitamin C per teaspoon and tastes great!

Buy Acerola extract powder or pill

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Level Teaspoon (3.2 g)
Servings per container: about 53
  Amount Per Serving: % Daily Value
Calories 15  
Total Carbohydrate 3 g 1%*
Vitamin C (from Acerola and Ascorbic Acid) 160 mg 267%
Acerola Powder Complex (4:1 Extract) (Berry) 3.2 g
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
†Daily Value not established.

Buy Acerola product or other healthy choices such as acai, pomegranate, maqui, mangosteen
Suggested Use, dosage: As a dietary supplement, take a third, half, or one level teaspoon acerola extract powder a few times a week, mixed into fruit, vegetable juice or water.
Supplement Facts
Serving Size 1 Level Teaspoon (3.6 g)
Vitamin C 180 mg 300%
Acerola Powder (4:1 Extract) (Berry) 3.6 g (3,600 mg)