A functional food based on acai berries and glucosamine improves the flexibility of joints that no longer function optimally. Researchers at the private NIS Labs [nislabs.com] discovered this after conducting a small study on 14 people aged between 44 and 84 who had joint problems, but not serious ones.
The researchers were working for MonaVie [monavie.com], the manufacturer of MonaVie Active, a fruit and berry blend drink. MonaVie Active contains acai, pomegranate, wolfberry, camu camu, passion fruit, aronia, acerola, blueberries, apricots, red and white grapes, lychees, banana, kiwi, pear, cranberries and plums. But the most important ingredient is acai.
Acai berries [see below left] contain phenols like chrysoeriol [structural formula below right]. Studies have shown that acai extracts have a strong antioxidant effect.
The researchers gave their subjects 12 bottles of MonaVie Active. Every day the subjects drank 120 ml of the drink, which contained the fruit extracts and also 1500 mg glucosamine-HCl.
Glucosamine is a building block for joints. The scientific establishment is sceptical about glucosamine, but independent studies have shown that supplementation improves joint function. There are also disappointing studies, but most of them were financed by pharmaceutical companies with other competing products on the market.
After several weeks the subjects noticed that their joint mobility had improved and was less painful. The lower the oxidative stress in their blood cells, the less pain they had. It seems that acai's antioxidant effect inhibits the inflammatory processes that cause the pain. One slight drawback: there was no control group.
The table above shows that the subjects gained mobility in their damaged joints. The smaller the areas of reduced range of motion [ARROM], the greater the freedom of movement in the damaged joint. The acai+glucosamine supplementation also improved the ease with which the subjects could perform ordinary movements such as standing up, walking and stair use [ADL].
Those who decide to buy cheap glucosamine [glucosamine.com] and combine it with acai supplements will have to work out the effective dose of acai-extract themselves. MonaVie is not prepared to divulge how much acai MonaVie Active contains. "This is considered one of the company's greatest intellectual assets", the manufacturer claims on its website. [Link]
J Med Food. 2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):702-11.