Earlier this morning, a colleague sent me a newspaper clipping with the headline, “Stop Use of Acai Berry Products.” The article outlined an increasingly common situation of nutritional products being contaminated (or intentionally spiked) with pharmaceutical drugs. In this case, the article indicated three different acai-containing products that were found to be contaminated with sibutramine (a dangerous stimulant used in FDA-approved weight loss drugs).
The newspaper article was somewhat misguided in its advice to “stop using acai berry products,” and would have been more accurate to advise readers to “stop using THESE specific acai berry products.” It’s unfortunate that a few unscrupulous people can break the law by spiking their nutrition products with dangerous drugs; but just because a few fly-by-night companies try to use this practice (and get caught), does not mean that consumers should completely avoid a certain nutrient. Instead, it means that consumers must be careful about who they buy their nutrition products from, and should be sure to purchase only from a reputable manufacturer that adheres to Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMPs, a set of stringent quality standards by which reputable nutrition products are manufactured).
The acai berry products with perhaps the most extensive research database (MonaVie) undergo a wide range of quality control steps to ensure the absence of microbes, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, or other unwanted contaminants. MonaVie acai berry products have been the subject of dozens of scientific studies that have shown their effectiveness and safety.
According to a recent scientific article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements (“An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Acai;” 9(2):128–147, 2012), acai-berry products are considered both safe and effective for a wide range of health benefits. In particular, MonaVie products were highlighted for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-supporting benefits. In terms of safety, acai-berry products from MonaVie were specifically noted as “likely safe” (the highest safety ranking) —even when consumed in extremely high amounts (up to 140 grams at one time). Finally, acai-berry products from MonaVie were specifically highlighted as one of the only commercial brands of acai used in clinical trials and subjected to third-party testing.
Back to the newspaper article; I think that the reporter was trying to alert readers to the possible danger of consuming contaminated/spiked products, and for that, I applaud their efforts. But as both a researcher and consumer of nutritional products, I cannot overemphasize the importance of always selecting your nutrition products from a reputable manufacturer that follows Good Manufacturing Practices, conducts extensive quality control, and supports their products with scientific research. MonaVie products satisfy each of these three important criteria and, as such, should be considered the leading choice for consumers looking for acai-based nutrition products.
Thanks for reading,
About the Author: Dr. Shawn Talbott is MonaVie’s Vice President for Innovation & Education. He holds a MS in exercise science (UMass Amherst), a PhD in nutritional biochemistry (Rutgers), and is the author of 10 books about nutrition and health.