Antioxidant Acai Berry: Can it Help Autism?

Pronounced ah-SAH-ee the grape-like acai berry grows on tall palm trees in the Brazilian rainforest of the Amazon jungle. Viewed on the tree, they look like gigantic grape vines clumped together high above the ground. Ounce for ounce, the acai has the highest antioxidant activity known to man. Antioxidant activity is measured by the ORAC value which tells a food’s effectiveness in fighting free radicals. The ORAC value for the acai far surpasses all the fruits at the top of the list: cranberry, blueberry, and plums.

For children with autism, oxidative stress is an underlying issue. These renegade particles cause stress upon our cells, even damaging cells and their proteins and causing inflammation. This inflammation can result in many health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and autism. Antioxidants combat this stress by overcoming the free radicals and eliminating them.  For children with autism, a wholesome diet, exercise, and stress control will allow the antioxidant to work best.

At the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Domenico Pratico and his colleagues studied autistic children’s blood vessel function. They took urinary samples from 26 autistic children and 12 non-disabled controls. They found that autistic children’s levels of isoprostane (caused when free radicals attack fat cells) was nearly double compared to control children. This showed high levels of oxidative stress. These findings agreed with earlier studies indicating that autistic children have impaired antioxidant defenses—producing higher levels of problem particles and lower levels of antioxidants.

It is common knowledge that children with a balanced diet have improved behavior and the highly effective antioxidant acai berry would be a marvelous addition to any diet. Of course, every child case is different. Food allergies and diabetes would definitely affect results. The acai berry is a food item and makes no medical claims.