23 Dec 2020

Covid-19, a study on the healing potential of açai

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Based on the opinion of medical experts that strengthening the immune system is the best defence against Covid-19, a 'superfood' may be an effective protection against contracting an unprecedented health disease.

The açai berry , with its anti-inflammatory properties, may be a potential treatment for some Covid-19 symptoms, according to a Canadian study. Researchers from the University of Toronto presented the latest updates on this study during a virtual forum called 'Superfood Acai Berry Against Covid-19 Symptoms: How to Harness its Nutrients' recently organised by the Philippine company Organique, Inc.

"Organique has always believed in 'prevention rather than cure'. This is what has continually compelled us to provide an affordable, safe and effective immunity-boosting supplement powered by the açai super berry," Cathy Salimbangon, CEO and President of Organique, told reporters during the webinar. "The results of the University of Toronto study could be revolutionary in these days of Covid-19."

Since the outbreak of this new virus earlier this year, it has been shown that it can trigger the body's acute inflammatory response, causing serious complications such as cardiac and pulmonary inflammation. Early medical studies have shown that açai berry extracts can potentially control the body's inflammatory response within normal levels. In addition, it can significantly reduce NLRP3-mediated inflammation, which stimulates the body's response to infection and stress.

The NLRP 3 gene provides instructions for the production of a protein called cryopyrin. Cryopyrin is a member of a family of proteins found in the fluid inside blood cells. NLR proteins are involved in the immune system, helping to initiate and regulate the immune system's response to injury, toxins or invasion by microorganisms.

These are the conclusions of Dr Ana Andreazza, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She said: 'Açai was effective as an anti-inflammatory. Importantly, it has a very similar effect on the NLRP3 cell as damaged mitochondria, as we have seen."

An earlier study also revealed that açai can also prevent mental stress, another problem caused by the pandemic and its socio-economic consequences, such as financial uncertainty, economic crisis and long periods of isolation.

The promising medical use of the açai berry was also highlighted by another study in the Philippines conducted by Dr Joseph Lee, section chief of the Stone Center Fatima University Medical Center and chairman of the urology section of the Empire Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

"For the duration that we have been givingaçai to our patients, we have noticed that they are stable and that there are no erratic changes even though they are in maintenance for high liver and blood enzyme - and these are subject to change. Basically, through continuous monitoring of all our patients and their responses toaçai, we have found that açairemains a most promising superfood that can probably meet all demands," he noted.

Acai berries on palm tree

Although much of the research work on the açai berry is in its early stages, researchers remain optimistic that it will open doors in the fight against the resulting pandemic worldwide.

"Within the next six months we can see if it can be shared globally as an effective treatment. We can see if it can treat the virus, and if so, be used for prevention, as well as for actual symptoms." We will also monitor whether there will be any side effects in Covid-19 patients between two and five years," said Dr Michael Farkouh of their ongoing study, with clinical trials expected to conclude by the end of the first quarter of 2021. We expect the first patient to be enrolled in the coming weeks." The first phase will be conducted in Canada and Brazil."

For the lead researcher and director of the Peter Munk Centre of Excellence in Multinational Clinical Trials, the beauty of their study is that it can be done remotely. He explained: "We can send the extract or the placebo and monitor them for any need for hospitalisation. We will monitor them on day 1, day 15 and day 30 for regular monitoring of their clinical status."

Expecting the study to be a success, Dr Sonny Villoria, an integrative medicine specialist and wellness expert, noted that it "can make a big difference in a country like the Philippines, where many cannot afford Covid care". If proven effective, the integrative wellness expert added that "this is just another reason why the açai berry should be a staple in our lifestyle".

Harvesting açai

Source: Businessmirror

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