Acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) is a small tree that grows in dry areas of the Caribbean and South and Central America. The fruit of is small and red like a cherry. Besides the name acerola, it is widely known with 3 different names; Barbados cherry , West Indian cherry and Wild crapemyrtle. Acerola berry covers from 1% to 4.5 % vitamin C (1,000 – 4,500 mg/100 gr) in the edible portion of the fruit.
A Natural Source of Vitamin C
Vitamins have been produced as commodity chemicals and made usually available as inexpensive synthetic and semisynthetic source multivitamin dietary supplements, since the middle of the 20th century. Until the mid-1930s, when the initially commercial yeast-extract and semi-synthetic vitamin C supplement were sold, vitamins were obtained solely through food intake, and changes in diet can alter the types and amounts of vitamins ingested. Various vitamin C and multivitamin supplements contain ascorbic acid or ascorbate, which is the outer ring that surrounds the real vitamin C complex. They are generally chemically synthesized molecules manufactured in a test tube and are made from usually modified corn sugar. Acerola’s special high level of Vitamin C paired with the presence and synergistic effect of nature’s stabilizers (bioflavonoids, carotenoids) make it a preferred Vitamin C source.
Vitamin C is critical for many basic processes in the body. Vitamin C is important for bones and connective tissues, muscles, immune system and blood vessels. Withal helps the body absorb iron, which is needed for red blood cell production. For healthy women and men, the “Linus Pauling Institute” recommends a vitamin C dosage of at least 400 mg daily.
Vitamin C is responsible for producing collagen. Collagen is a protein that connects all fiber network, suchlike as tendons, skin, cartilage and other tissues in the body. Vitamin C plays an substantial role in the formation of collagen, which is the main structural protein in the skin.
Scurvy disease is prevented by enough intake of vitamin C. Scurvy is a problem characterised by general weakness, anaemia, gingivitis, and skin haemorrhages caused by a prolonged deficiency of vitamin C in the diet.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant. Antioxidants block some of the damage caused by free radicals, substances that damage DNA. Antioxidant properties of vitamin C have been demonstrated in many experiments in vitro. Vitamin C is implicated in preventing cancer due to its capability in scavenging free radicals and carcinogens, maintaining the integrity of connective tissue and improving immunocompetence and resistance to cancer. In a lab study reported in “Plant Foods for Human Nutrition” in 2011, researchers found that acerola may fight oxidative stress.
The role of vitamin C in the functioning of immune cells is well proven. Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate both the production and function of leukocytes, particularly neutrophils, lymphocytes and phagocytes. Lymphocytes (There are two main types B cells and T cells) produce antibodies that work along with phagocytes to fight infection.
A study by researchers at Texas Health Science Center, studied the white blood cells of 12 participant before and after each participant took 1 gram of vitamin C daily for 2 weeks. Experts then analyzed the immune cell types present in the blood as well as the capability of these cells to make antiviral compounds. The number of NK cells in the peripheral blood increased after 2 weeks of supplement with Vitamin C. While the number of T cells remained the same, they were more activated following vitamin C supplement. Experts concluded that this data suggests an increase in antiviral immunity after 2 weeks of 1g/day vitamin C supplement and the possible use of vitamin C to modulate the immune system in people.
According to research published in the “journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition“; combination of vitamin C and vitamin E strengthens the immune system. Participants (healthy male and female volunteers aged 22-55 years old) were administered vitamin C (1,000 mg per day), or synthetic vitamin E (400 mg per day) or vitamin C and synthetic vitamin E at the aforementioned dosages, for 28 days. The findings of the study openly demonstrated that the participants receiving the combination of vitamin C and vitamin E had the most developed parameters in immune system function as measured by blood levels of Interleukin-1B and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
Vitamin C , decrease cellular DNA damage that is the critical first step in cancer initiation and as well as reduce the inflammatory changes that allow a malignant cell to grow into a dangerous tumor. A prospective study that followed 870 men over a period of 25 years found that those who consumed more than 83 mg of ascorbic acid daily had a stunning, 64 percent reduction in lung cancer compared with those who consumed less than 63 mg per day. In the “Nurses’ Health Study“, premenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer who consumed an average of 205 mg/day of vitamin C from foods had a 63% lower risk of breast cancer than those who consumed an average of 70 mg/day.
A report in the “Lancet“, March 2001, stated that those with the maximum levels of vitamin C in their blood had one half the risk of death from all causes, including heart disease. Scientists analyzed the effect of vitamin C on both arterial stiffness and platelet aggregation. They provided vitamin C in a single 2000 mg oral dose, or placebo, to healthy male volunteers. Only 6 hours after supplementation, measures of arterial stiffness decreased by 10 percent in the supplemented group, and platelet aggregation by 35 percent, with no changes at all seen in the placebo group.
Vitamin C is important for maintaining a healthful heart and blood vessels by reducing oxidative stress and promoting vasodilation increasing nitric oxide bioavailability. Vitamin C helps in reducing the risk of stroke, a kind of cardiovascular disease. One study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that those with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood were associated with 42 percent lower stroke risk than those with the lowest concentrations.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)
Age-related macular degeneration is a problem that occurs when cells in the macula degenerate. Experimental findings suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts, and when taken in combination with other nutrients, can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss. Vitamin C (500 mg) appears to work with other antioxidants, including beta-carotene (15 mg), vitamin E (400 IU) and zinc (80 mg), to protect the eyes against developing macular degeneration. Results of this study, showed slows the progression of advanced age-related
macular degeneration by approximately 25 % and visual acuity loss by 19 % in people at high-risk for the.