Research suggests that the potential heart health benefits of the acai berry maybe linked to a flavone known as Velutin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Acai berries have been used in medicine and as a staple in the diet of many Indian tribes for centuries; they have been shown to possess extremely strong antioxidant properties.
In the recent study carried out at the Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences USA, Velutin was pitched against three other structurally similar and well-studied flavones; luteolin, Apigenin and Chrysoeriol. Velutin exhibited the greatest potency amongst these flavones in reducing TNF-alpha; a small cell-signalling protein molecule (or cytokine) that is involved in systemic inflammation (inflammation throughout the body) TNF-alpha is capable of inducing inflammation, fever, programmed cell death, viral replication and others. Velutin was also shown to inhibit certain signalling pathways involved in the production of TNF-alpha, which has been implicated in a variety of human diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, major depression and inflammatory bowel disease.
The study was the first time that the potent anti-inflammatory properties of the compound Velutin have been reported. Dr Alex Schauss, co-author of the study says.
“The finding is of importance in offering us an understanding of how this low molecular weight compound could, along with other flavones found in acai, exhibit strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant inhibitory properties in the brain that has a bearing on the progression of neurodegenerative diseases”