Do you remember Beta Carotene? In the 1980â€™s, no one but doctors and nutritionists had ever heard that beta carotene even existed, until one day when some technician found that the high BC content in carrots does a lot of good for heart patients.
So in 1992 a major study (18,000 people) was done on the Antioxidant properties of beta carotene by giving it in pill form to cancer patients. It failed miserably.
Researchers are still scratching their heads over why it was such an utter failure, even though beta carotene is a form of Antioxidant.
Vitamin E has a similar story. It too is an Antioxidant; in fact it is the one that the ORAC scale is based upon. Unlike the solid beta carotene pill incident, Vitamin E is in liquid form, so itâ€™s getting fully digested for sure, yet its effects as an antioxidant are pretty nominal.
Aside: Itâ€™s a pretty shocking story tooâ€¦ Two large studies involving more than 127,000 people in total were run in 1990 after Vitamin E was found to help Heart patients. Because of this, by the year 2000 an estimated 23 million US citizens were taking Vitamin E dailyâ€¦ But in recent years 7 more such studies have been found to show little or no improvement at all!
Anyway, let me lay down one other scenario, a more modern one. Youâ€™ve probably heard the French paradox, but if not, hereâ€™s a recap:
French peopleâ€™s diet is the only one higher in saturated fats and cholesterol than the diet of Americans. Itâ€™s been well proven. However, with that diet, you might expect for the French to have a higher incident rate of Heart Disease than Americans, but they clearly do not.
Researchers believe that this paradox is caused by the very high amounts of Anthocyanins in red wine, which the French consume way more than the average amount of daily. Anthocyanins, of course, are one of the most potent Antioxidants.
So, what do you think will happen if they pack a pill full of Anthocyanins?
Iâ€™d be willing to bet the exact same thing would happen that happened with beta carotene and vitamin Eâ€¦ Nada.
These examples are hard evidence that Antioxidants must come in natural form in order to be effective free-radical scavengers. It makes perfect sense to meâ€¦ What is free-radical scavenging but something acting alive and moving around? If you stop that thing cold in its tracks, like say, compressing it into a cold, lifeless pill, then how is that going to preserve the scavenging property?
So, my overall point here today is to get your Antioxidants from a fibrous form, such as berries or berry pulp. Donâ€™t let it get encapsulated or worse yet, made into a solid pill.
Eating the berries off the tree is the best way to get those free scavengers rampaging of course, but since everyone outside of Amazonia doesnâ€™t have that option, your next best bet is to find it processed with consideration for preserving the fiber. Frozen pulp may be the best way to do that, but it really depends on the processing technique.
As for freeze dried Acai, I donâ€™t claim to have all the answers. It seems like that would stop the scavenging dead in its tracks, but then again, freeze-dried Acai has the highest ORAC ratingâ€¦ And specifically with MonaVie, their patented process also includes re-mixing their freeze-dried Acai with fresh pulpâ€¦ So perhaps that gets both the high ORAC rating and the still-moving scavengers both inside at once. And who knows? Maybe the ones still moving can reanimate the frozen ones!