Acai supplements come in all shapes and forms. You can find acai pills, acai powders, acai juices and capsules. Which is one is best for you might not be the best choice for someone else, so just take your time and pick on that fits your lifestyle. Acai pills are normally the easiest to fit into your day. However, you have to be careful and choose ones that were harvested and manufactured with care. Ones that are high quality. How do you do that? Here are some tips (Further explanations are at the bottom)…
- Freeze Drying: Acai berry is a fruit, so of course if it’s exposed to too much heat then it can very much lower the nutritional value it provides. If it’s freeze dried, then they’re able to control the quality and ensure that the majority of nutrients are left in tact.
- Skip the Extract: You are likely to come across acai berry extracts. Skip ’em. When in an extract form, they’re only using a small bit of the skin and pulp. That’s not what you want. You want a supplement that uses as much of the fruit as possible. Most extracts won’t carry near the amount of nutrients as other forms.
- Skip the Drum Dried or Sprayed Supplements: This is because of the heat factor again. When the berries are drum dried or sprayed, they are exposed to heat in order to lose as much of the water as possible. This in turn means that many of the nutrients are also lost.
- Read the Label: No matter what you’re buying, you should always read the label. Weight loss supplements are no different. Take the time to read the label. If you’re buying online and aren’t given the opportunity to see the label (they should make it clearly readable) then don’t buy it. Look for a supplement that says it’s been freeze-dried. You should also try to find ones that have a high ORAC value. If it’s truly a good product then it will probably tell you how much Omega fatty acids are in it, too.
As you can see, we’re big fans of freeze drying. But it’s much easier for a company to use spray drying or drum drying. It cuts their costs, is less labor intensive and it means they can produce more product in a shorter amount of time. But cutting corners to mass produce supplements simply means they aren’t providing the customer with a high quality product. Nutrients are lost. Antioxidants are lost. Fiber is lost. I don’t know about you, but if I’m spending money on something then I want something that actually gives me the best bang for my buck.
Extracts, extracts. It seems to be a buzz word these days. Sometimes you’ll see it promoted as a 4:1 extract. But don’t let that fool you. Whenever extracts are created, they normally concentrate on one part of the plant. The nutrients and antioxidants that acai berries are known for come from the entire fruit. It isn’t found in one little section, so it doesn’t make any sense to do it.
During the freeze drying process, the fruit is dehydrated like in some of the other methods. But it’s being frozen. Then there’s the smallest amount of heat possible applied to induce the frozen water portions found within the fruit to melt away and separate from it. Each step of the freeze drying process focuses on not losing the valuable nutrients inside. Each phase is crucial. If not carried out properly then it could destroy exactly what they’re trying to preserve. It does take longer, and therefore freeze-dried acai berry supplements often cost a bit more. But if you want the most nutrients and antioxidants then it’s worth it (not to mention the amazing aroma!).
An easier way to process acai berries to use in supplements is spray drying. A solution is mixed together that is then sprayed on them. The mixture travels through a nozzle, straight into a hot vapor stream. The moisture quickly disappears, leaving behind solid particles that are then put into containers. This process is often used in things like skim milk power.
This is an extremely fast processing method. However, the berries are exposed to unnaturally high temperatures and nutrients are lost.
With drum drying, a solution is mixed and applied to heated drums. When ready, they scrape the particles from the surface with special instruments or even sometimes just a knife. This uses the most heat of all and produces sub-par ingredients that are added to supplements.
Other considerations in choosing supplements
What is the source of the supplement?
Regardless of how it’s processed, if the berries used aren’t very good then no matter what you do… the ingredients you end up with won’t be very good. The acai berries need to be carefully tended and harvested so that they’re starting with a quality source to begin with.
Also, you should know that some of the lower quality supplements use a lot of the seed. The berry’s seed is ground up and used. While that isn’t bad “per se”, it isn’t great. The most nutritious parts of the berry are in the pulp and skin. But company’s that do this do so because they can produce more product in a shorter span of time since the berries are 90 percent seed and 10 percent pulp and skin.
Reviews of different Supplements are below: