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A Preliminary Assessment of the Nutraceutical Potential of Acai Berry (Euterpe sp.) as a Potential Natural Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease

AL Nasser, Maryam N.; Mellor, Ian R.; Carter, Wayne G.


Maryam N. AL Nasser

Assistant Professor


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterised by progressive neuronal atrophy and the loss of neuronal function as a consequence of multiple pathomechanisms. Current AD treatments primarily operate at a symptomatic level to treat a cholinergic deficiency and can cause side effects. Hence, there is an unmet need for healthier lifestyles to reduce the likelihood of AD as well as improved treatments with fewer adverse reactions. Diets rich in phytochemicals may reduce neurodegenerative risk and limit disease progression. The native South American palm acai berry (Euterpe oleraceae) is a potential source of dietary phytochemicals beneficial to health. This study aimed to screen the nutraceutical potential of the acai berry, in the form of aqueous and ethanolic extracts, for the ability to inhibit acetyl- and butyryl-cholinesterase (ChE) enzymes and scavenge free radicals via 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl-hydrate (DPPH) or 2,2'-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS) assays. In addition, this study aimed to quantify the acai berry's antioxidant potential via hydrogen peroxide or hydroxyl scavenging, nitric oxide scavenging, lipid peroxidation inhibition, and the ability to reduce ferric ions. Total polyphenol and flavonoid contents were also determined. Acai aqueous extract displayed a concentration-dependent inhibition of acetyl- and butyryl-cholinesterase enzymes. Both acai extracts displayed useful concentration-dependent free radical scavenging and antioxidant abilities, with the acai ethanolic extract being the most potent antioxidant and displaying the highest phenolic and flavonoid contents. In summary, extracts of the acai berry contain nutraceutical components with anti-cholinesterase and antioxidant capabilities and may therefore provide a beneficial dietary component that limits the pathological deficits evidenced in AD.


AL Nasser, M. N., Mellor, I. R., & Carter, W. G. (2022). A Preliminary Assessment of the Nutraceutical Potential of Acai Berry (Euterpe sp.) as a Potential Natural Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease. Molecules, 27(15), Article 4891.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 30, 2022
Publication Date Jul 30, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2022
Journal Molecules
Electronic ISSN 1420-3049
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 15
Article Number 4891
Keywords Chemistry (miscellaneous); Analytical Chemistry; Organic Chemistry; Physical and Theoretical Chemistry; Molecular Medicine; Drug Discovery; Pharmaceutical Science
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