Myocardial infarction, also known as heart attack, is a cardiovascular medical disease that generally occurs in middle-aged and elderly people. It seriously endangers the health of patients and even threatens their lives.
Myocardial infarction is the necrosis of the myocardium after ischemia (restricted or reduced blood flow), when the necrotic myocardium cannot be regenerated.
Prevent Scar Formation
How can the necrotic myocardium be repaired?
The human body replaces it with scar tissue, also known as cardiac remodeling. This is similar to growing a scar after a skin break, but the scar tissue that grows does not have the same function as normal skin tissue. Likewise, scar tissue in the heart is not equivalent to normal heart muscle tissue.
The most fatal situation of the myocardial scar is that the normal myocardium is altered with too many scars or abnormal components. It can neither restore the pre-infarct state nor remodel the normal healthy myocardium. In addition, it affects the structure and function of the heart since the reconstructed myocardial tissue lacks strength and would become thinner and larger.
Therefore, to prevent this bad repair, people usually use drugs to inhibit this myocardial scar or remodeling. Recently, scientists discovered that acai berries (Euterpe oleracea) can prevent myocardial remodeling.
Acai Berries to Prevent Cardiac Scarring
Recently, Amanda Menezes Figueiredo, a researcher from Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil, and her colleagues studied the effects of acai supplementation after myocardial infarction.
They performed an experiment using rats as an experimental animal model. Surprisingly, the results of acai supplementation showed significant improvements in reducing myocardial scarring after myocardial infarction. They claimed that four mechanisms are involved in the process:
- Acai berries could enhance myocardial energy metabolism in mice. It is known that myocardial infarction is often accompanied by impaired cardiac energy metabolism; therefore, enhancing myocardial energy metabolism can help alleviate the exacerbation of myocardial infarction caused by insufficient cardiac energy supply.
- Acai berries decreased cardiac oxidative stress in mice. In the study, acai berry suppressed the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and malondialdehyde (MDA) in the myocardium, both of which indicate oxidative damage of the heart.
- Acai berries reduced the inflammatory response in mice. The main manifestation was a decrease in the concentration of the anti-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-10 (IL-10), and inhibition of the development of inflammation.
- The study revealed that acai berries could reduce collagen deposition, which is beneficial in reducing myocardial fibrosis.
The research showed a dose-dependent effect of acai supplementation after a myocardial infarction attack. Increased doses of acai were more efficient in reducing scar tissue formation and improving cardiac function.
In fact, other scientists’ works suggested the heart-protective effects of acai berries several years ago. In a 2014 report published in BMC Complement Altern Med., researchers administered supplementation with an extract of acai seeds to rats with myocardial infarction for four consecutive weeks. They found reduced myocardial hypertrophy, decreased fibrosis, and remission of cardiac insufficiency.
In a 2020 report published in Arq Bras Cardiol, researchers supplemented rats with a diet containing five percent acai berry for six weeks and found that administration of a diet containing acai berry well-enhanced oxidative phosphorylation in rat heart mitochondria, increased ATP production, and improved cardiac energy metabolism. In addition, acai berry supplementation reduced the expression of Nrf2 in the rat myocardium, thereby restricting oxidative damage to the heart.
In conclusion, acai supplementation attenuated cardiac remodeling after myocardial infarction in rats. The mechanisms involved are improving energy metabolism, reducing oxidative stress, modulating inflammatory processes, and reducing fibrosis. Different doses of acai supplementation had a dose-dependent effect on cardiac remodeling.
Acai Berries for Health
Acai is a plant of the betel nut family native to the Brazilian Amazon and is considered a functional food due to its antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties.
The fruit pulp and seeds of acai are rich in a variety of phytochemicals. The pulp is commonly used in energy drinks, ice creams, juices, and pharmaceutical products. The seeds are high in fiber, polyphenols, and mineral salts. The pulp contains high amounts of lipids, sugars, proteins, and various vitamins.
Acai berry has a distinctive flavor, with soft flesh and a pleasant taste. In addition, it is a fresh berry and should be washed with running water, drained, and served on a plate before consumption.
Acai berries have many benefits for our health. They are high in anthocyanins, vitamin C, and vitamin E, all of which have antioxidant properties, and anthocyanins can improve vision and reduce the risk of severe myopia. Acai berry consumption on a regular basis can prevent myopia, improve vision, and promote eye health in people who use their eyes frequently.
In addition, acai berry boosts metabolism, speeds up the elimination of toxic waste, and has anti-aging properties. Moreover, acai berries are also rich in dietary fiber, amino acids, and other trace elements needed by the body, all of which have an important impact on strengthening the immune system.
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