Acerola powder derives from the fruit of the West Indian cherry tree that is native to southern Mexico, Central and South America. The fruit of the cherry tree is dried and the powder is formed from the inside of the seeds and sold as a nutritional supplement in capsule or tablet form by many supplement manufacturers. Acerola powder is purported to be a powerful anti-oxidant that is especially high in ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, and has many health benefits. As a nutritional supplement, acerola is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, therefore, consult your physician prior to use.
Acerola powder contains high amounts of vitamin C and quercitin, two powerful antioxidants that have many potential benefits. In a 2005 study published by the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,Investigators found that the acidic flavonoids in acerola posses antioxidant properties. Antioxidants neutralize the effects of free radicals, toxins that may cause cellular damage and lead to a number of diseases and illnesses. By neutralizing free radicals, acerola powder may boost your immune system to better fight off illness and disease.
The vitamin C and quercetin found in acerola powder may have anti-carcinogenic properties. Carcinogens are compounds that may cause cancer due to their ability to damage the genome or to disrupt cellular metabolic processes. According to the "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology," acerola cherry extract may have a protective effect against cancer in the lungs of mice. More studies are needed to determine if there is a link between acerola extract supplementation and cancer prevention.
Acerola powder has been used in many topical skin treatments and medications, due to its high vitamin C content. Topical vitamin C may help in the formation of collagen, fibrous tissue that makes up healthy skin. Vitamin C also helps promote the growth of skin cells, as well as increasing the healing rate of scars. Acerola powder may also block the production of melanin, which may enhance the appearance of healthy skin.
In a May 2008 study conducted by the "Journal of Food Science," investigators assessed the toxicity of acerola polyphenols found in many dietary and nutritional supplements. The results of the investigation suggest that acerola supplementation has a very low toxicity and is considered to be safe for human consumption. Since many of the compounds that make up acerola powder are water-soluble and readily excreted from your body, acerola powder is considered to be a safe and effective nutritional supplement.