The maqui berry, a plant commonly found in some countries of South America, has shown many promising health benefits. Its berries and juices are used for medicinal purposes owing to its high antioxidant content. Let’s see below if its high antioxidant activity could help in improving your weight.
Maqui berry is filled with numerous antioxidants that could aid in reducing oxidative stress and lower glycemic biomarkers, especially in patients with high blood sugars. Due to these reasons, they are often manufactured as dietary supplements (nutraceuticals) and are used as an ingredient in different menus, thus they may help in losing weight.
Since these berries are often used as an anti-obesity agent, many scientists have experimented and further explored their potency. Find out more below about this amazing berry: its nutritional value, medical benefits, and what doctors say about using these nutraceuticals.
What Is Maqui Berry?
Maqui berry, also known as Chilean Wineberry (Aristotelia chilensis), is an evergreen shrub that bears dark purple berries native to Chile and Argentina. It can be consumed fresh or in juice form.
The whole fruit is commonly found as a freeze-dried powder, often found in a number of dietary supplements including capsules and liquid extracts. Once freeze-dried, they can be added to smoothies, lemonade, yogurt, cereal, porridge, fruit juices, or even in salad dressings.
Nutritional Value Of Maqui Berry
Here’s a list of the potential health benefits that the organic maqui berry powder could provide with a serving portion of 2 teaspoons (about 5 grams):
|Per 5 grams||2 teaspoons|
|Total Fats||0 g|
Organic maqui powder is composed mainly of carbs, of which a portion comes fiber, giving rise to a caloric content of about 20 kcal. The powder is fat-free and protein-free.
It also has few amounts of sugars and offers small potassium and calcium content. However, according to the data extracted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this 2-teaspoon serving only provides around 2% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). It also has a blend of essential vitamins, such as vitamins A, C, B1, B3, B9, and the fatty acid, omega-6, as well.
Health Benefits Of Maqui Berry
Though often compared with other berries such as the açai berry, the maqui berry offers numerous health benefits, which include flavonoids, particularly the anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, both of which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that could benefit our body.
Rigorous studies using anthocyanins have shown that it has anti-inflammatory effects that help prevent cardiovascular diseases by inhibiting the inflammatory process, the endothelial function, and the harmful nitrous oxide production. Another plant study using berries, vegetables, and cereals that are rich in anthocyanins has found improved levels of the ‘bad cholesterol’ (low-density lipoprotein or LDL), total triglycerides, and other biomarkers.
Improve Dry Eyes
In a small pilot study where the adult participants had moderately dry eyes for a sixty-day period took maqui berry extract orally every day, at a dosage of either 30 milligrams or 60 milligrams. At around 30 days of treatment, their tear fluid volume increased and their scores on the Dry Eye-Related Quality of Life Score significantly decreased after supplementation of both dosages. At the end of the two-month experiment, the tear fluid volume slightly dropped in the group taking 30 milligrams, while the group taking the 60 milligrams had consistent improvement. More studies are still needed to further prove this claim.
Blood Glucose Management
Another remarkable type of anthocyanin found in maqui berries is delphinidin. Delphinidin is a purple-colored pigment that occurs in a variety of berries, eggplants, roselles, and wine.
In one study where participants were diagnosed with prediabetes, the subjects were given a single dose of a standardized delphinidin-rich maqui berry extract which significantly reduced the fasting blood glucose and insulin levels of the subjects.
Additionally, according to a study made by Alvarado et al., the adults who took maqui berry extract everyday for 3 consecutive months had lower insulin and glucose levels, lower LDL, increased ‘good cholesterol’ (high-density lipoprotein or HDL), and decreased glycosylated hemoglobin levels (commonly called as hemoglobin A1c or Hb1Ac), which detects prediabetes and diagnose diabetes.
A similar study was conducted using the standardized maqui berry extract, which appears to be a natural agent that could control post-prandial glucose levels since it can inhibit the sodium-glucose co-transporter in the small intestine.
Healthy Gastrointestinal Tract
As we have emphasized above, the maqui berry has many antioxidants that could help in protecting human tissues against harmful oxidative stress which can negatively impact one’s immunity. Polyphenols, also called phytochemicals, are further classified into four primary groups: flavonoids (under this category is anthocyanin), phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans.
We’ll give stress on these polyphenols only ⎻ since they can act as antioxidant molecules. They react with the gut’s microbiota to increase the good and helpful bacteria, while also at the same time, lowering the likelihood of bad bacteria. Another remarkable study has shown that the gut microbiota can act alongside polyphenols to increase their bioavailability in our digestive tract.
Another study showed that albeit a great number of the maqui berry’s polyphenols are lost during gastrointestinal digestion in vitro (in glass experiment), they still have great potential as antioxidant agents. Moreover, the addition of maqui berry powder in cookies is also considered a valuable strategy to increase the consumption of health-promoting ingredients in a diet that may include convenience foods.
The flavonoids and the ellagic acid in the maqui berry can fight against inflammation. Diet is crucial in order to boost our immune systems to fight oxidative stress that causes these inflammations. Improving the intake of antioxidants could be helpful in preventing inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
A preliminary study using mouse models of osteoporosis showed that the maqui berry extract can be a promising agent in preventing bone loss in osteopenic conditions by inhibiting bone resorption and stimulating bone formation.
More research is still warranted to further testify to the potential health benefits of the maqui berry in preventing cardiovascular diseases, dry eyes, and diabetes since the mentioned studies above were only preliminary studies that also used very few human participants.
Its effectiveness in increasing energy and stamina, alleviating nociceptive pain, and preventing fatigue, cancer, weight loss, appetite suppression, and anti-aging are still contradicting up to date.
Maqui Berry For Weight Loss: Is It Really Effective?
So, we’re down to the final question ⎻ is maqui berry good for weight loss? Well, there are limited studies that support its weight loss effectivity.
The maqui berry’s anthocyanins provide astounding antioxidant results. Some studies show that this flavonoid can improve the lipid profile which could ultimately lead to weight gain.
Also, we note that the maqui berry powder has been used in various researches (like the lipid studies mentioned above) since it was deemed suitable for the production of nutraceutical tablets for rapid disintegration and release of several bioactive compounds, which could benefit the body. Most studies found in science and medical web portals say that they are good for losing weight.
You might also find several online stores that sell these maqui berries, like Amazon and Vitamin Express, however, these powders and supplementary capsules are all considered nutraceuticals. In consonance with the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), they cannot recommend the use of any dietary supplements or nutraceuticals, or nonprescription products for managing obesity (with weight gain as the root cause). Still, lifestyle changes and proven medical therapies remain the mainstays in managing weight.
Since the potential health benefits of the maqui berry supplements and powder is still disputed, especially in its weight loss effects, it would still be more helpful to ask for advice from your medical provider since prescription and non-prescription drugs (like this nutraceutical) are almost always just the same. Still, more investigations are needed to support the promising benefits of the maqui berry.
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