Acerola

Name: Acerola

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

For the Consumer

Applies to ascorbic acid: oral capsule, oral capsule extended release, oral capsule liquid filled, oral granule, oral liquid, oral lozenge/troche, oral powder, oral powder for solution, oral powder for suspension, oral solution, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable, oral tablet extended release, oral wafer

Along with its needed effects, ascorbic acid (the active ingredient contained in Acerola) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking ascorbic acid:

Less common or rare - with high doses
  • Side or lower back pain

Some side effects of ascorbic acid may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common or rare - with high doses
  • Diarrhea
  • dizziness or faintness (with the injection only)
  • flushing or redness of skin
  • headache
  • increase in urination (mild)
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach cramps

Usual Adult Dose for Scurvy

Oral, IM, IV, subcutaneously: 100 to 250 mg once or twice daily for a minimum of two weeks.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Urinary Acidification

Oral, IM, IV, subcutaneously: 500 mg every 6 to 8 hours.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Scurvy

Oral, IM, IV, subcutaneously: 100 to 300 mg/day in divided doses for a minimum of two weeks.

Toxicology

Vitamin C is readily excreted by the body and is not typically associated with toxicity.

History

Acerola is believed to originate from the Yucatan. 3 Traditionally, the fruits have been used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, and liver disorders. Both species of Malpighia have been reported to be excellent sources of vitamin C. However, the fruit of M. emarginata is known more accurately as acerola and is one of the richest sources of vitamin C known. 1

Chemistry

Acerola contains from 1% to 4.5% vitamin C (1000 to 4500 mg/100 g) as ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids in the edible portion of the fruit. This far exceeds the content of vitamin C in peeled oranges (about 0.05% or 50 mg/100 g). 1 The content of vitamin C in acerola varies with ripeness (highest in green and lowest in fully ripened fruit), season, and climate.

Vitamin C analysis regarding acerola storage after picking finds freezing (-18°C) the fruits to be the best way to preserve vitamin C percentage, as compared with room temperature or refrigeration. 4 Older reports evaluating ascorbic acid content in acerola are available. 5 , 6

In addition, acerola contains vitamin A (4300 to 12,500 IU/100 g), at about the same level as in carrots. Other constituents include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, bioflavonoids, phosphorus, malic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, and sugars dextrose, fructose, and sucrose. 1 , 2 , 7 Acerola analysis in another report finds protein, fiber, lipids, fatty acids, zinc, and other minerals present as well. 8

Uses and Pharmacology

Vitamin supplementation

Acerola is used as a source of food and juice. Because of its high concentration of vitamin C, it also is sold as a natural health supplement. 7

Vitamin C is an essential coenzyme that is required for normal metabolic function. While many animals can synthesize vitamin C from glucose, humans must obtain the vitamin totally from dietary sources. Deficiencies of this water-soluble vitamin result in scurvy, a potentially fatal disease with multisystem involvement. Dietary supplements have traditionally provided adequate protection against the development of this disease.

However, controversy has focused on whether vitamin C derived from “natural” sources is more physiologic than that produced synthetically or semisynthetically (as ascorbic acid). To date, there is no clear evidence that naturally derived vitamin C is superior in its clinical effectiveness than synthetic ascorbic acid. A potential advantage to using acerola as a source of vitamin C is that one receives not only ascorbic acid, but also several other useful vitamins and minerals from the fruit. Whether this is superior to the use of a multiple vitamin preparation has not been determined.

Animal data

Research reveals no animal data regarding the use of acerola for vitamin supplementation.

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of acerola for vitamin supplementation.

Antioxidant
Mechanism of action

Vitamin C is known to strengthen the immune system, build collagen cells, support the respiratory system, and to be an effective antioxidant. 7

The antioxidative qualities of acerola make it an ideal ingredient in skin care products to fight cellular aging. 2 In another report, acerola extract was shown to enhance the antioxidant activity of soy and alfalfa extracts, acting synergistically, which may be beneficial in coronary artery disease. 9

Animal data

Research reveals no animal data regarding the use of acerola as an antioxidant.

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of acerola as an antioxidant.

Antifungal

Acerola possesses antifungal properties. In one report, M. glabra was among the most active antifungal in 26 plants studied. The most susceptible fungi were E. floccosum and T. rubrum . 10

Animal data

Research reveals no animal data regarding the use of acerola as an antifungal agent.

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of acerola as an antifungal agent.

Other uses

Ethnobotanical uses of acerola include use as an astringent and for diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis, and fever. 2

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