We're excited to share the benefits of one of our favorite ingredients -- the maqui berry: a South American "superfruit" trending in North America -- and for a good reason. It's one of the top antioxidant-containing foods in the world.
This deep purple-colored berry is rich in anthocyanin and delphinidin, antioxidants known for lowering heart disease and having anti-inflammatory effects. It's one of many reasons why we include maqui berries in our TUSOL Rejuvenate Superfood Smoothie Mix, along with other certified organic ingredients.
Why else do we include them in our recipes? What health benefits do they provide?
Brief Overview of the Maqui Berry
A maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) is a small fruit with a deep purple color, native to Southern Chile. They grow as evergreen bushes in regional rainforests and are harvested between November and March.
The berry has been used for medicinal purposes in the area for years, primarily as an anti-laxative and astringent. The berry's leaves even contain specific antibacterial properties (1).
Because of many health benefits, fresh maqui berries and maqui berry supplement are often marketed as a superfood.
How are Maqui Berries Consumed?
With the challenge of global transportation, getting your hands on fresh maqui berries is a rare treat unless you're holidaying or living in South America.
So, your next best option is to consume the berry in powdered form. Maqui berry powder and maqui berry extracts are great alternatives, and you can also consume them in juice, smoothie or powder form to get the same benefits.
Maqui berries have a sweet, dry, and tangy flavor akin to blackberries and açai.
What is a standardized maqui berry extract?
Standardized maqui berry extract is a supplement. For example, a supplement called Delphinol contains a standardized level of anthocyanins (35% NLT) and delphinidins (25% NLT), two antioxidants found in maqui berries. Studies have shown that Delphinol effectively lowered blood glucose and insulin levels while confirming high bioavailability in healthy consumers (2,3).
Although fresh fruit is normally preferable to powders or supplements, you can always make an exception if the fruit is not readily available at local stores. Rich maqui berry extract and maqui berry powder, both high in antioxidants, are excellent additions to your diet.
Below are more of our favorite benefits of maqui berries.
Health Benefits of Maqui Berry
Maqui berries are known for helping our immune systems stay strong, thanks to high levels of Vitamin C. Many berries are rich in vitamin C, like strawberries and blueberries. The maqui berry is no different than any other berry in this regard. High levels of vitamin C are also found in this little berry, helping your immune system ward off any unwanted illnesses.
Promotes Healthy Skin
Studies have shown that maqui berries nourish healthy skin cells. The ellagic acid they contain may even suppress the skin damage caused by harmful UV rays, by blocking the enzymes that break down collagen (1). This means that maqui berries can help skin to remain elastic and supple despite sun exposure.
In addition, because of the high levels of antioxidants, the maqui berry promotes skin cell regeneration and reduces skin inflammation. For this reason, many skincare companies use maqui berry in their anti-aging and skin softening products.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
The antioxidant delphinidins found in maqui berry may help with controlling blood glucose levels. One study showed that delphinidin-rich maqui berry extract aided in helping lower blood sugar, slowing the rate of postprandial glycemia (read: how fast the sugar enters the bloodstream) (4).
Another study found that a daily intake of 180mg of maqui berry extract reduced blood glucose levels by 5% (5). As mentioned earlier, Delphinol was highly effective at helping with blood sugar control.
The maqui berry may be helpful for people with a risk of type 2 diabetes but seek professional medical advice before adding it to your diabetes medication regime. In addition, when taking a maqui berry extract in conjunction with diabetes medications, you may need to monitor your blood sugar closely.
It's always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any supplement.
Improves Eye Health
Besides helping your blood sugar, maqui berries may help reduce light-induced eye damage, although further research and scientific evidence are warranted. Peer-reviewed studies also point to the maqui berry as a solution for people with chronic dry eyes.
For example, MaquiBright is another standardized maqui berry extract that increases tear production, restores tear secretion, and decreases dry-eye-related symptoms (6).
We mentioned delphinidin and anthocyanin earlier. High levels of these antioxidants present strong anti-inflammatory results, meaning potential pain relief for the consumer. This is excellent news for people who have arthritis, joint pain, and other inflammatory health conditions.
The anti-inflammatory properties found in maqui berry may also help with the following:
Help to Prevent Chronic Diseases
The anti-inflammatory properties in the maqui berry promote a healthy heart and lower blood pressure. Reducing inflammation also means combatting chronic illnesses like coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Protect Human Endothelial Cells
Human endothelial cells are the layer that lines our arteries, arterioles, and veins. The maqui berry juice effectively helps protect body cells from oxidative stress that affects your blood vessels (7). In short: it helps you avoid cardiovascular disease.
Improves Blood Lipid Profile
Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, maqui berry extracts help reduce LDL oxidation, a cause of high cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Rich in Antioxidants
As shown by our extensive list of maqui berry benefits so far, having a significant number of antioxidant compounds in your body has many upsides. For example, high antioxidants can help reduce the risk of lung cancer, stroke, colorectal cancer, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases.
Amazingly, the maqui berry reportedly has almost three times more antioxidants than other berries (8). Compared to açai berry, the maqui berry carries seven times more antioxidant effects (9).
A higher level of antioxidant activity in the body means that the maqui berry could help fight dangerous free radicals, unstable molecules that can gradually harm the body over time.
Aids in Gut Health
Your gut microbiota is essential for digestion, metabolism, and the immune system. It affects the bacteria that live in your intestines. Incorporating maqui berries into your diet may influence the development of good bacteria in your body and possibly re-shape harmful bacteria.
Sources of Reishi Mushroom
Our TUSOL Maqui Berry + Acai smoothie contains full servings of organic maqui berries to support immunity, reduce oxidative stress and improve gut health daily.
Our TUSOL Maqui Berry + Vanilla Protein Bar contains organic maqui berries to reduce inflammation and support glowing skin.
Maqui Berries are a Great Addition to your Diet
The more nutrients in your diet, the better.
Although not as mainstream as the açai berry, maqui berries are a strategic (and easy) way to boost your nutrient intake. In general, berries are great because they have many antioxidants and few calories. The small maqui berry packs a powerful punch by having all the benefits of these antioxidants, without adverse effects.
By integrating TUSOL Maqui berry smoothies into your daily diet, you can reap the numerous health benefits maqui has to offer.
- Romanucci V, D'Alonzo D, Guaragna A, Di Marino C, Davinelli S, Scapagnini G, Di Fabio G, Zarrelli A. Bioactive Compounds of Aristotelia chilensis Stuntz and their Pharmacological Effects Curr Pharm Biotechnol (2016) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26778456/
- Hidalgo J, Flores C, Hidalgo MA, Perez M, Yañez A, Quiñones L, Caceres DD, Burgos RA. Delphinol® standardized maqui berry extract reduces postprandial blood glucose increase in individuals with impaired glucose regulation by novel mechanism of sodium glucose cotransporter inhibition. (2014) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24861886/
- Schön C, Wacker R, Micka A, Steudle J, Lang S, Bonnländer B. Bioavailability Study of Maqui Berry Extract in Healthy Subjects (2018) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6267473/
- Deters B, Saleem M. Hyperinsulinemia, cancer, and maqui berry: The promise of nutritional supplementation (2019) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453019300163
- Alvarado J, Schoenlau F, Leschot A, Salgado AM, Vigil Portales P. Delphinol® standardized maqui berry extract significantly lowers blood glucose and improves blood lipid profile in prediabetic individuals in three-month clinical trial (2016) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27820958/
- Hitoe S, Tanaka J, Shimoda H. MaquiBright™ standardized maqui berry extract significantly increases tear fluid production and ameliorates dry eye-related symptoms in a clinical pilot trial.(2014) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25208615/
- Miranda-Rottmann, Soledad & Aspillaga, Augusto & Pérez, Druso & Vasquez, Luis & Martinez, Alvaro & Leighton, Federico. (2003) Juice and Phenolic Fractions of the Berry Aristotelia chilensis Inhibit LDL Oxidation in Vitro and Protect Human Endothelial Cells against Oxidative Stress (2003) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10997375_Juice_and_Phenolic_Fractions_of_the_Berry_Aristotelia_chilensis_Inhibit_LDL_Oxidation_in_Vitro_and_Protect_Human_Endothelial_Cells_against_Oxidative_Stress
- Araya H, Clavijo C, Herrera C. Antioxidant capacity of fruits and vegetables cultivated in Chile (2006) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17425182/
- Delphinol: What is the Maqui Berry? (Web) https://www.delphinol.com/maqui-berry/