Acai berry products have gained a lot of popularity since their benefits have been talked about by by celebrity health and lifestyle gurus like Oprah Winfrey, Rachel Ray and Dr. Oz. There is some evidence that acai berries can curb your appetite, which is why so many weight loss products are touting it as the new breakthrough in dieting. However, the acai berry is relatively new stateside, and there is limited evidence to show both its health benefits as well as any harmful side effects. Many people are concerned about the possibility that the acai berry can have harmful side effects if used as a supplement for detoxing or for a colon cleanse.
According to some natural health practitioners, a colon cleanse is a necessary means for removing toxins from the body. These practitioners feel that the processed foods we eat can lead to a buildup of plaque and toxins in the colon, which can contribute to a host of health problems ranging from acne to candida to fatigue. However, some physicians disagree with this theory and assert that colon cleanses are unnecessary and even harmful. Until more research is available on the acai berry, it seems as though the potential side effects that people encounter when using a colon cleanse product may stem from other additives in the supplement, rather than from the berry itself. However, to be on the safe side, it is best to consult with your physician before starting any colon cleanse or diet regimen that relies heavily on the acai berry.
If you decide to go through with a colon cleanse, make sure you know what ingredients your supplement contains other than acai berry. Just because a product is advertised as all-natural doesn’t mean it’s completely safe or healthy for use. Herbs can contain toxins that can cause serious side effects as well. Discontinue use immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
1. Increased Ability to Bleed
Some herbs cause your blood to thin, making it more likely that you will bleed easily. Common culprits include feverfew, gingko and garlic. In fact, any herbal supplement containing these ingredients should be avoided if you are already on anti-clotting medication.
2. Liver Problems
Some herbal supplements used for colon cleanses contain Echinacea, which can actually cause liver inflammation, particularly if you are on medications such as anabolic steroids that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Many colon cleanses that contain acai also contain herbs that irritate the colon and digestive tract, causing diarrhea. Goldenseal is a common culprit.
4. Increased Blood Pressure
Some herbal supplements can increase your blood pressure, so if you have problems with high blood pressure already, you should avoid using them. These herbs include goldenseal, ginseng and licorice.
5. Appetite Suppression
Some colon cleanses use herbal appetite suppressants to aid with detoxification. Common herbal appetite suppressants include herbal ephedra, guarana and kola nut. The FDA has banned the use and sale of ephedra in the United States but it is still found in herbal supplements from overseas. If you are taking an MAO inhibitor drug to treat depression, or if you suffer from anxiety, insomnia, glaucoma, heart disease or high blood pressure, you should not use any products containing ephedra.