The Benefits of Maqui Berry

maqui berry

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis), also known as Chilean Wineberry, is a species of tree native to Chile that is laden with dark purple berries. Long consumed locally as a fresh fruit or in juice form, maqui berry is now found as a freeze-dried powder made from the whole fruit. It is also available in a number of dietary supplements including capsules and liquid extracts.

Proponents claim that maqui berry offers numerous health benefits, partly due to substances in the berries such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and ellagic acid that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

The antioxidant content of maqui berry, measured by the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value, is 37,174 per 100 grams of the fresh fruit. In comparison, fresh blueberries have a lower value of 27,412 per 100 grams.

Maqui Berry Nutrition Facts

Two teaspoons (5 grams) of organic maqui powder provides 20 calories, 0 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs and 0 grams of fat. The following nutritional data is from the USDA.

  • Calories: 20
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Potassium: 52mg



Carbs

Organic maqui powder is mainly composed of carbs, of which a portion comes from fiber. There is a small amount of natural sugars per serving.

Fats

The powder form of maqui is virtually fat-free.

Protein

There is a negligible amount of protein in organic maqui powder.

Vitamins and Minerals

A small serving of organic maqui powder contains around 52 milligrams of potassium, which is one of the 16 minerals the body requires for optimal health. However, a serving only provides around 2% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). There is also 20 milligrams of calcium per serving, and in berry form, maqui contains iron as well. There also is a blend of essential vitamins including vitamin A, C, B1, B3, folate, and more—all of which benefit the body in various ways.

Calories

Two teaspoons of organic maqui powder contain 20 calories, mostly of which are from carbs.

Health Benefits

Organic maqui powder provides carbs and fiber, alongside a blend of antioxidants in the form of vitamins and minerals. Research suggests that consumption of maqui berry's anthocyanin antioxidants, called delphinidins, may boost your defense against certain conditions. It also contains higher amounts of antioxidants than the acai berry. Here is what you need to know about the potential health benefits of maqui berry.

May Reduce the Onset Cardiovascular Disease

A review on anthocyanins as potent drugs found their anti-inflammatory effects to help in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases given the presence of polyphenols,. Additionally, studies using berries, vegetables, parts of plants and even cereals rich in anthocyanin have found improvements in LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad' cholesterol"), total triglycerides, and other health markers.

May Help With Symptoms of Diabetes

In a small study published in BioMed Research International, participants diagnosed with prediabetes were given a single dose of a standardized delphinidin-rich maqui berry extract, which lowered fasting blood glucose and insulin levels.

In another preliminary study, adults took a maqui berry extract daily for 3 months, and at the end of the study, average levels of glycosylated hemoglobin—which if high can indicate diabetes—decreased. Fasting insulin and glucose levels were non-significantly lowered, while LDL cholesterol decreased and HDL (or "good" cholesterol) increased significantly.

May Improve Dry Eyes

A pilot study published in Panminerva Medica examined the use of a maqui berry extract taken orally—in a daily dosage of either 30 milligrams or 60 milligrams—by adults with moderately dry eyes for a period of 60 days. Scores on the Dry Eye-Related Quality of Life Score decreased significantly after supplementation at both dosages, and tear fluid volume increased significantly after 30 days of treatment.

After 60 days, tear fluid volume dropped slightly in the group taking 30 milligrams, whereas the improvement persisted in those taking 60 milligrams per day. Further research is needed, as this study only had 13 participants and did not have a control group.

May Improve Gut Microbiota

Research has found the effects of specific food compounds can act as antioxidants, protecting human tissues against oxidative stress which can negatively impact your body's defense system. However, specific dietary habits, such as incorporating phenolic compounds in your food choices, can help repair the health of microbiota in your gut.

This is largely due to the ability of polyphenols (which can act as antioxidants) reacting with gut microbiota to increase the beneficial bacteria, whilst lowering the likelihood of pathogenic bacteria. And, according to research, microbiota can act alongside polyphenols to increase their bioavailability.

May Help With Inflammatory Diseases

Research has found that diets rich in phenolic properties, such as those found in maqui, can have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Inflammation can be triggered by oxidative stress, and requires self-regulation to avoid it developing into a chronic condition.

In order to boost your antioxidant defense mechanisms, diet is crucial, and improving your intake of antioxidants can help combat or lower the risk of developing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Allergies

Allergies to maqui berries are not common. However, if you have encountered reactions with other berries such as blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, it's best to proceed with caution. If you're purchasing in supplement form, check the label for other ingredients which you may be allergic to. Also, keep in mind that many products are produced in factories alongside wheat, dairy, shellfish, nuts and more.

Adverse Effects

Maqui berry appears to be generally safe when eaten in small amounts as a fruit, yet more research is needed to determine the safety of maqui when taken as a supplement or in large amounts.

While maqui and related supplements may have their benefits, it's important to note that self-treating a health condition with maqui and avoiding standard care may have serious consequences. Additionally, given the limited information on consuming maqui while pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether.

Varieties

Available for purchase online as whole dried berries, maqui is most commonly available as berry capsules, powders, oils, and juices, which are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements. If you're still considering using maqui berry in supplement form, it's a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider first to see if it's right for you.

Storage and Food Safety

Most forms of maqui are pre-packages or bottled, and will include a set of instructions for storage. As an example, most will have a section about avoiding direct sunlight and storing in a cool, dark place. Some may also feature a warning label to keep out of reach of children.

How to Prepare

There are several ways you can use maqui berry, including mixing the juice into beverages or adding the berry powder to smoothies, desserts, or cereal.

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11 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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