Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

'Mona-Vie' A Do Or Don't?

Thursday, 01 Jul 2010 03:16 PM

Question: What is your opinion about the product "Mona-Vie"?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Mona-Vie is a dietary supplement whose contents are not subject to pharmaceutical purity standards. There is no assurance for safe use of this product. It is sold as an (expensive) berry juice that is harvested from the acai berry of the Amazonian (i.e. Brazil) palm tree.

The acai berry contains "antioxidants" (but no vitamin C), glutamic acid, fatty acids (oleic acid and others described as similar to olive oil), B-sitosterol, and high fibre content (though not described whether this is soluble or insoluble fibre). It has fad status in Brazil, and we are still learning about the components of this product.

In 2006 a University of Florida study reported a reduction in leukemia cell production felt to be due to activation of an enzyme called caspase-3. Caspase-3 is an enzyme that causes rapid cell death (apoptosis). The phytosteroid B-sitosterol in the acai berry is reported to compete with dietary cholesterol for absorption, and has been proposed as perhaps useful for lowering cholesterol as well.

Use of this product as a dietary supplement is clearly premature. Some of its active components appear to have significant effects on cell function, actually inducing cell death of rapidly growing cells. We now know that use of some anti-oxidants is actually associated with increased cardiovascular death (i.e. vitamin E) and are no longer routinely recommended for cardiac patients. With some of its contents still being studied, no standardization, no safety data and some of its contents that appear to have potentially significant effects on rapidly growing cells, are you sure you really want to swallow this product?

My health is too precious to experiment with untested foreign organic products. Leave the experimentation to our researchers, and spend your hard earned cash on domestic fresh fruit, fish and vegetables.

© HealthDay

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