Acerola
Acerola

Background

Acerola (Malpighia emarginata) is a shrub or small tree. Its fruit is similar to a cherry and is a red color when ripe. It is a rich source of vitamin C.

Acerola also contains many minerals and other vitamins, including beta-carotene, lutein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. It's native to Central America, northern South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Acerola is commonly used to prevent vitamin C deficiency. It is also used for the common cold, diarrhea, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.
When taken by mouth: Acerola fruit is possibly safe for most adults. The fruit contains a large amount of vitamin C. It should be taken in amounts that provide no more than 2000 mg of vitamin C daily. Higher doses can increase the risk of side effects such as severe diarrhea.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if acerola is safe to use in medicinal amounts when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use in amounts greater than those found in food.

Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis): In large doses, acerola might increase the chance of getting kidney stones. This is due to the vitamin C in acerola.

Latex allergy: People with latex allergy might also have an allergic reaction to acerola.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Vitamin C deficiency. Acerola is a rich source of vitamin C. Taking acerola by mouth might help prevent or treat vitamin C deficiency.
There is interest in using acerola for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of acerola might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Aluminum

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Acerola contains vitamin C, which can increase how much aluminum the body absorbs. If you have kidney problems and take aluminum-containing medicines (also called "phosphate binders") regularly, avoid using acerola, especially in high doses.

Aspirin

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Acerola contains vitamin C. Vitamin C might decrease how much aspirin is removed in the urine. But this probably isn't a big concern.

Estrogens

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Acerola contains a large amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of estrogen. Taking acerola along with estrogens might increase the effects and side effects of estrogens.

Medications for cancer (Alkylating agents)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Acerola contains vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. There is some concern that antioxidants might decrease the effects of some medications used for cancer. If you are taking medications for cancer, check with your healthcare provider before taking acerola.

Medications for cancer (Antitumor antibiotics)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Acerola contains vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. There is some concern that antioxidants might decrease the effects of medications used for cancer. If you are taking medications for cancer, check with your healthcare provider before taking acerola.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Acerola contains vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease the effects of warfarin. Decreasing the effects of warfarin might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Iron: Due to its vitamin C content, acerola might increase the amount of iron the body absorbs from foods and supplements.
Rose hip: Rose hip and acerola both contain high levels of vitamin C. Don't take both together. This might increase the risk of side effects from vitamin C. Adults should not take more than 2000 mg of vitamin C daily.
Vitamin C: Due to the vitamin C content in acerola, using acerola along with vitamin C supplements might increase the risk of side effects from vitamin C. Adults should not take more than 2000 mg of vitamin C daily.

Interactions with foods

Acerola might increase how much iron the body absorbs from foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 07/12/2023 11:00:00. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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