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What is ORAC?

What is ORAC?

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If you spend any time shopping in the supplement section of your local super-mart, you’ll more than likely see a product touting its ORAC score. Of course you may wonder what ORAC is, and what does it matter if something has an ORAC score or not. Hopefully I can help shed a bit of light on the subject for you.

ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) testing is widely used to evaluate the antioxidant activity of foods and nutritional products. It’s not an absolute validation since ORAC does not evaluate the body’s ability to absorb and utilize (known as “bioavailability) an antioxidant, but, it is a fantastic and reliable reference from which to compare the health benefits of different foods and products.  As with all good things there is a limit, however, and simply having the highest ORAC score does not make something better for you. You have to keep several issues in mind.

First, human metabolism is set up to take in nutrients in levels that are found in foods, not in levels that are cooked up in a lab or concentrated to meet the demands of a marketing team who is trying to win a “we have more in ours” campaign. From a scientific standpoint we have little data to predict what effect on the body there will be by taking in massive amounts of concentrated antioxidants over a period of years. One would like to think that it would be beneficial, but that’s not always the case. Instead, it’s better to rely on delivering nutrients in ratios and amounts that are closer in line with how they are found in foods. Think of it as how nature intended it.

Secondly, as I stated earlier, not all antioxidants are easily absorbed by the body. Sure, they can add to an ORAC score, but they may not be even utilized; subsequently that high score can mean very little in the end. You want a balance between high antioxidant protection and bioavailability.

As an example, BAZI, with its unique combination of eight superfruit concentrates, 12 vitamins and proprietary trace mineral blend, has an ORAC value which certainly classifies it as a potent source of antioxidants. On an ounce-for-ounce comparison, BAZI holds it own against the most popular fruits and juices. Plus, as I mentioned, its values are in line with what nature intended and that’s exactly how we think it should be.  The big advantage of BAZI over all the products listed below is in its nutrient diversity. No single juice or fruit has the wide variety of nutrients as BAZI does. That is what makes BAZI unlike any other product in the market today!

Total ORAC score (2 ounces/60ml)

 

BAZI -                                                       2212
Oranges (1 oz)                                         1200*
Apple, Golden Delicious(1 oz)                1762*
Bananas(1 oz)                                          540*
Strawberries(1 oz)                                   2146*
Watermelon(1 oz)*                                  90*
Tomatoes (Red Ripe) (1 oz)                    230*
Pom Wonderful(1 oz)                              1500**
Acai Juice (1 oz)                                      1170**
Concord Grape Juice (1 oz)                     1554**

 

*Source-USDA ORAC values of selected foods, 2007.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/ORAC/ORAC07.pdf

** Source-Comparison of Antioxidant Potency of Commonly

Consumed Polyphenol-Rich Beverages in the United

StatesJ. Agric. Food Chem. 2008, 56, 1415–1422