Best Acerola Cherry Powders and Extracts

acerola cherry

While living in Central America, I ate a lot of fresh acerola cherry and particularly loved making sorbet from it.  Now that I’m back in the States, I take acerola cherry powder when I need an immune boost.  An unfortunate problem with acerola cherry though is that its nutrients break down quickly.  If you want to get the health benefits of acerola cherry, it’s important that you choose the right product.

Here’s what you need to know about the amazing acerola cherry, its health benefits, and the best acerola cherry supplements – including whether acerola extracts or fruit powders are better.


What Is Acerola Cherry?

acerola cherries

Acerola cherry is a fruit native to the Caribbean and South and Central America.  It has the most vitamin C of any fruit in the world (only camu camu comes close) and is also rich in phytonutrients. (1) Even though it resembles commercial cherries, acerola is actually in a completely different family than cherries.  Interestingly, acerola cherry is in the same family as caapi, one of the plants used to make ayahuasca and also known for many health benefits.

The first time I tried acerola cherry, I almost spit it out because I was expecting it to taste like cherries.  It’s very acidic in flavor. When put in smoothies or with sweeter fruits though, the tangy flavor of acerola is actually really nice.


Other Names for Acerola Cherry

  • Malpighia emarginata(Latin)
  • Barbados cherry
  • Wild crepe myrtle
  • West Indian cherry
  • Cerise des Antilles
  • Puerto Rican Cherry


Health Benefits of Acerola Cherry

While acerola is best known for having high amounts of vitamin C, it also contains many other nutrients. These nutrients are why acerola cherry has so many health benefits. A Google Scholar search shows thousands of results for the plant.

acerola cherry health benefits


Vitamin C

The pulp of ripe acerola fruit has vitamin C content as high as 4,500mg per 100g.  By comparison, raspberries have 30mg, oranges have 50mg, and kiwi have 90mg of vitamin C per 100g.  At 3,000mg per 100g, camu camu is one of the only fruits to come close to acerola’s vitamin C content.

Because vitamin C is integral for collage formation, maintaining bone and muscle tissue, and neurotransmitter biosynthesis, consuming acerola cherry is linked to a wide range of health benefits. (2, 3)



In addition to vitamin C, acerola cherry contains large amounts of phytonutrients including:

  • Carotenoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Polyphenols
  • Phenolics
  • Anthocyanins

These phytonutrients are linked to health benefits of acerola including better skin and preventing hypertension and cancer.   Studies also show that acerola cherry could have anti-inflammatory benefits, which in turn could help numerous inflammation-related diseases. (4, 5)


Choosing an Acerola Supplement

Not all acerola supplements are equal.  Some brands actually only have a small amount of acerola in their product.  Others are made or packaged in a way which degrades the nutrients in the acerola.  If you want a good acerola supplement, you’ll need to look at these factors.


Type of Supplement

Vitamin C is very unstable. It quickly breaks down in the presence of oxygen, light and heat.  Because of this, it’s really important that you choose the type of acerola supplement which best preserves vitamin C.

As a general rule, it is best to get acerola extract or freeze-dried acerola powder.  Studies show that vitamin C and antioxidants are well preserved with these methods.

By contrast, you’ll want to avoid liquid acerola cherry products, such as liquid tinctures or liquid gel capsules.  The nutrients break down too quickly in this form.  Also avoid dehydrated acerola because the process uses heat which kills vitamin C and other nutrients.  And, unless you are making your own from fresh fruits, avoid acerola juice products.  The juice may taste good but will be lacking nutrients. (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)


Acerola Powdered Fruit vs. Extracts

Some acerola supplements contain whole dried fruit (usually freeze-dried).  Because the entire fruit is used, you get all of the nutrients found in the fruit.  The downside of whole acerola powders is that the nutrient content can vary.  For example, depending on how ripe the acerola cherries were when the powder was made, the product might have more or less nutrients.

By contrast, acerola extracts are made in a way which standardizes the amount of nutrients.  In this case, the nutrient is vitamin C.  The downside is that the extraction process can destroy other nutrients, such as the many phytochemicals in acerola.

Which one is better? It depends. If your main concern is vitamin C, then you are probably better off with an acerola extract.  If you want the full range of nutrients in acerola cherry, then you are probably better off choosing a whole-fruit powder. (12, 13, 14)


Packaging Method

Light is vitamin C’s enemy.  It is really important that you choose an acerola supplement which has solid or at least dark packaging so light can’t get through.  Avoid any acerola product which has clear packaging.

*Heat also breaks down vitamin C. Make sure you store your acerola cherry supplement in a cool place after buying it. (15)


Acerola vs. Synthetic Vitamin C Content

A lot of acerola supplements, especially acerola extracts, also contain some synthetic vitamin C.  The synthetic vitamin C is often called sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid.

Unfortunately, not all brands list how much of their vitamin C is from acerola versus synthetic.  A cheap product might only contain a small amount of acerola cherry and the rest synthetic vitamin C.  This matters because the body doesn’t absorb synthetic vitamin C well.  You also won’t be getting all the other nutrients which are found in acerola cherry.

Further, some people get upset stomach from synthetic vitamin C.   If this is a concern, make sure you choose an acerola supplement which lists how much synthetic vs. acerola vitamin C it contains.


Best Acerola Cherry Powders and Extracts

I choose the best acerola powders and extracts by looking at: how much acerola the product contains, whether there is synthetic vitamin C or not, and whether the acerola was processed in a way which preserves nutrients.   Based on those factors, here are the best brands of acerola cherry.


1. Pure Synergy Radiance Acerola Powder

This supplement is made up of organic acerola cherry powder as well as 11 other superfood plants.  There is absolutely no synthetic vitamin C.  Each serving contains 975mg of freeze-dried plants.  Unfortunately, the manufacturers don’t list how much of this is from acerola versus the other ingredients.  However, there is a high amount of vitamin C per serving and acerola is one of the primary ingredients.   The supplement is also a good deal for the amount you get.

  • Acerola extract
  • 100% plant-based (no synthetic vitamin C)
  • 180mg vitamin C per serving
  • Organic ingredients
  • Serving size: ¼ tsp.
  • 120 servings per container
  • Gluten-free, vegan, Non-GMO
  • Buy Here


2. Food to Live Organic Acerola Cherry Powder

While this brand of acerola isn’t as well-known, it is one of the few 100% acerola cherry powders you can find.  The powder is freeze-dried, which does a good job of preserving nutrients in the fruit. The acerola powder is available in different sizes including bulk sizes.   Note the serving size is listed as 1oz, which is actually a really large amount.  This would give you 6,000mg of vitamin C – or 6667% of your daily vitamin C requirements.  Thus, you can take a much smaller amount of the acerola powder.

  • 100% freeze-dried acerola cherry powder
  • Organic
  • 6,000mg of vitamin C per ounce
  • Buy Here


3. NOW Acerola Extract

NOW is one of the leading brands for supplements.  Their acerola extract powder is very popular.  It isn’t 100% acerola.  Rather, it contains approximately 5-7% ascorbic acid.  The ascorbic acid is added to the acerola to standardize the amount of vitamin C in the final product.  The ratio of vitamin C from acerola to ascorbic acid is 4:1.  NOW also makes a whole-fruit acerola product, which you can see here.

  • Acerola extract + ascorbic acid
  • 160mg vitamin C per serving
  • Also contains maltodextrin (non-GMO)
  • Serving size: 1 tsp.
  • 53 servings per container
  • Buy Here



4. Nutricost  Acerola Cherry Powder

This acerola cherry powder contains 100% acerola fruit.  The manufacturer doesn’t list this information but it is likely freeze-dried.  It contains a high amount of vitamin C per serving size.

  • 100% acerola cherry powder
  • 90mg vitamin C per serving
  • Serving size: 500mg
  • 454 servings per container
  • Buy Here


5. Naturelo Organic Acerola Cherry Extract

This acerola supplement by Naturelo contains the highest amount of vitamin C per serving.  Note though that most of that vitamin C comes from L-ascrobate.  According to the manufacturer, approximately 75% of the product is L-ascorbate and 25% is acerola.  That means you still get about 125mg of vitamin C from acerola extract. If you don’t have issues with the synthetic vitamin C, this is one of the most popular acerola products available.

  • Acerola extract + ascorbate
  • 550mg vitamin C per serving
  • Approximately 25% acerola and 75% L-ascorbate
  • Serving size: 1 capsule
  • 90 servings per container
  • Gluten-free, vegan, Non-GMO
  • Buy Here


6. OLLY Kid’s Immune Gummies

What I like about this brand of gummies is that they actually list how much acerola extract is in each gummy: 50mg.  The total vitamin C per gummy is 15mg.  Even though it is unclear how much of that vitamin C is from synthetic, the majority seems to be from the acerola cherry extract.  The gummies actually taste good and have other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin D, zinc, elderberry extract and baker’s yeast for gut flora.

  • Acerola extract + ascorbic acid
  • 50mg acerola fruit extract per gummy
  • 15mg vitamin C per gummy
  • Serving size: 1 or 2 gummies
  • 25 or 50 servings per container
  • Also contains vitamin D, zinc, elderberry extract, and baker’s yeast
  • Buy Here


7. Sari Freeze Dried Acerola Powder

This freeze-dried acerola cherry powder is so popular that it often becomes out of stock.  It is a pure product with no additives.  Because it is freeze dried, the nutrients are preserved.

  • 100% freeze-dried acerola powder
  • 500mg vitamin C per serving
  • Serving size: 1 tsp.
  • 58 servings per container
  • Buy Here


8. American Health Super Acerola Wafers

These wafers combine whole acerola cherry powder with ascorbate for a total of 500mg of vitamin C per serving.  I only included these on my list of best acerola cherry supplements because they are so popular.  There is only 5mg of acerola per wafer, so most of the vitamin C is likely from synthetic.  They also contain sugars and fillers.  A lot of people also complain that the wafers break easily.

  • Acerola fruit + ascorbate
  • 500mg vitamin C per serving
  • Serving size: 1 wafer
  • 100 servings per container
  • Gluten-free, soy-free, vegetarian
  • Buy Here


Image credits:
Acerola” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by eltpics
Acerola” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Marcos X. Dias

One thought on “Best Acerola Cherry Powders and Extracts

  • September 6, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Can the freeze dried powder be used to make homemade single or double tincture with 100p alcohol. If so, will the tincture pull out nutrients that are more easily absorbed that just ingesting the powder? Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *