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ORAC Value

I've promised this article for ages, but it took me a while to get all the info I needed to have in order to write it accurately.
ORAC value is a term you'll hear touted more and more as companies want to show how much anti-oxidation power their particular supplement or drink has.
Here's what it means:
When you put certain foods and/or vitamins in a beaker or test tube ("in vitro") and measure it's potential capacity to squelch oxidation, you can come up with a number, usually in the thousands or tens of thousands, to show how active this substance might be.  These studies about certain fruits and vegetables are then published. This is level one of research.
Companies read these studies and design products with that info in mind.  So far so good.
The next step in research would be to actually test the new product, at first in a test tube.  That new product, tested this way, would have an ORAC value: meaning it has the potential to do something positive inside the body.  This is level two of research.
The next step in research is to take this product and actually test it in humans ("in vivo"), meaning, "how does it actually work in side the human body"?
Now those results are worth looking at.  This is level three and is the only true research on food substances that prove anything.
The question must be answered:  What did this product do inside humans?  Now, you have something worth crowing about.  The product must be pure, potent, proven.  Otherwise, it rests in the arena of "potential."  Meaning it might do something and it might not.  That's how we have to think and understand scientific research in order to spend our money on a product.
In my searching and speaking with researchers at 3 different companies, none of whom put ORAC on any of their products b/c these companies go the hard road of true research in humans, I uncovered a document by one of the MD's at Juice Plus+ and she had this to say:  (knowing that there are all kinds of companies who use the acronym ORAC value on their untested products - ORAC is not a small, unimportant thing, it's a great place to start!)
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is only a measure of potential, and can be manipulated by adding isolated vitamins to a product formula.  Most products that tout high ORAC do so because they have no independent, clinical demonstration of performance.  (This is enough to know, right here - mary anne)
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is most often measured in a test tube, although there are some research labs that are beginning to perform this testing on plasma (at this time the measure is pretty variable in this matrix). Most commercial products making ORAC claims use the test tube method and typically only measure the antioxidants present in the aqueous (water) phase, missing any molecules that have antioxidant activity but are in the lipid phase, for example lycopene and beta carotene. It would be easy to formulate a product with a high test tube ORAC, but it is unclear what this means in an intact biological system (a human) because no studies have been done monitoring any health benefits from a defined ORAC "number" intake over any period of time.
JP has repeatedly demonstrated bioavailability of antioxidants AND functionality in the form of a reduction of oxidative stress in independent clinical trials.  This is real performance, not just potential.  (Also, the research on JP has been done on the actual product itself, not simply on one fruit or berry it contains.)
For NSA to publish the ORAC on Juice Plus+ would represent a big step backwards to a lower level of research.  We have clinical studies rather than in vitro (literally "in glass") research to support the benefits of Juice Plus+, along with over a dozen years of use around the world. Juice Plus+ has been shown over and over to increase known antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Alpha-tocopherol and Beta-carotene in circulation,  and has been shown to decrease markers of oxidation as well.   These measurements are more reliable (and impressive to the scientific, nutritionoal and medical community) than an isolated ORAC number.Anita M. Boddie, RD, LDN, PhD
Director of Clinical Research