Feature Article: April 2019 – Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Fruit)

Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Fruit)—Are You Aware of the Healthy Berry with a Sweet Secret?

Gualberto Perez, M.D.

Miracle Fruit Alters Taste

Anti-aging health and wellness practitioners can best serve the needs of their patients by expanding the medical evidence-based awareness of the anti-aging health and wellness benefits of naturally-occurring plant-based products. Berries and seeds are known to be nutritional powerhouses. However, in addition to containing super-healthy nutrients, a relatively obscure berry creates an amazing and unique sensory experience. The Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Fruit) berry is very distinctive among fruits because when placed on the mouth and tongue, it has an immediate taste modifying effect changing sour taste to sweet (1).

“Try it—chew a berry and eat any citrus fruit like a lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, or eat a strawberry, drink vinegar, beer or wine. You will say it is succulently sweet, tastes very sugary like candy.” Eating the mysterious Miracle Fruit berry can immediately make sour foods taste sweet usually from 1-2 hours. The berry is rightfully named Miracle Fruit because it immediately produces such an incredibly memorable and miraculous taste alteration.

The Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) berry looks like a red olive, contains a single seed, and grows on evergreen shrubs native to West Africa. Once ripe, the berry is bright red due to its high anthocyanin content and has a mildly bitter cherry-like taste. The exotic berry contains Miraculin, a unique protein that binds to the sweet taste receptors in your mouth. Upon exposure to acid, Miraculin changes its shape to chemically keep the sweet receptors turned-on, resulting in an enhanced sweetness that tricks your taste (2).

Diabetes and Obesity

Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is the only fruit that functions as a natural sweetener without it being a sweetener since the berry does not taste sweet. The berry provides a natural way to feed your sweet tooth stopping the cravings associated with the unhealthy ingestion of processed sugar, chemical sweeteners, and artificial flavors. The elimination of all these unhealthy chemical additives from processed food has the potential to prevent and reverse many conditions and diseases associated with aging. The Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) provides a natural approach to improve insulin resistance and prevent and/or reverse diabetes and obesity (3). One can only imagine the endless benefits that can be gained by cooking your foods with healthy citrus products as an alternative to sugar and other chemical additives.

Taste Disorders in Cancer

The Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is the only fruit with an accepted medical indication. The fruit is clinically-proven and indicated for the treatment of patients with taste disorders associated with cancer treatments. Persons undergoing cancer treatments often have problems with their taste due to the side effects caused by drugs or radiation. Taste can be reduced or altered leading to a reduction in food intake which impacts nutrition, healing, and general wellness. The Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) has been found to enhance palatability and reverse “metal-mouth” in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy (4). It improves the unpleasant metallic taste that has no other effective solution. The fruit also acts as a flavor booster to restore appetite in persons with cancer.

Nutritional Value

In addition to its benefits as a taste modifier, the berry can act as a low-calorie food enhancer reducing the need for ingredients that add extra calories to your food. One berry contains less than 1 calorie with nearly zero fat, sodium, cholesterol, carbs and protein. It contains ample amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, minerals, essential amino acids, anthocyanins, phytosterols, and flavonoids. Like other fruit berries, the Miracle Fruit is packed with healthy bioactive nutritional compounds that have proven anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and regenerative activity (5).

Miracle Fruit Seed Oil

Besides the fruit, the Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Fruit) seed oil has also been reported to have beneficial effects when used topically on hair and wrists. The results of two published randomized placebo-controlled clinical studies documented that the topical use of the oil was safe and effective at restoring damaged hair and improving manual performance (6, 7). When used on hair, the oil treatment was capable of strengthening and repairing damaged hair even in subjects with severe damage and thinning hairs. Hair loss due to breakage which occurs commonly after chemical and physical treatments was significantly reduced. In addition, a wearable wrist device capable of containing and delivering the oil directly on the wrist upon wear with compression was shown to be efficacious at improving manual dexterity skills in healthy subjects.

References

  1. Gollner AL. Miraculin: The Story of the Miracle Fruit. In: The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession. Anchor Canada, Quebec; 2009, p166-179.
  2. Kurihara K, Beidler LM. Taste-modifying protein from miracle fruit. Science1968: 161 (3847): 1241-3.
  3. Chen CC, Liu IM, Cheng JT. Improvement of insulin resistance by miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) in fructose-rich chow-fed rats. Phytother Res 2006: 11: 987-992.
  4. Wilken MK, Satiroff BA. Pilot study of miracle fruit to improve food palatability for patients receiving chemotherapy. Clin J Oncol Nurs 2012: 16(5): E173-177.
  5. Inglett GE, Chen D. Contents of phenolics and flavonoids and antioxidant activities in skin, pulp, and seeds of miracle fruit. J Food Sci 2011: 76(3): C479-82.
  6. Del Campo R, Zhang Y, Wakeford C. Effect of miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) seed oil (MFSO®) on the measurable improvement of hair breakage in women with damaged hair: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, eight-month trial. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 2017: 10(11): 39–48.
  7. Gorin S, Wakeford C, Zhang G, Sukamtoh E, Matteliano CJ, Finch AE. Beneficial effects of an investigational wristband containing Synsepalum dulcificum (miracle fruit) seed oil on the performance of hand and finger motor skills in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled preliminary study. Phytother Res 2018: 32(2): 321-332.

 

Gualberto Perez, M.D. is a Certified Principal Investigator in Regulated Clinical Research at GCP Research. He has over 25 years of experience devoted to clinical research trials, some of which included anti-aging treatments, nutraceuticals, medical devices, and biologics.

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