ORAC Values

WHAT IS AN ORAC VALUE?

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. Nutrients are much more effective in combination than they are individually and we can’t just take the all antioxidant levels of specific nutrients, such as Vitamin C or E, add them up and compute the antioxidant capacity just by knowing the individual component parts. There are thousands of unique antioxidant compounds in plants and most we have not even discovered yet. There’s no way we could measure them all individually. 

ORAC is an analytical method that emerged more than two decades ago, developed by scientists working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and USDA. The method attempts to quantify the “total antioxidant capacity” of a particular food or substance. The benefit of the ORAC test is that it attempts to capture the synergistic effects between various nutrients—ways in which nutrients are more effective in combination than they are individually.

HOW IS IT CALCULATED?

The ORAC value of a food is calculated by a lab test where certain molecules that are vulnerable to oxidation are placed in a test tube with molecules that generate free radical activity  and a certain sample food to be tested (in our case dried moringa leaf powder). After a given period of time, the test then measures how well the sample (moringa leaf powder) protected the vulnerable molecules from the oxidation by the free radicals. There are actually a handful of different tests designed to measure total antioxidant capacity in this way, but the ORAC is probably the best known and most popular.

ORAC VALUES CAN EASILY BE MANIPULATED

Total ORAC Values are expressed in micromoles trolox equivalents (TE) per 100 gram sample, often show as XXX μmol TE per 100 g.

Products lose their antioxidant absorption capacity over time, through exposure to heat, sunlight and oxidation. Some people manipulate their ORAC Values by sending samples straight from the processing plant to the lab for testing. 

This has resulted in some companies claiming ORAC Values from Moringa Powder as high as 157,000 μmol TE per 100 g. This isn’t indicative of the ORAC Value you will receive in a product already cooled and packaged. That is why our ORAC testing is done from a sample on the shelves of the store in order to provide a more accurate representation of what the customer will receive, resulting in a still incredibly high score of 62,000 μmol TE per 100 g. 

Click here to see the independent lab results. 

It’s important to understand that the value of antioxidants is dependent on the total quantity consumed. Most ORAC values are calculated per 100g of food.

For Example: To calculate the ORAC value of Vitaleaf Moringa, you the 62,000 ORAC / 100g = 620 ORAC per gram. 

If you take the suggested serving size of 2 teaspoons (4g) twice a day,

you consume a total of 8g * 620 ORAC = 4960 ORAC per day.

If you take 1 tsp (2g) twice a day, you get 2480 ORAC per day. 

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

ORAC Values are calculated in a lab using a procedure involving a test tube (in vitro) with one specific molecule. ORAC cannot be used to predict what effect or benefit an antioxidant substance will have within the human body in attenuating free radical production or coping with oxidative stress. As an in vitro test, ORAC cannot predict such effects in the body (in vivo)—nor can any other chemical testing procedure.

Millions of oxidizing reactions can take place in your body; however, an ORAC score measures only 1 of them.

With nearly all vegetables, cooking, boiling, or processing can reduce the ORAC value by up to 90%, while steaming retains more of the antioxidants.[1] - Heat kills ORAC values, this is why we process our Moringa Powder in a vacuum low heat environment to maintain its high nutritional content.  

Most ORAC values are calculated per 100g of food. Some, however, are shown per gram of food. Make sure you’re comparing apples to Apples. 

[1] Ninfali, Paolino; Mea, Gloria; Giorgini, Samantha; Rocchi, Marco; Bacchiocca, Mara (2007). "Antioxidant capacity of vegetables, spices and dressings relevant to nutrition". British Journal of Nutrition 93 (2): 257–66. doi:10.1079/BJN20041327. PMID 15788119.