This low growing shrub, a member of the myrtle family, is native to the flooded Amazon rainforest. It has the highest vitamin C levels of any known fruit on the planet. It produces a plum sized fruit that is high in antioxidants, polyphenols, anthocyanins, flavonoids and quercetin. This shrub flourishes along the banks of streams and lakes with its roots remaining submerged in water. It is very tart and/or sour in its natural state. It has only been very recently (1996), that camu camu has been cultivated for large scale global markets.
In fact, the fruit contains vitamin C levels at 60 x greater than an orange and 56x greater than lemon. Which makes this a great option when recovering from the flu or common cold. The potent polyphenols help to promote heart health, longevity, weight loss, healthy ageing and more.
Why is Camu Camu A Superfood?
Camu camu has a wide variety of nutrients that offer benefits beyond nutrition. All parts of this fruits, the skin, seeds and pulp are rich with antioxidants that can help protect the body from cellular free radical damage.
Potent doses of Vitamin C-Rich in L-ascorbic acid
Strong Antioxidant-Contains flavonoids, polyphenols and other phytochemicals that make it a free radical scavenger.
Mineral Rich-Camu Camu has abundant amounts of magnesium, calcium and potassium, as well as trace minerals such as copper, zinc and manganese.
12 Health Benefits of Camu Camu
Reduce Oxidative Stress and Inflammation-Camu’s potent antioxidant levels may help lessen oxidative stress, especially for the elderly and those with chronic pain. Camu’s nutrients have also been found to reduce inflammation by lowering inflammatory markers.
Healthy Heart-Camu camu promotes normal level of HDL (good cholesterol), insulin, blood glucose and triglyceride levels. This 2018 study found that camu could also improve blood pressure and vasodilation in young adults.
Oral/Gum Health-Due to its antiviral and antioxidant properties camu can help fight gum disease. The rich antioxidant properties can help reduce free radicals which contribute to inflammation.
Reduces Edema-Betulinic acid a micronutrient in camu camu is responsible for reducing swelling (edema) in the body.
Mood Enhancer-High levels of C help the brain to produce more serotonin, which helps with mood. Many individuals who deal with apathy and depression may be deficient in C.
Immune Booster-Vitamin C is water soluble. The body does not store it in the tissue, if you consume too much the body rids itself of the excess.
Gut Health-Camu’s intense nutrient profile can help to block not only free radicals but other pathogens from entering the body which can help protect you from viruses and bacterial infections.
Healthy Aging-Camu camu is wonderful at balancing out free radicals and the cellular damage they cause. The high levels of anti-oxidants from anthocyanins, phenols and vitamin C give camu the additional benefit of anti-aging properties.
Healthy Skin-Vitamin C plays a critical role in healing wounds and producing collagen. Collagen is a protein that maintains the flexibility of muscles, skin and connective tissues like joints, tendons and ligaments
Liver Health-Due to its high levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants camu camu can be extremely beneficial for liver health. Individuals with liver disease have shown positive results after receiving vitamin C. This 2010 study showed its significant signs of suppressing liver injury. The study determined that the 1-methylmalate isolated from camu camu juice, is one of the reasons it can aid liver health.
Weight Loss-Camu camu may be beneficial in supporting healthy weight. In studies, camu supported normal levels of white adipose tissue. In addition, it encourages normal insulin, blood glucose and triglyceride levels.
Eye Health–Studies have connected the importance of consuming eye friendly nutrients such as vitamin C, E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Camu Camu Options
Due to high level of C, Camu Camu can taste very sour or tart, which is why many people who consume the berry sweeten them in jellies or jam. I personally prefer it in a powder that I can add to smoothies or other foods.
This superfood is available in many forms such as:
Powder-This can be added to smoothies, juice or foods such as oatmeal or yogurt.
Capsules-This is an easier option if you don’t like the tart flavor of camu camu.
Liquid Extract-Easy to add to any drink.
Serum-For topical application.
As with vitamin C, taken in high doses it can lead to upset stomach, indigestion, nausea. It is always best to start slowly to see how your body reacts.
Individuals who are susceptible to ulcers may experience these negative effects.
Before trying any new supplement, always consult with your health care provider.