Camu camu is a shrub that grows in flooded areas of the Amazonian rainforest, primarily in Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. The berries of the camu camu shrub are roughly the same size as lemons, but there are a lot of health benefits packed into these small fruits. In fact, both the fruit and the leaves of the camu camu shrub have been used for medicinal purposes.
Camu Camu Nutritional Benefits
Camu camu is loaded with nutrition, full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, which makes them a superfood. It contains a high amount of manganese, as well as some copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and zinc.
Camu camu also has several essential amino acids that we can only get through food, since our bodies cannot produce these amino acids on their own. These amino acids include valine and leucine.
Finally, camu camu is full of flavonoids, gallic acid, and ellagic acid, all of which act as antioxidants in the body, helping fight inflammation and oxidative stress.
|Mineral||Camu Camu (100 g)|
|Manganese||2.1 mg (106% of daily value)|
|Copper||0.2 mg (10% of daily value)|
|Magnesium||12.4 mg (3% of daily value)|
|Iron||0.5 mg (3% of daily value)|
|Zinc||0.4 mg (2% of daily value)|
|Calcium||15.7 mg (2% of daily value)|
|Potassium||83.8 mg (2% of daily value)|
|Vitamin C||2,145 mg (3,575% of daily value)|
Camu Camu’s Vitamin C Content
However, what camu camu is really known for is its vitamin C content. Camu camu has more vitamin C than any other food on the planet, even more than the mighty orange.
One serving of camu camu has 60 times the amount of vitamin C found in a single orange; this translates to 3,575% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C for every 100 grams of camu camu. Even just a tablespoon of camu camu powder can give you way more vitamin C you need for the day.
Many of the health benefits of camu camu come from this extraordinarily high amount of vitamin C, and many people use camu camu powder instead of a regular vitamin C supplement.
Camu Camu Health Benefits
Eating a small amount of this superfood daily may yield several major camu camu powder benefits, as a result of its incredibly high vitamin C and flavonoids like quercetin, as well as its other nutrients. It should, however, be noted that many of these effects are still being researched.
The following will provide further detail on the potential camu camu benefits.
1. Boosts Immune System
Camu camu is thought to contain 56 times more vitamin C than a lemon and 60 times more vitamin C than an orange. The high vitamin C content of camu camu can have a huge effect on the immune system.
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for boosting immune function, and it aids in fighting pathogens and oxidative stress.
2. Improves Mood and Mental Health
Camu camu also has mental health benefits. In fact, well-known nutritionist Gary Hull considers camu camu the second-most effective food for mood-balancing.
People suffering from depression can have low levels of serotonin, and vitamin C actually helps the brain produce greater amounts of it, which can improve mood and fight depression.
One study published in the journal Nutrition in 2010 found that camu camu was effective for combating depression in acutely hospitalized people with vitamin C deficiencies.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Since camu camu contains antioxidants, it can help fight against inflammation and free radicals. Many health conditions cause inflammation in our body, which can worsen existing problems and lead to serious damage.
Camu camu may be effective in fighting gingivitis and gum disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and may also help fight other inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.
4. Improves Liver Health
One of camu camu’s biggest health benefits is improving liver health. Vitamin C is known to be helpful for helping with cirrhosis and other liver problems. As well, camu camu contains antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other active compounds that can improve the function of the liver and protect against liver disease.
A study published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry in 2010 found an active compound called 1-methylmalate isolated from camu camu juice produced significant signs of suppressed liver injury in animals.
5. Anti-Viral Properties
One of the medicinal purposes that camu camu is often used for is for fighting viral infections. Everything from the common cold to the herpes virus to shingles can potentially benefit from camu camu, which contains many anti-viral properties.
Camu camu can help people recover from colds faster, and while it cannot cure herpes or other permanent viral conditions, it can help with managing the symptoms of these conditions.
With camu camu’s anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also believed that this superfood may have anti-aging benefits. Inflammation can speed up the aging process and contributes to many age-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and arthritis.
By reducing the inflammation of these conditions, camu camu can help slow aging and keep us in better health as we get older.
7. Improves Gum Disease
The powerful antioxidants and antiviral properties in camu camu can help people fight gum diseases such as gingivitis. Research shows that antioxidant-rich remedies reduce the amount of free radicals, which are a cause of inflammation in the progression of periodontal and gingival health issues.
Two teaspoons of camu camu daily can help those suffering from gum disease.
8. Improves Vision
The carotenoids in camu camu also promote eye health. This is because the carotenoids help eliminate oxidative stress on the ocular system, which can prevent the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. As a result, as you get older, you will be able to see more clearly.
9. Lowers Blood Sugar
Postprandial glycemia (post-meal blood glucose) is important in the management of diabetes, a chronic problem that involves high blood sugar levels. In one preliminary study published in the journal Food Research International in 2017, researchers found that camu camu juice improved blood sugar control in 23 healthy adults.
10. Benefits Smokers
In the U.S., more than 480,000 deaths happen each year due to cigarette smoking. Also, 41,000 deaths result from exposure to secondhand smoke.
A study published in the Journal of Cardiology in 2008 found that camu camu juice may fight oxidative stress and inflammation in smokers.
For the study, 20 male smokers took vitamin C or camu camu juice daily for a week, and after the week, those taking camu camu had a significant reduction in certain markers of oxidative stress and inflammation markers. However, those taking vitamin C had not experienced a reduction in these markers.
11. Muscle Tone
Camu camu contains a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants that can promote the growth of muscles, as well as protect against their damage and loss.
12. Quercetin Content
Every 100-gram serving of camu camu fruit offers 400 milligrams of quercetin, a powerful flavonoid and antioxidant. Studies have shown the plant pigment to benefit allergic asthma symptoms and protect against cellular aging by reproducing the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet.
Benefits of Camu Camu for Skin
You can also use camu camu for skin. The vitamin C content of camu camu can have many benefits when eaten, but there are also topical applications. Many different types of skin creams now use vitamin C, as it can help brighten skin and improve the health and look of damaged skin.
And since camu camu is loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C, it can help fight the skin damage that leads to wrinkles, creases, and fine lines.
The vitamin C and flavonoids in camu camu may be particularly effective in fighting ultraviolet skin damage from the sun. You can apply camu camu powder to sunburned or deeply tanned areas of the skin to help speed up the healing process. Some people also use camu camu face masks to improve the appearance of the skin on their face and to fight aging.
Since camu camu is high in vitamin B3 and vitamin C, camu camu is effective on melanin-producing cells. As a result, it can help fade sun damage spots or discoloration left from acne over time. It will also lift dead skin and create healthier skin overall.
Camu Camu Side Effects and Precautions
There are also camu camu side effects and precautions for you to consider. Despite the potential health benefits of camu camu, because of its high vitamin C content, that same vitamin C can lead to some side effects.
High doses of vitamin C can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Taking too much vitamin C may be particularly bad for people with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, as it can worsen diarrhea.
Excess vitamin C can also have a negative impact on people who suffer with ulcers. Camu camu may also interfere with chemotherapy medication, so it’s advised that you always speak with your physician about taking camu camu if you are undergoing cancer treatment.
How to Use Camu Camu
Camu camu is actually incredibly sour. While some people enjoy this taste, it can be off-putting for others, and this is why camu camu is often used as a powder, which reduces the sour taste.
You can add the powder to a number of other foods to add flavor, such as cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, and some desserts. It can be harder to find the powder, but camu camu juice is also available. The juice may taste somewhat similar to acai berry juice.
Camu camu is also said to taste like raw cranberries, but with an earthy and spice-like flavor.
Final Thoughts on Camu Camu
Camu camu is loaded with vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other nutrients. It’s one of the healthiest superfoods available, and has more vitamin C than any other food in the world.
Strengthening your immune system, fighting aging, and reducing inflammation are just some of its potential health benefits.
Article Sources (+)