What is Camu Camu (CC)

Also known as Myrciaria dubia, camu camu is a tropical fruit native to the Amazon region. The CC fruit belongs to the group of the so-called super fruits and it is known by its outstanding content of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and health-relevant flavonoids.

As a matter of fact, it has the highest vitamin C content among comestible fruits, surpassing acerola. CC contains up to 7.5% of its weight is natural vitamin C. The acerola cherry contains up to 4.5% of its weight.

It is also a great source of minerals. These include sodium, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper,iron, niacin, riboflavin, phosphorus, and calcium. Moreover, it contains fatty acids such as oleic acid as well as amino acids such as like leucine, serine, thiamine and valine.

The Benefits of Camu Camu

It is high in myricetin and quercetin content. It is also antihyperglycemic (lowers glucose levels in the blood), antihyperlipidemiccamu camu (cholesterol-lowering), antihypertensive (blood pressure-lowering), antimicrobial. In addition, it has neuroprotective effects.

Researchers identified 53 different phenolics (flavonols , anthocyanins, ellagic acid and derivatives, ellagitannins, gallic acid and derivatives, and proanthocyanidins.

Antioxidant Properties

In a study, the bioactive compounds in the extract promoted high chemical antioxidant activity as measured by 5 different assays. It showed antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects in cancerous cell lines (HepG2 and Caco-2).

It also showed that camu camu extract decreased ROS generation in a normal human cell line (IMR90). When added to yogurts, different concentrations of extract increased the yogurts’ antioxidant capacity. [1]

Below are comparisons of some plant extracts ORAC values:

ORAC is an in vitro (laboratory) measurement of antioxidant activity in 100 grams of the extract.

  • camu camu powder = 52,000
  • ginkgo biloba = 35,850
  • maqui berry powder = 27,600
  • raw elderberries = 14,697
  • wild blueberries = 9,621
  • maca powder = 6,100

UVB Radiation Protection

Additionally, two in vitro studies demonstrated that CC could be added in cosmetic formulations, since fruit extracts empower the sun protection factor against UVB radiation. This peculiar characteristic is attributable to the high levels of vitamin C and phenolic compounds in the fruit.

Neuroprotective Properties

The essential amino acid Valine found in CC cannot be produced by the body. This means that you must get it from food.

Valine is used by the body to prevent muscle breakdown and it supports the nervous system and cognitive function.

A study showed that treatment with CC extracts significantly extended the life span of C. elegans, by 20%. It appeared to be mostly due to the basic bioactive compounds in the extracts. The camu-camu extracts were also able to significantly reduce the Aβ1–42aggregation induced paralysis in the Alzheimer’s disease model.

These results suggest that this effect was due to a synergistic interaction between the various low molecular bioactive fractions in the CC extracts. In the induced neurotoxicity model for Parkinson’s disease in C. elegans, treatment with CC extracts resulted in significant decrease in neurotoxicity. [2]

Camu Camu vs. Vitamin C Tablets

A study suggested that CC juice may have powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, compared to vitamin C tablets containing equivalent vitamin C content. These effects may be due to the existence of unknown anti-oxidant substances besides vitamin C or unknown substances modulating in vivo vitamin C kinetics in CC.[3]

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation can contribute to an accelerated aging process, the increasing presence of comorbidities, oxidative stress, and an increased prevalence of chronic pain.

CC is a well-researched and innovative natural product and has the potential to contribute, possibly substantially, to the management of inflammation.

A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine suggested that CC demonstrates strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Inoue et al. (2008) reported on the first in vivo study in humans of the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of camu camu. The study population consisted of 20 male smokers who were considered to have an accelerated oxidative stress state. These volunteers were randomly assigned to take daily 1050mg of vitamin C tablets or 70 mL of 100% CC juice containing 1050 mg of vitamin C as a dietary supplement for 7 days.

In the CC group, at 7 days, oxidative stress markers urinary 8-OHdG levels and serum total reactive oxygen species levels significantly decreased. Moreover, the levels of the inflammatory markers high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, andinterleukin-8 also decreased. No corresponding changes were observed in the vitamin C group. [4]

Improves Muscle Tone

The perfect blend of all the nutrients, minerals, vitamins, amino acids in CC helps with the growth and protection of muscles and bones. It is a great workout supplement which increases the metabolism and muscle tone.

Eye Protection

CC has a high content of carotenoids, 355 mg per 100 g of fruit – especially lutein and zeaxanthin. A six-year study from the National Eye Institute concluded that lutein reduces the risk of AMD (Age-related macular degeneration).
It has been shown to reduce the incidence of cataract (lens opacity) and light sensitivity if consumed in adequate quantities on a daily basis. [5]

Weight Loss

An animal study demonstrated that CC prevented obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice. [6]

Antimicrobial Properties

In a study, several antimicrobial constituents of CC fruit were isolated. The results suggested that CC could be utilized for therapeutic applications.

Antibacterial Properties

With the results obtained in this study, researchers observed that methanol extract of seeds and pulp of CC have the antibacterial effect against high prevalence microorganisms in the oral cavity, like S. mutans and S. sanguinis.

The limitation found in this study was the precarious information regarding the properties and clinical relevance of the CC fruit in dental use. The study’s results point out the importance of conducting more studies for the development of toothpastes containing active compound of CC. In addition, the use of the extract as a raw material in the manufacture of drugs is an alternative to the use of synthetic chemicals.

Health Concerns

There is some concern that CC can interfere with some chemotherapy medications. CC has a high amount of Vitamin C which is an antioxidant. It may interact with certain chemotherapy drugs that rely on the generation of free radicals for their cytotoxic effects.

Also, high vitamin C levels can alter laboratory results (such as sugar levels).

You should always talk to your doctor before taking supplements for possible drug interaction.

Yummy Smoothiecamu camu smoothie

1 cup coconut water
1 carrot (cut into chunks)
1 frozen banana (cut into chunks)
½ cup frozen pineapple
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
⅓ cup yellow raisins
¼ teaspoon of one our super powders
¼ inch segment ginger root (optional)
¼ cup ice cubes
Place all ingredients, except for the ice cubes, in a high-speed blender; process until smooth and creamy.

Add the ice cubes and process again. Enjoy!

In Conclusion

Camu camu is a definitely a versatile superfood. It contains health-promoting phy-tochemicals with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory activities, anti-obesity, DNA damage and cancer protection effects, and other beneficial effects.