The Health Benefits of Camu Camu
It’s an awesome source of vitamin C
Medically reviewed by Melissa Nieves, LND, RD
Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is an antioxidant-rich sour berry from the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). It is similar in color to a cherry. Camu camu is native to the Amazon forest, but its potential benefits have made it increasingly popular in the United States. Reported health benefits include reducing inflammation, fighting cold symptoms and fatigue, and helping with symptom management in other health conditions.
This article will include camu's camu nutrition information and explore its health benefits of camu camu. as well as any associated risks and how to use the berry.
Camu Camu Nutrition
Camu camu has a tart taste and is full of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, especially vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. Camu camu is typically sold as a powder extract. Nutrition information is listed by weight in grams or teaspoon measurements.
Super High in Vitamin C
Camu camu berry pulp is known for being rich in vitamin C. In fact, camu camu has more vitamin C than many other fruits, including oranges, according to one study from 2022.
One teaspoon (3 grams) of camu camu powder contains 240% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Beyond vitamin C, camu camu contains many other antioxidants, including cyanidin-3-glycoside. Cyanidin-3-glycoside is considered a key antioxidant and contributes to the red pigmentation of camu camu berries. This antioxidant is linked to many health benefits, including being used in treating cancer, heart disease, and helping prevent brain health decline.
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The antioxidants in camu camu berry, including vitamin C and cyanidin-3-glucoside, contribute to its anti-inflammatory benefits, too. Other anti-inflammatory effects of camu camu come from how the antioxidants and other nutrients act on histamine production and release. Histamines are a key factor in allergic reaction response, including inflammation.
Related:What Is Histamine Intolerance?
Other Health Benefits of Camu Camu
The following are other health benefits for camu camu berries.
The vitamin C content in camu camu berry makes it a suitable choice to supplement during cold and flu season. While there's a lack of evidence to support vitamin C for treating cold symptoms, people who regularly take vitamin C supplements might have slightly shorter colds or milder symptoms when they do have a cold.
While evidence-based data for camu camu’s effects on fatigue are limited, there is evidence that the vitamin C content in camu camu may help reduce fatigue.
One 2021 systematic review (a compilation of numerous studies on a topic) found a handful of controlled trials that demonstrated a significant decrease in fatigue scores in people with post-viral fatigue in the vitamin C group compared to the control group.
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Camu camu's other benefits include its effect on people who smoke cigarettes and those who live with high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
Cigarette smoking is known to cause cell damage from free radicals (unstable molecules made as cells metabolize). This cell damage is a known risk for many health conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Drinking just 2.4 ounces (70 milliliters) of camu camu juice containing 1,050 milligrams of vitamin C for a week was shown in one study on male smokers to significantly decrease two inflammatory markers: interleukin 6 (IL-6) and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). Camu camu in this study had greater antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects than other forms of vitamin C.
Studies have also shown that, when combined with other fruit extracts, camu camu can help treat symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, including high blood sugar. One small study of 23 healthy individuals suggests consuming camu camu supplement after eating could help reduce carb-induced blood sugar spikes.
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Risks Associated With Camu Camu
The rich vitamin C content in camu camu may cause some digestive upset if you consume more than the standard tolerated dose of 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily. However, any gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea or cramping, should resolve with discontinued use.
Risk of vitamin C toxicity even at large doses is low. However, vitamin C consumption could be linked to excess iron absorption and should be avoided if you have hemochromatosis, a genetic condition causing iron to build up in the blood.
How to Use Camu Camu
You can find camu camu in powder form, in which much of the sour taste is removed, as well as in pulps, juices, and purees, which can be added to:
Yogurt or cottage cheese
Smoothies or juice blends
Salad dressing or dips
Cold soup, such as gazpacho
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Camu camu is a sour and tart berry that is used for its rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Camu camu is found in powder, puree, pulp, and juice forms. It may help in reducing inflammation, contributing to heart health, and in fighting post-viral fatigue. It can also be helpful in managing blood sugar levels.
Camu camu contains a large amount of vitamin C which can cause some digestive upset but is generally regarded as a safe antioxidant supplement. People can add camu camu to their menu by using its powder, puree, or juice in a variety of dishes like yogurt, oatmeal, and soups.
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