Health Benefits of Camu Camu

The trendy berry is native to the Amazon rainforest and has many possible health benefits.

Camu

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Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a berry native to the Amazon rainforest. While its origins are remote, the so-called superfood has long been used to improve health. Camu camu has become increasingly popular in the United States. Several brands produce and sell the berry in stores and online.

Like tart cranberries, the camu camu berry is too acidic for most people to enjoy its natural state. So, it's generally processed as an ingredient in blended juices or freeze-dried into a powder that you can take as a supplement, add to smoothies, or blend into other foods.

What's more camu camu may have numerous potential advantages. Here are a few health benefits of camu camu, along with tasty ways to incorporate it into your diet.

Vitamin C and Antioxidant Content

Nutritionally, camu camu is one of the most concentrated natural food sources of vitamin C, which is also an antioxidant. The fruit's pulp provides a high amount of vitamin C compared to other fruits, per one study published in 2022 in the journal Antioxidants.

Regarding serving sizes, per the Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended daily amounts of vitamin C vary depending on health status. Generally, adult women should aim for 75 milligrams daily, and adult men should aim for 90 milligrams daily. 

Unless under the supervision of a healthcare provider, the maximum amount of vitamin C you should take is 2,000 milligrams daily. Amounts beyond the upper limit may cause an upset stomach.

Still, the processing of camu camu destroys some of its natural vitamin C. But even in a processed state, camu camu is an excellent source of vitamin C. Also, one study published in 2015 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine explained that how you store camu camu affects vitamin C content.

The study described how the concentration of vitamin C decreases over time and depends on the temperature at which you store camu camu. But during the study period, despite losing 26% of the vitamin C content over 335 days at zero degrees, the concentration of vitamin C remained at 1.16 grams per 100 grams of pulp.

Beyond the antioxidant vitamin C, the study described the high content of other antioxidants in camu camu. Camu camu demonstrated higher antioxidant content and activity against free radicals than other fruits. Free radicals are harmful substances in the body that cause cell damage, increasing your risk of premature aging and chronic disease.

Other Vitamin, Mineral, and Amino Acid Content

One study published in 2015 in Food and Nutrition Sciences described numerous other health benefits of camu camu—including its mineral content. 

The study analyzed the nutrient profile of freeze-dried camu camu. The researchers found that potassium was one of the minerals in the highest concentration. Also, the pulp was a good source of calcium.

Per the nutrient profile in the study, camu camu also contained magnesium and smaller amounts of manganese, iron, zinc, copper, and vitamin B12.

The researchers found some amino acids, and camu camu provides some essential amino acids. Still, the berry is not a complete protein nor a substantial source of protein.

May Provide Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Camu camu may be anti-inflammatory. The 2015 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine described two studies demonstrating camu camu's potent anti-inflammatory properties. However, those studies were conducted on animals. 

Additionally, one study published in 2018 in the journal Medicines described two studies conducted on humans in which camu camu was found to decrease inflammation. The researchers hypothesized that polyphenols, antioxidants in camu camu, helps reduce inflammation. 

All in all, more research is needed to understand how camu camu may reduce or prevent inflammation in the body.

Impact on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

One study published in 2019 in the journal Gut gave camu camu to mice on high-fat, high-sugar diets. The mice experienced beneficial changes in their gut microbiome and decreased obesity.

After consuming camu camu, diet-induced weight gain stopped after 14 days. Additionally, the researchers found camu camu improved the metabolic syndrome in the mice. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Risk factors of metabolic syndrome include: 

  • Abdominal obesity
  • High triglyceride (a type of fat found in the blood) levels
  • Low HDL, or "good," cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar levels

Still, more research is needed to determine if those health benefits are the same in humans.

How To Use Camu Camu in Meals

Many of the supposed health benefits of camu camu require additional research, especially in humans. Still, the fruit contains many vitamins and minerals and has a high antioxidant content. 

If you want to incorporate camu camu into your diet, you can purchase camu camu powder and add a pinch to smoothies. You can also blend it into yogurt, oatmeal, or baked goods. Or you can try about one-fourth of a teaspoon in your favorite herbal tea.

Be Aware of a Few Risks of Camu Camu

However, when it comes to camu camu supplements, be cautious. Most carry a warning for pregnant or nursing individuals, stating that they should consult their healthcare provider before taking it.

And regardless of your health status, discussing any supplement or medicinal therapy you plan to take with a healthcare provider is always a good idea. And if you're already taking other medications or supplements or undergoing medical treatments, you may want to consult your healthcare provider. 

A Quick Review

Camu camu is a trendy berry native to the Amazon rainforest and has many possible health benefits. It packs vitamin C and other antioxidants, may decrease inflammation, and fight obesity. Still, as of November 2022, there's limited research on the health benefits of camu camu in humans. 

Camu camu is typically available in the form of powder. Before you sprinkle a pinch in a smoothie or an herbal tea, you may want to consult your healthcare provider about any potential risks.

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