Top 7 Benefits of Camu Camu: A Powerful Superfood
Are you ready to learn about another unique superfood? Meet the camu camu berry.
Native to Latin America, this potent berry has massively high levels of vitamin C and powerful antioxidants to support the immune system, aid in weight loss, and assist and plenty of other bodily functions.
Not only is it powerful, but camu camu is generally safe for almost everyone to take advantage of.
In this post, we’ll go over some of the best benefits of camu camu, side effects, and everything else you need to know about this underrated superfood.
What is Camu Camu?
Found throughout the Amazonian rainforest in countries like Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, camu camu is known scientifically as myrciaria dubia. You may also hear it called cacari or camocamo.
Camu camu berries grow on a bushy tree that can reach over 16-feet in height. The berries themselves resemble cherries with a deep reddish-purple hue. If you saw camu camu berries in the wild, you may avoid them and assume they’re poisonous.—they’re definitely not.
Camu camu berries are closely related to guava berries (not to be confused with guava), Brazilian grapes, and rumberries.
What sets camu camu berries apart from other superfoods is their high vitamin C content – 2 to 3% of the fruit is pure vitamin C. To put that into comparison, one orange has about 51mg of vitamin C – about 85% of your recommended daily value – while a one-teaspoon serving of camu camu contains 682mg – 760% of your recommended daily value.
You can find camu camu berries in powders, supplement capsules, and juices.
You may want to opt for supplements or dilute the juice with other flavors because camu camu has a sour flavor.
Beneficial Compounds in Camu Camu
As we’ve already mentioned, camu camu is one of the best sources of vitamin C you can find which is crucial for supporting a healthy immune system.
However, that’s not all: camu camu also contains a plethora of antioxidants to protect the body as an anti-inflammatory and defend against free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Vitamin C itself is an antioxidant. Other antioxidants in camu camu include flavonoids, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid. Free radicals are some of the main culprits responsible for age-related chronic conditions like cancer so antioxidants are important for defending your body.
Camu camu berries also boast a surprising amino acid profile with valine, leucine, and serine which are helpful for numerous bodily functions including muscle growth.
Beyond antioxidants and amino acids, camu camu berries contain beneficial levels of potassium and beta carotene.
Top Camu Camu Benefits
As a potent superfood, camu camu berry has numerous benefits. Here’s what science says.
Keep in mind that the antioxidants and compounds in camu camu may have several additional benefits that have yet to be studied.
1. Supports the Immune System
The most obvious benefit associated with camu camu is that it supports the immune system thanks to its hefty vitamin C content.
However, camu camu seed extracts also contain betulinic acid which can help the body defend itself against immune-related illnesses. (1)
2. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation impacts virtually every bodily function. Chronic inflammation is directly linked with conditions like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, allergies, and diabetes. (2)
Fortunately, the antioxidants in camu camu berries can help reduce and defend against inflammation. Studies show that consuming camu camu juice for one week significantly reduces inflammatory markers in humans even when mere vitamin C supplementation falls short. (3)
3. Defends Against Aging
You’ve probably seen skincare commercials touting the benefits of vitamin C and antioxidants for defending against the visible signs of aging. The good news is that they’re at least partially right.
The vitamin C and antioxidant content in camu camu berries play an important role in supporting the body’s natural collagen production. Collagen is what gives your skin its youthful elasticity. Drink up. (4)
4. Can Reduce the Oxidative Damage from Smoking
If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your body is to kick the habit right now – so don’t use this information as an excuse to keep smoking. If you’ve already quit smoking and want to reverse some of the oxidative damage, however, camu camu berries may be your new best friend.
One study looked at 20 men who drank camu camu juice for one week. The men who drank the juice displayed lower oxidative stress than the men who only took vitamin C supplements. (5)
5. May Assist with Weight Loss
Obesity is a public health concern because it leads to deadly chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Studies on obese rats have found that camu camu berries can assist with weight loss because it may increase the number of calories burned while supporting healthy gut bacteria which are crucial for digestion. (6)
6. Can Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels put you at risk for developing diabetes. Camu camu provides a natural solution to ward off diabetes by supporting healthy blood glucose levels.
Studies show that camu camu can significantly decrease fasting blood sugar levels mildly improve triglyceride levels. (7)
7. May Support Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
Chronic high blood pressure leads to a huge range of complications like stroke and heart attack. Fortunately, camu camu is one of the best natural remedies for reducing unhealthy blood pressure levels.
Studies show on humans show that even a single dose of camu camu can vastly reduce blood pressure levels and improve vasodilation to support healthy blood flow. (8)
Is Camu Camu Good for Your Skin?
Camu camu is an excellent and extremely underrated natural superfood for optimal skin health.
You have two options for taking advantage of camu camu for skin health. First, you can consume camu camu as a dietary supplement. The powerful superfood contains high levels of vitamin C which supports healthy collagen production.
Plus, the antioxidants defend against free radical damage and oxidative stress.
You can also find topical skincare products made from camu camu or you could add camu camu powder to your favorite skincare products. When applied topically, camu camu can still reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress by protecting the skin. It may also reduce fine lines and wrinkles and provide a beautiful youthful glow.
Keep in mind: topical products that contain vitamin C can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun so it’s best to avoid sun exposure and always wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
Is Camu Camu Good for Your Hair?
You can try consuming camu camu orally for hair care but you’re probably better off applying camu camu oil directly to your hair and scalp.
The vitamin c and antioxidants may support healthy collagen levels on your scalp. Studies show that collagen can reduce age-related hair loss and thinning.
Some believe that camu camu can improve your hair’s shine and color. Since it’s safe to use topically, there’s no reason to avoid giving camu camu a shot for hair care.
How Much Should You Take Daily?
Your recommended dose of camu camu depends on many factors including your age, gender, and goals. Plus, many camu camu products are made from different plants with unique properties so check the label on the package to see what the manufacturer recommends.
Keep in mind that more doesn’t always mean better.
Although it’s difficult to overdose on vitamin C, the upper limit tops out at about 2,000 mg a day. Considering that one teaspoon of camu camu contains 670mg, increasing your dose could mean quickly exceeding that 2,000mg threshold.
Too much vitamin C can lead to nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, and insomnia.
How to Use Camu Camu
You can take camu camu powder in supplement form, if you want to take the simple route.
You can also add the juice to smoothies and other tasty treats.
Camu camu powder is extremely versatile. Feel free to mix the powder into yogurts, milks smoothies, oatmeal, and even face masks.
Potential Interactions and Side Effects of Camu Camu
Camu camu may increase your serotonin levels which makes it great for a mood stabilizer and weight loss aid but this can also lead to insomnia and a reduced appetite.
High serotonin levels can also cause an increased heart rate – especially in people who already suffer from tachycardia.
Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron – which is a good thing until it’s not. Too much vitamin C can lead to iron poisoning so make sure to stay within the upper limit of 2,000mg per day.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner before taking a camu camu supplement. There’s a possibility that it may interact with certain chemotherapy or autoimmune medications.
The Bottom Line
As a true superfood, Camu camu is generally safe and boasts many awesome health benefits thanks to its super-high vitamin C levels and potent antioxidants.
These substances can help reduce inflammation, fight aging, support the immune system, and much more.
Camu camu is tart so instead of drinking the juice plain, consider taking a supplement or adding the powder to your yogurt and smoothies.