Camu Camu Health Benefits
Camu camu health benefits include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties largely related to its extremely high vitamin C levels. In addition to extraordinarily high vitamin C levels, camu camu also contains beta-carotene, fatty acids, protein, the amino acids leucine, serine, and valine, and various flavonoids such as anthocyanins, flavonols, catechins, ellagic acid, and rutin.
Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a small bushy tree that is native to the Amazon rainforest region in Peru and Brazil. The bush bears red/purple fruit that look like cherries. The vitamin C content declines as the fruit reaches full maturity, but the flavor of the fruit improves.
Studies of Camu Camu
Tokyo University scientists evaluated the camu camu health benefits related to its anti-inflammatory powers. An extract of the camu camu seeds was administered to the inflamed paws of mice. The camu camu extract significantly reduced the formation of inflammation in the mice. Spectroscopic analysis revealed the active compound in the camu camu extract to be betulinic acid, known to be an anti-inflammatory. The study’s authors concluded that “camu-camu seed extract is a potentially useful material as a source of betulinic acid and as a functional food for prevention of immune-related diseases.” (Yazawa 2011)
Oxidative stress and inflammation are known to play a major role in atherosclerosis. Therefore a study published in 2008 reported on these activities of camu camu in 20 males who smoked and who were thus considered to be in a state of accelerated oxidative stress. The participants were randomly chosen to take either 70 mL of 100 percent camu camu juice (equaling 1,050 mg of vitamin C) or 1,050 mg of vitamin C tablets daily.
After 7 days, specific markers for oxidative stress were significantly decreased in the men who had taken camu camu while there was no change in the vitamin C group. The study’s authors concluded that camu camu health benefits in the juice “may have powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, compared to vitamin C tablets.” They also stated that the positive results seen in their study “may be due to the existence of unknown anti-oxidant substances besides vitamin C or unknown substances modulating in vivo vitamin C kinetics in camu-camu.” (Inoue 2008)
The ORAC (Oxyten Radical Absorbance Capacity) of camu camu of a proprietary product was measured in tests conducted by Brunswick Labs. Total ORAC results for whole fruit were 2,600 per gram and for the freeze-dried powder, 52,000 per gram. (Natural Products)
How To Use Camu Camu
Camu camu supplements are available mainly as a powder that is made from the fruit pulp, either loose or in capsules. To experience camu camu health benefits, men should consult their healthcare provider before starting supplementation.
Natural Products Insider: http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/news/2011/03/amazon-origins-camu-camu-gets-high-orac-marks.aspx Information on camu camu health benefits
Inoue T et al. Troical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. J Cardiol 2008 Oct; 52(2): 127-32
Yazawa K et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of seeds of the tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia). J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2011; 57(1): 104-7