Camu Camu Benefits: How Legit Is This Buzzy Anti-Inflammatory Fruit?

Written by Tanya Choudhary
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Camu camu is a sour berry native to the Amazon rainforest. It is exceptionally high in vitamin C and is used for various purposes. It is believed to fight inflammation and boost immunity, and may offer other important benefits. But do they mean this fruit is totally safe? Here, we discuss the benefits of camu camu and its potential side effects you must be wary of. Keep reading.

What Is Camu Camu?

Myrciaria dubia or camu camu is a special bushy tree from the Amazon rainforest. The tree bears round red berries that resemble cherries that are native to Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon. With the increasing demand for immunity-boosting foods, camu camu is gaining popularity as a supplement. The fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. It is edible with a sweetish tangy flavor. In studies, it was found to prevent immune-related disorders in mice (1).

Camu Camu Nutrition Facts

Camu camu is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a high antioxidant food. Following are the nutrients in 100 grams of camu camu pulp:

  • Vitamin C: 2.4 to 3 g
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.04 mg
  • Vitamin A: 14.2 µg
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.01 mg
  • Magnesium: 12.38 mg
  • Calcium: Ca 27 mg
  • Phosphorus: 17 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 4.7 g
  • Total Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g

How Does Camu Camu Work?

Camu camu is antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiproliferative in nature. Its high phenolic concentrations inhibit the growth of bacteria. It is also rich in vitamin C that contributes to its antioxidant nature (2). It may also help treat immune-related disorders, though more research is required in this regard.

We have discussed the health benefits of camu camu in the following section.

Evidence-Based Health Benefits Of Camu Camu

1. Has Antioxidant And Anti-Inflammatory Properties

This Amazonian berry is rich in antioxidants and can also reduce inflammation (3). Antioxidants protect the cells from the harmful action of free radicals. Regular intake of camu camu in specified dosage can help fight inflammation and decrease oxidative stress. However, the bioactives in camu camu responsible for these properties are yet to be clearly established.

2. May Improve Immune Function

Camu camu is rich in vitamin C that is known for its immune-boosting activity. Vitamin C also protects the body against oxidative stress caused by free radicals (4).

3. May Help Maintain Blood Cholesterol Levels

The vitamin C in camu camu can reduce the levels of serum cholesterol and also help maintain blood cholesterol levels (5).

4. May Help With Iron Absorption

The high vitamin C in camu camu facilitates iron absorption. Vitamin C can effectively absorb the iron from a meal (6).

5. May Help Regulate Postprandial Glycemia

Postprandial glycemia is characterized by a quick spike in blood sugar levels after a high-carbohydrate meal. Camu camu juice may be effective in controlling postprandial glycemia (7).

6. May Help Regulate Blood Pressure Levels

The seed coat of camu camu may have anti-hypertensive compounds that may help dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure (8).

7. May Aid Weight Loss

Camu Camu may aid weight loss by preventing visceral fat deposition and positively altering the gut bacteria (9). However, more research in humans is warranted in this regard.

These are the major benefits of camu camu. But before you go for the fruit, you must be aware of its potential side effects too.

Camu Camu: Potential Side Effects

Almost all natural foods may have a few potential side effects that generally occur due to its overconsumption. Camu camu also, if taken in excess, may cause the following adverse effects.

1. Digestive Problems

The high levels of vitamin C in camu camu may increase the levels of stomach acids and lead to intestinal wall damage, along with other digestive problems. However, research is limited in this regard.

2. Insomnia And Appetite Loss

Some believe camu camu may elevate serotonin levels that may lead to insomnia or a loss of appetite. Serotonin is essential for regulating your mood and appetite. It is a neurotransmitter that tells the brain whether you are happy or hungry.

Although a healthy serotonin level can alleviate depression, improve your mood, and make you feel happier, excess of it may lead to adverse effects like lack of sleep and loss of appetite. However, limited research is available to prove this adverse effect of camu camu.

3. Chronic Diarrhea

Digestive problems usually lead to constipation and bloating or diarrhea. With camu camu, excess vitamin C may lead to counter-reactions and diarrhea (10).
Note that these side effects, though adverse, are rare. But keep in mind not to consume camu camu in excess.

Dosing

Camu camu is preferably consumed in the form of powder as the fruit has a strong tangy flavor. Five grams of camu camu powder has 682 mg of vitamin C, and covers 760% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) of vitamin C. The Tolerable Upper Limit (TUL) for vitamin C is 2,000 mg per day and the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. However, these recommendations may slightly vary from one individual to another (11), (12).

Interactions

Camu camu may possibly interact with few chemotherapy drugs that rely on free radicals. The vitamin C in camu camu may fight the free radicals and interrupt treatment. However, detailed scientific research is not conducted to clearly establish this interaction.

Special Precautions and Warnings

  • Pregnant Women And Lactating Mothers: There is no scientific data to suggest any harmful impacts of camu camu on pregnancy. However, it is recommended to avoid the intake of camu camu without informing your gynecologist
  • Driving: Camu camu is thought to cause dizziness in a few individuals. If you tend to experience the same, avoid driving right after consuming the fruit.
  • Alcohol: The interaction between alcohol and camu camu is not yet established. However, it is advised to limit alcohol consumption while taking the fruit or any associated vitamins or supplements.

Conclusion

Camu camu is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins. Consuming it as a supplement or as a fruit, in the recommended doses, can offer maximum benefits. However, one should stop intake of they observe any side effects. These effects are usually rare and most often subside on their own once the intake is stopped. But if the effects persist, consult your doctor immediately.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is camu camu a stimulant?

Camu Camu is not a stimulant. However, in few regions, it is used as an energy booster to improve overall health. But there is no clear scientific research to back this claim.

Is camu camu acidic or alkaline?

Camu camu is acidic as it is rich in Vitamin C.

What does camu camu taste like?

Camu camu has a sour flavor. It tastes like a tangy citrus fruit because of its acidity.

Is camu camu good for your skin?

Camu camu is rich in antioxidants and can reduce the effects of oxidative stress on skin. It also may offer anti-aging benefits. However, research is limited in this regard.

Does camu camu help deal with depression?

Camu camu may help alleviate depression, though it cannot be considered an anti-depressant. It is rich in vitamin C, whose deficiency is associated with adverse mood and cognitive effects (13).

How do you dissolve camu camu powder?

Camu camu does not dissolve in water easily and may also form lumps. A whisker may help you mix it properly. Do not mix camu camu with hot water as it may alter its nutrients. It is always recommended to add camu camu after food preparation to avoid loss of nutrients due to high temperatures.

Sources

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  1. Anti-inflammatory effects of seeds of the tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia)
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21512298/
  2. By-Products of Camu-Camu [Myrciaria dubia (Kunth) McVaugh] as Promising Sources of Bioactive High Added-Value Food Ingredients: Functionalization of Yogurts
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6982765/
  3. Tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18922386/
  4. Vitamin C and Immune Function
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29099763/
  5. Vitamin C supplementation lowers serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides: a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682928/
  6. Interaction of vitamin C and iron
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6940487/
  7. Effect of clarified Brazilian native fruit juices on postprandial glycemia in healthy subjects
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28888441/
  8. In vitro antioxidant and antihypertensive compounds from camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia McVaugh Myrtaceae) seed coat: A multivariate structure-activity study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30055315/
  9. Treatment with camu camu ( Myrciaria dubia) prevents obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30064988/
  10. Vitamin C
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/
  11. Vitamin C in health and disease
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15150630/
  12. Vitamins E and C are safe across a broad range of intakes
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15817846/
  13. The neuropsychiatric effects of vitamin C deficiency: a systematic review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302360/
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The one with a constant energy that can leave you awed, Tanya can jump around and talk for the whole day. If not found writing away the desired articles, she can easily be spotted glued to the youtube, eyes wide, spazzing over the perfection of her favorite singer. Functioning without music (Bollywood, Hollywood, Spanish, German, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and what not- Because music is music), and a big cup of tea is an impossibility for her. Ever heard of a totally weird soul that could go frenzy over the smell of a book, especially if it's a Dan Brown or Lee Child? Yep! That would be her.