Super Powers and Health Benefits of Camu Camu Berries
- Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammation Effects
- Diabetes Protection
- Cataract Prevention
Secret Compounds in Camu Camu Berries
- Vitamin C – You’re probably aware of the many super-powers that Vitamin C can endow you with. It’s an extremely potent antioxidant that has the ability to kick free radicals into the stratosphere. This means it shields your DNA from damage, steering you out of harm’s way from cancer and heart disease. Vitamin C also fortifies your body’s natural defenses, giving your immune system super powers against microbial super-villains such as the flu and the common cold. Finally, Vitamin C supercharges your nervous system, keeping it impervious to diseases of the brain and eyes.
- Carotenoids – They have powerful antioxidant properties. Of those successfully identified in the Camu Camu berry (and there are LOTS), lutein is the most abundant. Other important ones are β-carotene and zeaxanthin.
- Phenolic Compounds – They are understood to protect against oxidation, and help to both stop and prevent diseases. The berry’s key polyphenols are Anthocyanins and Flavonols.
- Fatty Acids – In the most basic sense, fatty acids are sources of fuel for the body. In particular, skeletal and heart muscles get the most benefit. These berries contain mostly α-linolenic, γ-linolenic, eicosadienoic, linoleic, oleic, stearic, and tricosanoic acids.
- Minerals and Amino Acids – Better to think of these compounds as building blocks. Camu Camu is a great source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, leucine, valine, and serine.
Identifying the Came Camu Berry
Like several other super-powered fruits, camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) comes from the mysterious Amazonian rainforests in South America.
When you think of natural sources of Vitamin C, most people think about oranges. But in light of a lesser-known, more exotic SuperFruit called Camu Camu, oranges are mere mortals. Don’t get me wrong — oranges are nutritional bad-asses. But their superpowers pale in comparison to camu camu, which boasts 50 times the Vitamin C! Oranges typically have about 1,000 ppm of Vitamin C, while camu camu has about 50,000 ppm! That means you’d have to eat 50 oranges to get the same level of Vitamin C as a single serving of delicious camu camu berries.
Camu Camu Berry Research from the Lab
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammation. The health benefits of camu berry include anti-oxidant and anti-inflammation capacities. It has shown to effective against several kinds of oxidation and inflammation markers, including 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine, total reactive oxygen species, C reactive protein, IL-6, and IL-8. Some may attribute to this simply to high levels of vitamin C, but a Japanese study of 20 male smokers found that camu camu juice outperformed vitamin C. The camu berry group showed reduced markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, while the vitamin C group did not. The researchers concluded that the effects of camu camu “may be due to the existence of unknown anti-oxidant substances besides vitamin C” and that it may be helpful in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
Diabetes Protection. Camu camu was also found to inhibit aldose reductase, an enzyme often leads to complications in those with diabetes mellitus. The effect against aldose reductase was about 60 times greater than quercetin.
Prevent Cataracts. Because of its high vitamin C content, camu camu has the ability to prevent cataract formation.
Camu Camu Berry Research References
- Mst. Sorifa Akter, Sejong Oh, Jong-Bang Eun, Maruf Ahmed, Nutritional compositions and health promoting phytochemicals of camu-camu (myrciaria dubia) fruit: A review, Food Research International, Volume 44, Issue 7, August 2011, Pages 1728-1732, ISSN 0963-9969, 10.1016/j.foodres.2011.03.045.
- Inoue T, Komoda H, Uchida T, Node K. “Tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.” J Cardiol. Oct 2008;52(2):127-132.
- Ueda H, Kuroiwa E, Tachibana Y, et al. Aldose reductase inhibitors from the leaves of Myrciaria dubia (H. B. & K.) McVaugh. Phytomedicine. Nov 2004;11(7-8):652-656.
- María Pastor Valero, et al. “Vitamin C Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Cataract in a Mediterranean Population”J Nutr. 2002, 132(6):1299-1306.