What is Camu Camu Powder?

Camu camu (Mycaria dubia) is native Amazonian fruit shrub that thrives in areas exposed to periodical flooding on the banks of rivers, streams, lakes and swamps. It grows small fruit with a thin, shiny skin and a juicy, extremely acidic pink pulp surrounding one to four seeds. These tart 'n tangy berries are considered a superfood – mainly because they pack the highest amount of natural vitamin C known on the planet – 30 to 60 times more than an orange!

Here are seven known health benefits of camu camu.

Camu Camu’s High Vitamin C Content

Vitamin C is your body’s top antioxidant. Not only does it mop up those nasty free radicals, it helps many of your body’s other antioxidants do their work better.

Research consistently associates low antioxidant intake or low blood levels of antioxidants with increased cancer risk (1). It has also been estimated that increasing antioxidant vitamins in your diet may reduce the risk of heart disease by 20-30% (2).

Camu camu can provide up to 750% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin C per teaspoon (5 grams) (3). Unlike most animals that produce their own Vitamin C, the human body does not synthesize any, so you must get it from your diet.

Camu Camu is High in Antioxidants

Along with a high vitamin C content, camu camu fruit are a major source of additional types of antioxidants, particularly beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein (4), anthocyanins (5), gallic acid, and polyphenols (6). These antioxidants scavenge free radicals to reduce oxidative stress and support cellular health which helps to maintain normal DNA. You really can't get too many antioxidants, and here are six more antioxidants that will fight for you! 

Camu Camu For Skin Health

As the highest known source of vitamin C on the planet, camu camu is going to be a powerful friend for your skin. Vitamin C is key in the production of collagen, and is required to repair and regenerate collagen, a key structural component of tendons, ligaments, bones, and youthful skin. Around the age of 25, collagen production begins to decrease, leading to the wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin we associate with aging.

Camu camu’s high antioxidant content is important for removing damaging free radicals that can damage collagen, cause skin dryness, and wrinkles. Free radicals are associated with the aging process on the inside and out (ie: skin).

Camu Camu For Immune Health

Camu camu’s support of the immune system primarily comes from its high vitamin C content and antioxidant content. Because antioxidants destroy free radicals, this protects the structural integrity of cells and tissues, which enhances certain immune responses.

Camu Camu’s Mineral Content

Camu camu’s berries are a substantive source of minerals, such as potassium, phosphorus, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, cobalt, iron, manganese, copper and smaller quantities of several others.

Camu Camu’s Amino Acid Content

Camu camu fruit also contains three predominant essential amino acids – leucine, valine, phenylalanine and serine (7). Amino acids are the building blocks of all body cells and involved in immune system function. Serine is necessary for tryptophan production, which is converted to serotonin – a mood enhancing neurotransmitter. It also assists with digestion.

Leucine and valine are branched-chain amino acids, which are essential for liver and brain health and muscle growth. They’re needed to prevent muscle breakdown.

Camu Camu and Fatty Acid Content

Camu camu berries contain several essential fatty acids, predominantly alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, and EPA.   

How to Use Camu Camu

Since camu camu grows in the Amazonian rainforest, you will not likely find it at your local farmers market. Most commonly it’s found in freeze-dried and powdered form.

Camu camu’s flavor mixes well with other citrus fruits and berries in your favorite superfood smoothies. It can also easily stir into yogurt and other powdered drink mixes.

In Peru, camu camu is a popular flavor of drinks and ice creams. Make a refreshingly tart camu camu berry lemonade by adding 1+ teaspoon of camu camu powder to freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and berries, and sweeten with stevia.

I love to make camu camu gummies, and my kids love them too.

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

References:

1. Block, G. et al. Fruit, Vegetables, and Cancer Prevention: A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence, Nutr Cancer1992;18(1):1-29.

2. Hennekens, C.H. and Gaziano, J.M., Antioxidants and Heart Disease: Epidemiology and Clinical Evidence. Clin Cardiol 1993;16(suppl I):I-10, I-15).

3. Justi KC et al. Nutritional composition and the vitamin C stability in stored camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) pulp. Arch Latinoam nutr. 2000 Dec;50(4):405-8. 

4. Azevedo-Meleiro CH, Rodriguez-Amaya DB. Confirmation of the identity of the carotenoids of tropical fruits by HPLCDAD and HPLC-MC. J Food Compos Anal 2004;17:385—96.   

5. Zanatta CF, Cuevas E, Bobbio FO, Winterhalter P, Mercadante AZ. Determination of anthocyanins from camucamu (Myrciaria dubia) by HPLC-PDA, HPLC—MS, and NMR. J Agric Food Chem 2005;30:9531—5.

6. Langley P et al. Antioxidant and associated capacities of camu camu (Myrciaria dubia): a systematic review. J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Jan 1; 21(1):8-14. 

7. Zapata S, Dufour JP. Camu camu Myrciaria dupai McVaugh: Chemical composition of fruit. J of Science of Food and Ag.   

8. Castro J et al. Myrciaria dubia “camu camu” fruit: health-promoting phytochemicals and functional genomic characteristics. June 13, 2018. 

Live Superfoods Camu Camu Powder is now even better! We still have the fresh, potent, Vitamin C-rich camu, but now it's USDA-certified organic.

Want a little more information? Here you go:

Camu camu is a bush, native to the South American rainforest, that grows in the black water rivers of the Amazon. Its small, purplish red fruits are a rich source of antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals that support and enhance health.

Camu camu fruits contain more vitamin C than any other plant in the world from 30 to 60 times more than an orange. They also contain amino acids including serine, valine, and leucine; and significant levels of beta carotene, calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, and thiamin.

The phytochemicals in camu camu are highly effective in curbing the effects of the herpes virus; in fact, on a list of plants with anti-herpetic compounds, camu camu takes the highest honors as most potent. It is effective against depression, and has even been used to wean users off dangerous antidepressive medications (under medical supervision, of course.) Alternative medical practitioners have also been using it to combat attention deficit disorder.

Camu camu also:

  • Provides immune system support
  • Helps maintain good eyesight
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Supports collagen, tendons, and ligaments
  • Helps fend off viral infection
  • Improves respiratory health
  • Helps maintain clarity of mind during stress

USDA-certified organic in the form of a pure, unadulterated powder with a light tan color. It takes 15 pounds of berries to make one pound of the powder, which has 13-16% vitamin C by weight. Thus only a little is needed to provide you with a powerful antioxidant boost.

Suggested use: 1 teaspoon one or more times daily mixed in water, juice or smoothies.

Live Superfoods Camu Camu Powder is fresh, potent, vitamin C-rich camu that's raw, vegan, USDA-certified organic and gluten-free.

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