Article Written By: Dr. J. Moulton, ND BSc.(Hons)
Oxidative stress as well as inflammation plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of many chronic disease. “Camu-camu” (Myrciaria dubia) is an Amazonian fruit that offers high vitamin C content with both anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory effects. As patient-centered care is embracing a multimodal, integrative approach to the management of disease, patients and physicians are increasingly looking to the potential contribution of natural products.
Orally, camu camu is used for asthma, atherosclerosis, cataracts, herpes cold sores, common cold, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), depression, gingivitis, glaucoma, headache, osteoarthritis, and shingles. It is used to increase energy and maintain healthy gums, eyes, and skin, and as a strong antioxidant and immune stimulant.
The applicable parts of camu camu are the fruit and leaves. Camu camu fruit contains proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The vitamin C content is high, ranging from 1300 mg to 3000 mg per 100 grams of fruit pulp and 2000 mg to 5000 mg per 100 grams of peel. Camu camu contains carotenoids, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, manganese, iron and zinc. Camu camu is a low-growing shrub, populating swampy or flooded areas. The shrub grows to a height of 1 to 3 m, with globular fruits with a diameter of 1.0–3.2 cm. It has a thin, shiny skin with a juicy (and extremely acidic) pink pulp surrounding one to four seeds. The fruit is not consumed in its natural state, except by the indigenous peoples who inhabit the fruit’s natural territories, because of its very high acidity; rather, it is generally consumed in the form of juices, purees, and pulp.
The Science behind How Camu Camu reduces Oxidation:
Drinking 70mL of 100% camu camu juice, equivalent to1050mg vitamin C, daily for 7 days reduces levels of oxidative stress markers to a greater extent than consuming1050mg vitamin C in tablet form. In adult male smokers, serum levels of total reactive oxygen species, C-reactive protein, and interleukins (IL)-6 and -8 are reduced after consumption of camu camu.
Our results suggest that camu-camu juice may have powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, compared to vitamin C tablets containing equivalent vitamin C content.
These effects 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. Emergen-C powder packs can provide 1000mg of vitamin C but as this article noted there were more anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities using camu camu juice compared to vitamin C alone. Camu camu also provides up to 3000mg vitamin C per 100g of fruit pulp. I came across Camu Camu when I was researching vitamin C containing fruits and veggies but didn’t know where I could get it or how to consume it.
So I too went on the band wagon of buying Emergen-C packs because they were readily available and easy to use. However after discovering Miski Organics a local company out of Burlington, Ontario I now have the perfect local organic source of this magical super fruit. Sold as a powder so that it is convenient to use and store.
Langley, P. C., Pergolizzi, J. V., Jr, Taylor, R., Jr, & Ridgway, C. (2015). Antioxidant and associated capacities of Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia): a systematic review. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 21(1), 8–14. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2014.0130
Justi KC, Visentainer JV, Evelazio de Souza N, Matsushita M. Nutritional composition and vitamin C stability in stored camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) pulp. Arch Latinoam Nutr 2000;50:405-8
Ueda H, Kuroiwa E, Tachibana Y, et al. Aldose reductase inhibitors from the leaves of Myrciaria dubia (H. B. & K.) McVaugh. Phytomedicine 2004;11:652-6
Inoue T, Komoda H, Uchida T, Node K. Tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. J Cardiol 2008;52(2):127-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2008.06.004.