Camu camu is a type of shrub that can be found in the swampy or flooded parts of the Amazon rain forests in Venezuela, Peru, Brazil and Colombia. As with pretty much all random shrubs found in rain forests, its leaves and fruits have a number of proposed medicinal properties that product manufacturers are keen to promote.
Unlike many of the random herbs found in remote parts of the world though, camu camu is actually able to deliver on many of its promises.
What Camu Camu Can Do for You?
The camu camu fruit is especially high in vitamin C and also contains good quantities of beta-carotene, protein, fatty acids and more nutrients.
At this point you might be thinking ‘just another super fruit then’. After all, there is no shortage of fuit high in those various nutrients.
Actually, camu camu is possibly the highest natural source of vitamin C yet discovered. It can contain as much as 56 times more vitamin C than a lemon and 60 times more than an orange. More specifically, it contains 12 grams of vitamin C for every 100 gram portion.
Vitamin C is highly beneficial for the immune system and for combating illness as you likely know. What’s more, it is also a potent antioxidant capable of reducing cancer risk and other ailments. What’s more, it also contains lots of iron, riboflavin and phosphorous – in similarly impressive quantities compared with other fruits.
Camu camu can also be used as a powder, or as a juice.
No matter what type of nutrient you are considering, it’s important to note that everything is best in moderation. There is an upper limit to how much vitamin C should be taken in a day – and if you surpass this, it can have negative health effects. While the RDA for vitamin C is around 75-85mg daily, you can safely go a long way beyond this and 2,000mg per day may in fact be beneficial for boosting the immune system.
Go much beyond this though and you can end up experiencing frequent urination and diarrhea as the body attempts to remove the surplus. Camu camu can also be bad for digestion in high quantities, owing to the acidic nature of vitamin C. Too much vitamin C can also increase iron absorption potentially leading to iron poisoning.
Note that most of these side effects only come from excess consumption of camu camu. This is a harmless fruit for the most part that can be consumed safely in other forms – but don’t overdo it and think about what is already in your diet as well.
Should You Use Camu Camu
If you search for articles on camu camu on the web, you’ll quickly come across lists of its many benefits, which list it as a treatment for depression and a great way to fight the effects of ageing.
Note though, that most of these attributes however come from the high quantities of vitamin C. Undoubtedly this is a good thing, but do keep in mind that it’s still just a vitamin. Serotonin is elevated by vitamin C for instance which is likely where it gets its mood-boosting benefits from.
This is all good and well but there are other ways you can get your vitamin C – a balanced and healthy diet being one. Camu camu offers a very convenient way to get a good dose of vitamin C that should be readily absorbed by the body (more so than vitamin supplements) – but it isn’t a magic elixir and it won’t change your life. So just don’t spend too much money on it!