Since the discovery that lemons cure scurvy, everyone knows the crucial role that Vitamin C plays in the human body. However, most don’t know about this super C fruit source, or how it will make a difference in their lives. Do you think the best way to get Vitamin C is by eating oranges and kiwis? What if I told you about a more convenient way that also cuts costs and boosts vitality? It’s called camu camu.
Wholefood vs. Synthetic
Camu camu, scientifically known as Myrciaria dubia, is known best for its amazingly high content of whole food vitamin C. How high you ask? It is second only to one other fruit, the Australian Kakadu plum (Gubinge), containing between 1570 mg to 3,000 mg of per 100g. That’s one sour power-packed punch! (1)
That means enjoying only half a teaspoon would meet your daily requirements. This Amazonian berry is actually a relative of the guava fruit but has exceptionally higher concentrations of vitamin C in its raw form. Since Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and is heat-sensitive, the human bioavailability will be drastically cut down if it is cooked. That’s why it’s always best to go raw for nutrition purposes. (2)
So why choose the wholefood form over synthetic?
First, the latter is often derived from genetically-modified corn starch, corn sugar, or rice starch. Not fun! (3)
Second, think of it as a car. Calling the body of a car without the wheels and lights a “vehicle” makes just as much sense as referring ascorbic acid as vitamin C. Other critical co-factors are essential to the whole complex for optimal digestion, assimilation, and the prevention of oxidation. These include rutin, vitamin P (bioflavonoids), hesperidin, tyrosinase, and ascorbigen to name a few. (4, 5)
Dr. Royal Lee put it this way:
“Vitamins cannot be isolated from their complexes and still perform their specific life functions within the cells. When isolated into artificial commercial forms, like ascorbic acid, these ‘purified synthetics’ act as drugs in the body. They are no longer vitamins, and to call them such is inaccurate.” (5)
Further evidence suggests that the ascorbic acid isolate may cause a toxic load of iron to be absorbed. It has been linked to causing DNA damage, kidney stones, upset stomach digestion, and even killing off beneficial microbes in the gut. (6)
Other natural alternatives for wholefood high vitamin C include acerola cherry, amla berry, pine needles, and rose hips.
This little cherry-like fruit also comes loaded with free radical-scavenging antioxidants. These compounds can counteract cellular damage and reduce the risk of chronic degenerative diseases. (7)
Two prominent ones are anthocyanins, a blueish-purple pigment, and beta-carotenes, a red-orangish pigment. These both play a significant role in combatting inflammatory processes and oxidative stress. (8)
For instance, researchers conducted a week-long clinical study of 20 smokers. During that week, each participant drank 70ml of camu camu juice daily (1,050 mg of vitamin C). Results showed significantly lower oxidation and the inflammatory markers interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein. (9)
Research has found that this amazing fruit contributes also to healthy weight loss. Nice! A 2019 study published in the journal Gut concluded that eating camu camu “prevents visceral and liver fat deposition through BAT activation and increased energy expenditure.” Additionally, eating this super C fruit strongly correlates to better health thanks to higher bacterial diversity in the gut microbiota. (10)
The United Graduate School of Agricultural Science did research in Japan and found that camu camu contains the compound 1-methylmalate. Researchers gave animals with induced cirrhosis of the liver camu camu powder for one week, and they found it suppresses the liver injury. (11)
If you or a loved wants to attempt a natural method to address cirrhosis or liver disease, then this is worth a try.
Since vitamin C is a necessary pre-cursor to making the feel-good hormone serotonin, then this berry may also enhance mood and mental well-being. But super fruits like camu camu may also reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, because vitamin C may help eliminate the beta amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. (12)
This Super C fruit also improves mental performance, as it has the brain-boosting amino acid serine. We could all use some increased mental acuity! (13)