- Camu camu is an Amazonian fruit found in Peru and Brazil
- Camu camu extracts increased resting metabolism in mice
- The effects of camu camu extracts have not been proven in humans
Obesity is a medical condition in which excessive body fat gets accumulated to a point that it starts resulting in other health complications for the patient. An increasing number of people are falling prey to the disease, due to a number of reasons including unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and rising stress. Researchers and health scientists are now looking at solutions to regulate obesity and weight gain and a recent research study may have achieved a breakthrough. A team of researchers at the Universite Laval in Quebec in Canada have recently discovered that the extract of an Amazonian fruit Camu camu may be able to prevent obesity induced by a high-fat and high-sugar diet, as well as metabolic disease. However, the study that was published in the Journal Gut, has only been conducted on rats and positive effects of the fruit's extracts are yet to be seen in human beings.
What Is Camu Camu?
Camu camu is an Amazonian fruit also known as Myrciaria dubia and it is obtained from a small busy riverside tree. The tree grows in the Amazonian rainforest in Peru and Brazil. The fruit is red or purple in colour and has a cherry-like appearance. The fruit has long earned the title of a superfood, due to its extraordinarily high levels of vitamin C, which generally decline as the fruit achieves full maturity. As far as the nutrition of the fruit is concerned, it is extremely healthy as it is rich in flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, flavonols, catechins and flavanols, etc. The levels of vitamin C in the fruit range from 1882mg to 2280 mg per 100 gm of the fruit, depending on its ripeness! These levels indicate vitamin C which is 20 or 30 times more than what is found in kiwi fruit. In fact, vitamin C content in camu camu makes up for 2-3 per cent of its fresh weight. Not only that, camu camu has five times the level of polyphenols found in blackberries.
Moreover, camu camu has other essential nutrients and minerals, including 1.1 gm fibre per 100 gm of the fruit. In same amount of fruit, the magnesium content is 12.4 mg and the calcium content is 15.7 mg. The fruit has gained prominence in the West only recently and has started making an appearance as an ingredient in ice-creams and sweets. Camu camu fruit powder, which is basically processed powder derived from the fruit's pulp, has also started being sold in the West. It is also available in the form of capsules and camu camu extracts have already been commercialised to remedy fatigue, stress and weak immune system.
Camu Camu For Obesity
The study suggested that camu camu extracts increased resting metabolism in mice that consumed them. The fruit extracts also improved glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity, as well as concentrations of endotoxins and metabolic inflammation. Lead investigator Andre Marette, who is a professor at the University of Quebec, said that the above changes in the mice bodies were accompanied by a reshaping of the intestinal microbiota. She said that the researchers observed "a blooming of A. muciniphila and a significant reduction in Lactobacillus bacteria." The results of the study indicated that camu camu extracts could significantly restrict weight gain even in mice who were fed a diet rich in fats and sugar. However, more experiments are needed to ascertain whether or not the fruit is able to produce similar metabolic changes in humans as well.
(With IANS inputs)