We can thank Dr. Linus Pauling for his research on vitamin C that has helped bring its many benefits to light. Beyond its use in scurvy prevention, vitamin C serves as a co-factor in at least eight important enzymatic functions in the body; it speeds wound healing, reduces oxidative stress (and thus decreases the risk of some cancers), boosts immune function and keeps our skin looking younger. Pauling posited that are we able to consume massive amounts of vitamin C without adverse reaction, and that we’re generally deficient in this important nutrient.
Many mammals on earth produce their own vitamin C. When they’re sick, they produce more. Pauling coined the term ‘mega-dosing‘ and experimented (often on himself) with taking massive doses—some tens of thousands of milligrams per day. Reported health benefits at high doses include superior immune response and disease prevention. It can also prevent shock, and Pauling suggested it as a cancer treatment as well as a cure for HIV/AIDS.
While we may not be consuming massive doses on a regular basis, we do need this important nutrient in our diet daily; and although it’s found in a number of foods, we can also boost our intake by going to the most vitamin C dense food on earth: the camu camu berry. The Amazonian superfruit so nice they named it twice! With 60 times more vitamin C per serving than an orange, the camu berry is incredibly nutritious. It’s also loaded with potassium, calcium, protein, beta carotene and lots of powerful phytochemicals and amino acids.
The camu camu berry comes from a dense rainforest shrub (Myrciaria Dubia) that is native to the lush tropical climates along the Amazonian rainforest’s Black Water River region where it has been treasured for its potent medicinal and nutritional benefits.
Getting vitamin C from a naturally occurring source instead of a cheap synthetic (which Pauling did much of his research with, incidentally) makes it more bioavailable. This means your body will use more of it and recognize it easier. The benefits of adding camu camu berries to your diet include immune strengthening, reduced inflammation and protection against serious viral infections.
Don’t look for fresh camu camu berries in your supermarket produce section, though. They can’t be imported to the U.S., but you can find dried camu camu berry powder. Typically sold in health food stores, the powder is tart and tangy like other vitamin C products. Add it to juices and smoothies or simply mix in water to get your vitamin C boost the natural way!
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: Camu camu