Update 3/10/20. Is Amacari “The secret of the Amazon?” Is the Camu Camu berry the “miracle fruit of super fruits?” These were some of the words used to describe this supplement whose infomercial I watched on TV recently. Amacari (pronounced “am-ah-sorry”) is touted to be not only an antioxidant but also possessing both anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects. The infomercial also stated that the camu camu berry is ” backed by studies that the drug companies don’t want you to know about.” That's a bold statement and that’s what got my attention because in this era of the Internet, you can't keep studies a secret if they are published somewhere. With those words, I began my review of Amacari and camu camu fruit and the claims made during the infomercial. Keep reading and see what I discovered.
What Is Camu Camu?
The camu berry is also just called Camu Camu. It's scientific name is Myrciaria dubia. Amacari is the name given to the proprietary camu camu supplement you may have seen on TV.
As is mentioned in the TV commercial the camu berry grows in the Amazon rain forests. It also has a very high level of vitamin C. Various websites I saw stated that the camu camu berry had between 20-50% more vitamin C than oranges.
It's likely that this high vitamin C level is the reason some call camu a “super fruit,” although remember all fruits and vegetables can also be called super. Like all fruits, camu camu has fiber as well as various other vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Who Makes Amasari?
Two websites for Amacari are:
The company is located at 1712 Commercial Dr. Naples, FL 34112-4752. A contact number is (800) 223-3452
On the infomercial, it's stated that camu camu berry is:
“backed by studies that the drug companies don’t want you to know about.”
That's a powerful statement and one which I first heard used many years ago by supplement marketing legend, Kevin Trudeau .
So, what are these studies nobody wants us to know about? On the website, TryAmacari.com, there are 2 studies listed:
- A study of fruit and smokers, which will be covered below.
- A study of vitamin C and the brain.
Neither of these studies involved Amacari itself.
On another Amacari website (CamuPure.com/scientific-studies), additional studies are listed. They are as follows:
1. Camu camu: a promising fruit from the Amazon basin (this is a pdf document you will have to download to read). This study does not appear to be peer-reviewed.
In the study, researchers compared camu camu to other fruit juices in terms of its antioxidant properties. Sometimes the fruit appeared superior, although, at other times, it was not superior.
Antioxidant compounds and antioxidant capacity of Peruvian camu camu (Myrciaria dubia (H.B.K.) McVaugh) fruit at different maturity stages. This study only discusses the antioxidant properties of fruit at different stages of the ripening process. It does not appear this study involved the Amacari supplement.
3. Anti-inflammatory effects of seeds of the tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia). This is a mouse study published in 2011. A specific extract derived from the seeds of the fruit, given by mouth, reduced edemia in the paws of the mice.
This study also noted that the camu seed extract reduced nitric oxide production in the mice. How camu /Amacari alters nitric oxide levels in humans needs more research.
4. Effects of diet supplementation with camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia HBK McVaugh) fruit in a rat model of diet induced obesity. This is a rat study published in 2013. This study appears to be the source of claims that Amacari can help those who are overweight. Because this is a study of rats, the results need to be confirmed in people.
Looking over the research it appears:
1. None of the research cited on Amacari websites actually used Amacari itself, but rather, the fruit.
2. With the exception of 1 human study of smokers (I'll cover that below), all of the studies mentioned were either test tube or rat studies.
The fruit does have clincal research. But, a good amount of those studies involves test tube and lab animal research.
But, what about human evidence? Searching the National Library of Medicine for:
- Camu Camu
- Myrciaria dubia
revealed the following human studies:
In 2008, a study titled Tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, looked at the effects of Camu Camu juice to vitamin C in 20 male smokers. Both groups received the equivalent of about 1000 mg of vitamin C per day.
After 7 days, the men getting fruit were noted to have less oxidative stress (less free radical stress) and reduced inflammation than the men getting just vitamin C.
In 2013, a study titled Bolus consumption of a specifically designed fruit juice rich in anthocyanins and ascorbic acid did not influence markers of antioxidative defense in healthy humans it was noted that a juice containing fruit ―as well as other juices ―did not improve antioxidant defenses in a small group of healthy non-smokers.
Because the juice used in this study contained a variety of juices ―not just from camu camu―it's possible this may have reduced the effects of camu.
Camu Camu And Pain
Evidence for the fruit helping and arthritis pain cannot be located. In theory, the mouse edema study might mean it helps but we need human research to know for sure.
Camu Camu And Restless Leg Syndrome
No research for Amacari and restless leg syndrome could be located. Online testimonials do appear to indicate it helps, however.
Camu Camu And Aging
Some sites may claim Amasari has anti-aging properties, such as boosting collagen production or reducing free radicals. The camu camu fruit does contain vitamin C and likely other antioxidants too. I can understand how this can help reduce free radicals, but how this stacks up to other fruits/vegetables is not known.
Vitamin C in the fruit might help the production of collagen but would it do it better than other fruits that have vitamin C – or regular vitamin C supplements?
Camu Camu And Inflammation
The best evidence that the fruit reduces inflammation is from the study of 20 smokers, covered above. That investigation that only lasted 7 days and didn't involve Amacari, but rather the camu camu fruit itself. Since Amacari contains this fruit, it's possible it has similar effects.
Camu Camu And Weight Loss
No human weight loss evidence could be located. There is a rat study from 2013 titled Effects of diet supplementation with Camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia HBK McVaugh) fruit in a rat model of diet-induced obesity.
This study noted rats eating the pulp (fiber) of the camu camu fruit appeared to lose weight and have reduced cholesterol and triglycerides, compared to rats that did not eat the pulp. Specifically, rats ate 25 ml of pulp (about 0.8 oz) per day.
While this is an interesting study, it doesn’t tell us if it there is some unknown compound in pulp that produced the results ―or if the weight loss was just a byproduct of eating more fiber. It is known eating fiber can help weight loss – and weight loss in turn, can reduce triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
Who Is Forbes Riley?
Forbes is the main interview person you see in the TV commercial. She speaks with passion and conviction, a trait I've always found was her most attractive quality, and likely why she's so successful on TV. I've seen her in several infomercials previously including:
Among many others. For more info on her, see her website ForbesRiley.com.
Who Is Dr. Derrick DeSilva?
The infomercial notes that Dr. DeSilva was the “Past President of the American Nutraceutical Association and senior attending staff of Raritan Bay Medical Center in NJ. “ His website AskDrDesilva.com also notes that he hosts a radio show and has his own line of supplements. When I looked, his website did not mention Amacari.
Who Is Dr. Robert Cross?
Dr. Robert Cross is the surgeon in the TV commercial. He discusses the benefits of vitamin C in helping wounds heal. It's true vitamin C can help wound healing, it's also true that vitamin C is less expensive than Amacari.
Who Is Dr. DelRae Messer?
During the TV commercial, we hear a testimonial from Dr. DelRae Messer, DC. Under her name, it says “Nutrition Specialist.” Her medical degree is “DC” ―Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine.
During her testimonial she says:
“One of the things that I tell people is to make sure they try Amacari. Why not? It has no side effects. It's all natural, very, very high quality and we don’t have the negative effects of antibiotics.”
How does she know Amacari has no side effects? It doesn't seem to have any human clinical trials?
The Free Bottle
When I checked, the TryAmacari.com website was offering people a free 15 day supply of Amacari (60 capsule bottle). People will have to pay $8.95 to cover the costs of shipping. People who take advantage of this need to understand that they are then enrolled in an auto-ship program.
This means that unless they cancel the auto-ship ―at 15 days after they place their order (not when they receive the product) ― their credit card will be charged $59.95 and they will be sent another month's supply of Amacari (120 capsules per bottle). This will continue until they cancel their order.
How To Cancel Amacari
To cancel auto-shipments call Amacari customer support at 888-223-3452, M-F 9AM-6PM EST. Unopened bottles have a 30-day return policy. People must call customer service and obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA number) before they return the product. All returned bottles will have a 15% restocking fee.
Amacari Side Effects
Amacari is likely safe in healthy people. Here are some general thoughts to keep in mind. this list is not complete:
- Start with less for the first week
- Stop taking at least 2 weeks before surgery
- If you take any medications ask your pharmacist
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should ask their doctor first
- Antioxidant supplements like vitamin C may interfrere with some cancer therapies
- Talk to your doctor if you have hemochromatosis (iron overload disorder).
Does Amacari Work
Its a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C has many health benefits. That said Id like to see a few clinical studies before passing judgment.
What do you think?