Can Grapes and Blueberries Enhance Your Immune System?

logo1267406_mdA new study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research concluded that red grapes and a compound from blueberries called pterostilbene were the two from 446 compounds that had the ability to boost the immune system in humans. Both of these compounds, called stilbenoids, worked in synergy with vitamin  D to have a significant impact on raising the expression of the human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) gene, involved in improving the immune system. The researchers said “Out of a study of hundreds of compounds, just these two popped right out.” “Their synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing. It’s a pretty interesting interaction.”  A strong link has been found between adequate vitamin D levels and the function of the CAMP gene, and this research shows that other compounds may also play a role. Stilbenoids are compounds produced by plants to fight infections, and in humans seem to affect some of the signaling pathways that allow vitamin D to work effectively according to the researchers. It seems that combining these compounds with vitamin D has considerably more impact than any of them would have separately.

Continuing research may lead to better understanding of how diet and nutrition affect immune function, and possibly lead to therapeutically useful compounds to boost the immune system. However, the researchers said the findings were made in laboratory cell cultures and do not prove that similar results would occur as a result of dietary intake but do add to our interest in this area of research.

 

 

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