Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
In an analysis of 446 compounds for their ability to boost the innate immune system in humans, researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University discovered just two that stood out from the crowd - the resveratrol found in red grapes and a compound called pterostilbene from blueberries.
Both of these compounds, which are called stilbenoids, worked in synergy with vitamin D and had a significant impact in raising the expression of the human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP gene, that is involved in immune function.
The findings were made in laboratory cell cultures and do not prove that similar results would occur as a result of dietary intake, the scientists said, but do add more interest to the potential of some foods to improve the immune response.
The research was published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, in studies supported by the National Institutes of Health.
"Out of a study of hundreds of compounds, just these two popped right out," said Adrian Gombart, an LPI principal investigator and associate professor in the OSU College of Science. "Their synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing. It's a pretty interesting interaction."
Resveratrol has been the subject of dozens of studies for a range of possible benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to fighting cancer and reducing inflammation. This research is the first to show a clear synergy with vitamin D that increased CAMP expression by several times, scientists said.
The CAMP gene itself is also the subject of much study, as it has been shown to play a key role in the "innate" immune system, or the body's first line of defense and ability to combat bacterial infection. The innate immune response is especially important as many antibiotics increasingly lose their effectiveness.
A strong link has been established between adequate vitamin D levels and the function of the CAMP gene, and the new research suggests that certain other compounds may play a role as well.
Stilbenoids are compounds produced by plants to fight infections, and in human biology appear to affect some of the signaling pathways that allow vitamin D to do its job, researchers said. It appears that combining these compounds with vitamin D has considerably more biological impact than any of them would separately.
Continued research could lead to a better understanding of how diet and nutrition affect immune function, and possibly lead to the development of therapeutically useful natural compounds that could boost the innate immune response, the researchers said in their report.
Despite the interest in compounds such as resveratrol and pterostilbene, their bioavailability remains a question, the researchers said. Some applications that may evolve could be with topical use to improve barrier defense in wounds or infections, they said.
The regulation of the CAMP gene by vitamin D was discovered by Gombart, and researchers are still learning more about how it and other compounds affect immune function. The unique biological pathways involved are found in only two groups of animals - humans and non-human primates. Their importance in the immune response could be one reason those pathways have survived through millions of years of separate evolution of these species.
Molecular Nutrition & Food ResearchArticle first published online: 14 SEP 2013 DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201300266
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Nutrition / Diet category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Oregon State University. "Immune function likely enhanced by red grapes, blueberries." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 19 Sep. 2013. Web.
11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266266>
Oregon State University. (2013, September 19). "Immune function likely enhanced by red grapes, blueberries." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact the our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266266.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2013 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.