Human Immune Function Enhanced by Red Grapes and Blueberries?


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Remember when you were a kid and your parents would always say that fruits were good for you? By now, I'm sure you know they weren't just telling you that for their health. In regards to fruits being good for you, there has been a new discovery that suggests that the compounds in red grapes and blueberries can enhance human immune function (Click link to watch video on the immune system). In case you are one of those people who believe that fruits do nothing for you, maybe this blog post will change your mind and you'll start taking your consumption of fruits more seriously.

Researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University did an analysis of 446 compounds. The researchers tested their ability to enhance the human immune system. Of all the compounds tested, only two of them proved to fit the bill. The first is resveratrol, which is found in red grapes. The second is a compound called pterostilbene. Pterostilbene is found in 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" (Linus Pauling Institue at Oregon State University, 2013).

According to the researchers at OSU, '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 have also stated that the CAMP gene has been shown to play a vital role in the '"innate" immune system, or the body's first line of defense and ability to combat bacterial infection.'

It's safe to say that combining stilbenoids and the CAMP gene with vitamin D has a better chance at a biological impact than they would by themselves.

I think that this study is pretty fascinating. However, I should warn you readers that the findings were made 'in laboratory cell cultures and do not prove that similar results would occur as a result of dietary intake.' So don't go all crazy and use the rest of your semester meal points on red grapes and blueberries. Although, it wouldn't hurt to increase your intake of not only these two fruits, but all fruits in general. I'm saying this for good reason. In fact, the resveratrol found in red grapes has been studied on numerous different occasions for possible benefits to human health. Those benefits include cardiovascular health, fighting cancer, and reducing inflammation among others. As you can see, if you intake a good amount of resveratrol throughout your life, it can pay major dividends down the road. 

Although there is more research to be done, I believe that this finding leads scientists and researchers to discover other different types of compounds that play a role in enhancing the immune system. It adds to the intriguing idea of what other foods can do to improve immune response. This comes just in time after news broke yesterday that anitbiotics are losing their effectiveness. We need to find ways to make our immune systems stronger than before. Then again, maybe there isn't that many compounds that'll work if just 2 out of 446 were found to be effective the first time around. With that being said, there's room for optimism moving forward. What are your thoughts?

blueberryhealth.jpg


To learn more about this study, click on these links: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130917125022.htm

http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/red-grapes-blueberries-boost-immune-2280755

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20130917/blueberries-red-grapes-may-boost-bodys-immune-function


2 Comments

This post got me in the mood for some fruits, oddly enough. Ever since coming to college I have actually been trying to eat more fruits seeing as how all the food we get here can be pretty unhealthy. My immune system also is pretty terrible so it wouldn't hurt to eat more red grapes and blueberries along with other fruits. This article here says some of the good stuff certain fruits and vegetables can do for you: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fruits-vegetables-boost-immune-system-7370.html

I for one have a pretty strong immune system. That's without eating many red grapes and blueberries in my lifetime. It's crazy because here at PSU, the access to fresh fruit and healthy food in general is pretty limited. I try to eat as much fruit as I can, but the options here on campus aren't that great. So I stick to eating my favorite fruit most of time, and that's pineapples.

Here are two links that go in depth in explaining others ways that red grapes and blueberries effect you:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/blueberries-the-antioxidant-super-fruit.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-fresh-red-seedless-grapes-5309.html

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