For the past decade, nutrition scientists have known that certain whole foods that are consumed in their natural and unprocessed forms promote vibrant health by stimulating the innate immune response system, while virtually all refined foods and hydrogenated fats promote disease. Extensive research studies have determined that protective compounds that protect plants from disease can have a similar effect when eaten by humans. Resveratrol found most commonly in red grapes and pterostilbene sourced from blueberries work in concert with our own natural reserve of vitamin D to stimulate our immune system and prevent chronic disease.
A research team from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has released information about a study in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research that explains how two natural compounds are shown to boost immune response and can significantly lower the risk of developing many chronic diseases. The scientists analyzed 446 naturally occurring compounds from fresh fruits and vegetables and found that resveratrol and pterostilbene from grapes and blueberries had a significant impact in raising the expression of the human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP gene, which is involved in immune function.
Stilbenoids from red grapes and blueberries stimulate the CAMP gene to boost immune response
The lead study author, Dr. Adrian Gombart, commented, “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.” The studies were performed using laboratory cell cultures based on the established potential of some foods to improve human immune response. Dozens of prior studies have demonstrated that resveratrol can improve cardiovascular health and is preventive in the fight against cancer by squelching inflammation that fuels both diseases.
This study evolved around the discovery that the CAMP gene plays a key role in the innate immune system and provides the body’s first line of defense and ability to combat bacterial infection. This study is the first to show that consumption of red grapes and blueberries synergistically prompts the activation of vitamin D to express the CAMP gene and heighten our natural immune response to pathogenic invaders.
The research team concluded that resveratrol and pterostilbene (collectively known and stilbenoids) produced by plants to fight infections appear to affect some of the signaling pathways in humans that allow vitamin D to do its job. The scientists explained that combining these compounds with vitamin D has considerably more biological impact than any of them would separately. Health-minded individuals should eat three to five servings of red grapes and blueberries each week to boost immune health and fight immune-deficient disease proliferation.
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