Washington: A new study has found that red grapes and blueberries can enhance immune function in humans.
In an analysis of 446 compounds for their the 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.
"Out of a study of hundreds of compounds, just these two popped right out," Adrian Gombart, an LPI principal investigator and associate professor in the OSU College of Science, said.
"Their synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing. It's a pretty interesting interaction," he said.
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, the scientists said.
The research is published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, in studies supported by the National Institutes of Health.
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