It is well known that consumption of red grapes and blueberries has many health benefits and prevents aging. Now a new research conducted by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, has shown that certain compounds found in red grapes and blueberries strengthen the immune function. They analyzed more than 400 compounds in these fruits and found that two compounds, called stilbenoids ( resveratrol in red grapes and pterostilbene in blueberries ) stimulate innate immunity in humans.
Stilbenoids are produced by plants to fight infections and in humans it seems to interfere with some molecular signaling pathways that stimulate the activity of vitamin D. The study showed that the combination of these two compounds ( stilbenoids and vitamin D ) has a stronger effect than if they act separately.
According to the study, these compounds called stilbenoids work in synergy with vitamin D and stimulate the expression of a gene involved in immunity, cathelicidin antimicrobial human peptide, or CAMP gene. It should be noted however that these discoveries were made in the laboratory and it has not been yet proved that the same results can be obtained by exogenous intake; however the study demonstrates the potential of some foods to boost immune function.
Adrian Gombart , an LPI principal investigator and associate professor in the OSU College of Science , said that out of the hundreds of compounds analyzed only two were found to enhance immunity. He added that the synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing.
In recent years several studies have been conducted that pointed out the benefits of resveratrol ( compound found in red grapes ) on health. According to these studies, resveratrol prevent cardiac disease and cancer. It has also been questioned the anti-inflammatory role of this compound. The study led by researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University is the first of its kind to demonstrate the synergy of vitamin D and resveratrol and the first to show that this compound can increase CAMP gene expression by several times.
Also, recently there have been several studies that analyzed the CAMP gene and its role in innate immunity. Innate immunity is the body’s first line of defense in the fight against bacterial infections. Innate immunity is extremely important especially when antibiotics start to lose efficiency. Studies have shown a strong link between adequate vitamin D levels and CAMP gene, and recent research show that it is possible that other compounds may also be involved.