New Zealand blackcurrants boost the human immune system

Our bodies are continually exposed to pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that can cause illness if they gain entry into our body.  The epithelial cells lining our nose, mouth, lungs and gut are sites where bacteria and viruses can enter the body.  Fortunately these cells secrete molecules that activate the body’s own pathogen killing mechanisms and prevent these pathogens from entering the body.  Two such molecules are b-defensin 2 and Immunoglobulin A.


A recent study published in the February 2020 edition of Frontiers in Nutrition by Professor Roger Hurst and colleagues from The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, reported that levels of b-defensin 2 and Immunoglobulin A secreted from the mouth were increased by over 40% in the volunteers who regularly consumed New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins for 5 weeks.


This new research supports previous studies the group of Professor Hurst has published showing that New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins maintain the pathogen killing capability of the body’s own immune system when the body is under stress.  That research looked at neutrophils, the body’s own cells that actively seek out and kill pathogens including bacteria and viruses, and found that consumption of a single dose of New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins one hour prior to stressing the body with exercise preserved circulating neutrophil function.


These two studies demonstrate that consumption of New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins would benefit people wanting to boost their immune defense system and avoid decreased immune function that usually accompanies stress events such as exercise.


The latest research can be read here

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