Natural chemicals from blackcurrants may ease breathing in some types of asthma, says a new study.
Researchers from Plant & Food Research (PFR), a New Zealand government owned company, found a compound from blackcurrants that may reduce lung inflammation with a multi-action assault in allergy-induced asthma.
The compound was found in lab experiments to enhance the natural defence mechanisms in lung tissue by both suppressing inflammation-causing reactions and minimising inflammation.
Inflammation is a process by which the body's white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.
Fruit consumption has been shown to reduce symptoms in allergy-induced asthma yet this research is the first to give insights into the mechanism by which this may occur.
Researchers identified that the component, epigallocatechin, reduced inflammation in lung tissue. Epigallocatechin is a known antioxidant and a major component of proanthocyanidins found in blackcurrants.
This study shows that epigallocatechin works in conjunction with other natural immune responses that occur at the same time to reduce inflammation.
"To find natural compounds that potentially reduce lung inflammation and complement the body's own immune response is an exciting breakthrough," says Roger Hurst of PFR, who led the study.
When the lungs are exposed to allergens, the body's natural response is to attack the perceived foreign body which in some individuals results in long-term inflammation, says a PFR release.
Selective compounds found in fruit and vegetables may work together with the body's own natural defence mechanism to suppress long-term lung inflammation.
The findings were published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.