According to a new study from the University of Copenhagen. A combination of proteins and antioxidants doubles the anti-inflammatory properties in immune cells.
Antioxidants known as polyphenols are found in humans, plants, fruits and vegetables. This group of antioxidants is also used by the food industry to slow the oxidation and deterioration of food quality and thereby avoid “off flavors” and rancidity. Polyphenols are also known to be healthy for humans, as they help reduce oxidative stress in the body that gives rise to inflammation.
The new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry investigated how polyphenols behave when combined with amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. The results seen promising.
The researchers observed that immune cells treated with a combination of polyphenols and amino acids were twice as effective at fighting inflammation as the cells to which only polyphenols were added.
In a related study published in the journal Food Chemistry, the researchers demonstrated that polyphenols bind to proteins in a coffee drink with milk. This is important because, coffee beans are filled with polyphenols, while milk is rich in proteins.
Because humans do not ordinarily absorb that much polyphenol, many researchers are studying how to encapsulate polyphenols in protein structures which improve their absorption in the body. This strategy has the added advantage of enhancing the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenol.