Red Grapes Control Bacteria-Induced Inflammation

2016-10-03 10:21

Inflammation in the upper respiratory tract could be controlled with the help of resveratrol, a nutrient in red grapes that also has other known health benefits.

You have likely already heard about the benefits of resveratrol on heart health. This antioxidant – most often associated with red wine – may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (sometimes known as “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage.

Resveratrol is also anti-inflammatory. Uncontrolled inflammation in the body is linked to chronic disease. These include upper respiratory tract conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and middle ear infection (otitis media).

COPD and asthma affects more than half a billion people worldwide. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the US. Asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization in children younger than 15. And Otitis media is the most common bacterial infection and the leading cause of conductive hearing loss in children.

In a study by Georgia State University researchers, resveratrol may help suppress a major bacterial pathogen that causes these airway diseases. The pathogen is known as nontypeable Haemophilus influenza, or NTHi.

Usually, antibiotics are routinely used to treat NTHi infections, but there are increasing numbers of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains – so the medications are becoming less effective. Resveratrol, at least in mice, appears to decrease NTHi-induced expression of pro-inflammatory mediators in the airway epithelial cells. It also may enhance a pathway regulator known as MyD88 short which helps suppress inflammation.

Obviously, red wine wouldn’t be an appropriate source of nutrition for children, and even for adults, the maximum daily intake should not exceed 1-2 glasses.

But perhaps the message that eating more antioxidant-rich foods could be helpful in the treatment of chronic respiratory disease. These include blueberries, red and purple grapes, and cranberries. The juices of these fruits are also beneficial, just be sure that the fruit actually contains fruit juice and does not contain excessive amounts of added sugar.

Journal Reference:
Carla S. Andrews, Shingo Matsuyama, Byung-Cheol Lee, Jian-Dong Li. Resveratrol suppresses NTHi-induced inflammation via up-regulation of the negative regulator MyD88 short. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 34445 DOI:10.1038/srep34445

Photo Credit:
By Thamizhpparithi Maari - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons