Summary: Adding a splash of milk to your coffee can have anti-inflammatory effects, according to a new study. Researchers have found that the combination of polyphenols and protein doubles the anti-inflammatory properties of cells.

Source: University of Copenhagen

Can something as simple as a cup of coffee with milk have anti-inflammatory effects in humans? A new study from the University of Copenhagen seems to suggest that.

The combination of proteins and antioxidants doubles the anti-inflammatory properties of the immune cells. The researchers hope to study the health effects on humans.

When bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances enter our body, our immune system responds by deploying white blood cells and chemicals. This response, commonly known as inflammation, is characteristic of when we overuse tendons and muscles and of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Antioxidants known as polyphenols are found in people, plants, fruits and vegetables. This group of antioxidants is used in the food industry to reduce oxidation and deterioration of food quality and to eliminate off-flavors and rancidity. Polyphenols are also known to be healthy for humans because they help reduce oxidative stress that causes inflammation in the body.

But much is unknown about polyphenols. Relatively few studies have investigated what happens when polyphenols react with other molecules, such as proteins mixed with the foods we consume.

Researchers from the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Animal and Animal Science, investigated how polyphenols work when combined with amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. The results are promising.

“In the study, when the polyphenol reacts with the amino acid, the effect on inflammation on the immune cells increases. As such, it can be clearly assumed that this cocktail has a positive effect on inflammation in humans.”

“Now we will investigate further, first in animals. Then we hope to get research funding that will allow us to study the effects in humans,” said Professor Marianne Nissen Lund of the Department of Food Science, who led the study.

The study has just been published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

It is twice as good in fighting inflammation

To investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of combining polyphenols with proteins, the researchers injected artificial inflammation into immune cells. Some of the cells that reacted with the amino acid received different amounts of polyphenols, while others received only the same amount of polyphenols. A control group received none.

The researchers observed that immune cells treated with a combination of polyphenols and amino acids were twice as effective at fighting inflammation than cells treated with polyphenols alone.

“It is exciting that we can now see the anti-inflammatory effect in cell experiments. And obviously, this has made us more interested in understanding these health problems in more detail. So the next step will be to study the effect in animals,” said the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Associate Professor Andrew Williams is the study’s senior author.

Found in coffee with milk
Previous studies by the researchers have shown that polyphenols bind to proteins found in meat products, milk and beer. in Another new study, tested whether the molecules are related to each other in a coffee drink with milk. Of course, coffee beans are full of polyphenols, and milk is rich in protein.

“Our results show that the reaction between polyphenols and proteins occurs in some of the coffee drinks we studied in milk. In fact, the reaction happens so quickly that it has been difficult for us to exclude it from the foods we have studied so far,” said Marian Nisson Lund.

Therefore, the researcher can safely assume that the response and potentially beneficial anti-inflammatory effect occurs when other foods that include protein and fruits or vegetables are combined.

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Relatively few studies have investigated what happens when polyphenols react with other molecules, such as proteins mixed with the foods we consume. The image is in the public domain.

Marian Nissen Lund “I can imagine that if you add a protein such as milk or yogurt, for example, something similar will happen with a meat meal with vegetables or smoothies.”

Industry and the research community have both noticed the main benefits of polyphenols. In this way, they are working on how to add the right amount of polyphenols in food to get the best quality. The new research results are also promising in this context:

“Because people don’t take in that much polyphenols, many researchers are studying how to encapsulate polyphenols in protein structures, improving their absorption in the body. This strategy has the added benefit of increasing the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols,” explains Marian Nissen Lund.

The study was funded by the Danish Independent Research Fund and was carried out in collaboration with the Technical University of Dresden in Germany.

Polyphenol facts

  • Polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring antioxidants beneficial to humans.
  • They protect and slow down the oxidation of healthy chemical substances and organs in our body, thereby protecting them from damage or destruction.
  • Polyphenols are found in various fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, red wine and beer.
  • Due to their antioxidant properties, polyphenols are particularly used in the food industry to reduce fat oxidation as well as food quality degradation.

So swelling research news

Author: Michael Jensen
Source: University of Copenhagen
Contact: Michael Jensen – University of Copenhagen
Image: The image is in the public domain.

Preliminary study: The findings are shown in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

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