Science News-- Health February 12, 2023: Can coffee with milk reduce human inflammation?
A Copenhagen University study suggests so.
Proteins and antioxidants double immune cell anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers hope to study human health effects.
"In the study, we show that as a polyphenol reacts with an amino acid, its inhibitory effect on inflammation in immune cells is enhanced. As such, it is clearly imaginable that this cocktail could also have a beneficial effect on inflammation in humans. We will now investigate further, initially in animals. After that, we hope to receive research funding which will allow us to study the effect in humans," says Professor Marianne Nissen Lund from the Department of Food Science, who headed the study.
The study has just been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Our immune systems use white blood cells and chemicals to fight bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. Inflammation, or overloading tendons and muscles, is typical of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti-inflammatory twice as effective
Researchers artificially inflamed immune cells to test the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols and proteins. Some cells received different doses of polyphenols that had reacted with amino acids, while others received the same doses. Controls received nothing.
Immune cells treated with polyphenols and amino acids were twice as effective at fighting inflammation as those treated with polyphenols alone.
It is interesting to have now observed the anti-inflammatory effect in cell experiments. And obviously, this has only made us more interested in understanding these health effects in greater detail. So, the next step will be to study the effects in animals," says Associate Professor Andrew Williams of the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, who is also senior author of the study.
In coffee with milk.
Polyphenols bind to proteins in meat, milk, and beer, according to previous research. Another study examined whether the molecules bind in a coffee drink with milk. Coffee beans have polyphenols and milk has proteins.
"Our result demonstrates that the reaction between polyphenols and proteins also happens in some of the coffee drinks with milk that we studied. In fact, the reaction happens so quickly that it has been difficult to avoid in any of the foods that we've studied so far," says Marianne Nissen Lund.
Polyphenols' benefits are recognized by industry and research. Thus, they are determining how much polyphenols to add to foods for optimal quality. New research is promising in this regard:
"Because humans do not 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 polyphenols," explains Marianne Nissen Lund.
The research is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark and conducted in collaboration with the Technical University of Dresden in Germany.
Polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring antioxidants important for humans.
They prevent and delay the oxidation of healthy chemical substances and organs in our bodies, thereby protecting them from damage or destruction.
Polyphenols are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, red wine and beer.
Due to their antioxidant properties, polyphenols are used in the food industry to minimize the oxidation of fats in particular, as well as the quality deterioration of foods, to avoid off flavours and rancidity.
Materials provided by University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Science.
"Coffee with milk may have an anti-inflammatory effect." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2023.
WNCTIMES by Marjorie Farrington