Cruciferous greens to strengthen your Immune system, says research


A study, published in the Journal Nature, states that cruciferous vegetables strengthen your immune system to fight off intestinal pathogens. The researchers reveal that these vegetables are incredibly beneficial when it comes to protecting the intestine from disease-causing microorganisms.

Vegetables are known to hold natural complexes that support the protective tasks of the immune system.

This study revealed that intake of cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables can decrease the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.

These vegetables have aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). It is a protein that significantly plays role in mediating toxicity. Moreover, it helps to stop pollutants, toxins, and pathogens from entering the vulnerable parts of the body like the gut, lungs, and skin.

The researchers from the Francis Crick Institute (FCI) organized this research. They looked into the immune-friendly effects of AHR in the gut. The researchers also came across another protein named Cyp-1a1. It was also involved with the immune system in the gastrointestinal tract.

Cyp-1a1 works aside AHR when it comes to shielding the gut. The former protein can break down AHR ligands i.e. the molecules that activate it. By doing this, Cyp-1a1 can stop the activity of AHR, avoiding an excessive immune reaction.

Although Cyp-1a1 performs a crucial function for the immune system, yet too much of it is a harm to your body. The FCI researchers declared that high concentration of the protein would remove all AHR ligands. The reduced levels of these ligands would inhibit the activation of AHR. This will lead to an increased susceptibility of the gut to E. coli and other pathogenic microorganisms.

The researchers thus, supposed that Cyp-1a1 could be coupled with the growth of inflammatory bowel disease and other gut problems.

Brigitta Stockinger from FCI and the lead author of the study says that lack of AHR causes many problems for the intestinal barrier. This is because AHR signals the immune cells for their survival. These immune cells protect us from incoming intestinal pathogens as well as our own gut bacteria.

Furthermore, Stockinger added that AHR ligands can be discovered in both green foods and the gut microbiota. The ligands will trigger AHR, which, in turn, activates the Cyp-1a1 enzyme that adjusts the protein’s activity.

The FCI researchers imitated the reduction of AHR ligands by inducing the mice to generate higher levels of Cyp-1a1. This eventually, decreased the concentrations of immune cells triggered by AHR. These immune-compromised mice were administered with Citrobacter bacteria.

These animals, as expected, were found more susceptible to the pathogenic bacteria. Thus, excessive Cyp-1a1 was found harmful to the immune system.

In order to decrease the hazardous effects of excessive Cyp-1a1, the researchers have found certain nutrients in the cruciferous vegetables.

The same nutrients were given to the mice under study. Intake of cruciferous vegetable nutrients improved the number of AHR ligands. Moreover, the nutrients encouraged the activation of AHR as well. The immune responses of these supplemented animals were much healthier than before.

According to Stockinger, the outcomes of their study could bring hope to people who have very energetic Cyp-1a1 enzymes. These people would be much more susceptible to inflammatory bowel diseases and related intestinal diseases.

Patients, with profuse levels of Cyp-1a1, could possibly reverse the adverse outcomes of the protein by intaking cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are some of the leafy vegetables that have many molecules that hinder Cyp-1a1 and trigger AHR.





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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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