Oranges Get Dethroned by Red Grapes and Blueberries as Ultimate Immune Boosters

Compounds in these fruits boost your immune system more than any other fruit

Red grapes and blueberries may give your immune system a boost, according to a new study.

Researchers found that both fruits contain compounds called stilbenoids, which work with vitamin D to increase expression of the human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) gene, which is involved in immune function.

The stilbenoid compounds included resveratrol in red grapes and pterostilbene in blueberries.

"Out of a study of hundreds of compounds, just these two popped right out," Adrian Gombart, a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, said in a university news release.

"Their synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing," said Gombart, an associate professor in the university's college of science. "It's a pretty interesting interaction."

Gombart and colleagues noted, however, that these findings were made in laboratory cell cultures and do not prove that eating blueberries and red grapes would boost a person's immune function.

The study was published Sept. 17 in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

The CAMP gene has been shown to play a key role in the innate immune system -- the body's first line of defense that gives it the ability to fight bacterial infection. The response is especially crucial as many antibiotics become less effective.

Previous research has found a strong association between adequate vitamin D levels and the function of the CAMP gene. This new study suggests that certain other compounds may play a role as well.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about the immune system.

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