Sugary drinks and processed foods may damage immune system, finds study
UK: The consumption of diet high in sugar fructose may prevent the proper functioning of one's immune system, a recent study has revealed. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
High fructose foods include sugary drinks, processed foods and sweets and also, fructose is used widely in food production. It is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In recent years, its intake has increased substantially throughout the developed world. However, information on the impact of high level consumption of fructose on the immune system, has been limited until now.
Against this background, Catherine A. Thornton, Swansea University, Swansea, UK, and colleagues show that fructose reprograms cellular metabolic pathways to favour glutaminolysis and oxidative metabolism, which are required to support increased inflammatory cytokine production in both LPS-treated human monocytes and mouse macrophages. Monocytes and macrophages are immune cells.
In simpler words, the study showed that fructose causes the immune system to become inflamed and that process produces more reactive molecules which are associated with inflammation. Inflammation of this kind can go on to damage cells and tissues and contribute to organs and body systems not working as they should and could lead to disease.
The research also brings a deeper understanding about how fructose could be linked to diabetes and obesity - as low- level inflammation is often associated with obesity. It also builds on the growing body of evidence available to public health policy makers about the damaging effects of consuming high levels of fructose.
Dr Nick Jones, of Swansea University's Medical School, said: 'Research into different components of our diet can help us understand what might contribute to inflammation and disease and what could be best harnessed to improve health and wellbeing."
Dr Emma Vincent in the Bristol Medical School: Populational Health Sciences (PHS), said: 'Our study is exciting because it takes us a step further towards understanding why some diets can lead to ill health.'
The study titled, "Fructose reprogrammes glutamine-dependent oxidative metabolism to support LPS-induced inflammation," is published in the journal Nature Communications.