A new study conducted by researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden have discovered that lutein, a nutrient found in a number of highly coloured fruits and vegetables, can suppress inflammation.
The findings, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, directly suggest that lutein itself has anti-inflammatory effects in patients with coronary artery disease. Read on for the full scoop!
Inflammation is a key factor in many types of coronary artery disease...
Inflammation plays a major role in a number of types of coronary artery disease, such as angina and myocardial infarction.
“A considerable number of patients who have experienced myocardial infarction still have low-level chronic inflammation in the body, even after receiving effective treatment with revascularisation, drugs and lifestyle changes. We know that chronic inflammation is associated with a poorer prognosis,” said Lena Jonasson, lead author of the study, professor in the Department of Medical and Health Sciences and consultant in cardiology.
Past studies have found a relationship between carotenoids and inflammation
Previous research suggests that what you eat has a huge impact on inflammatory processes in your body. Carotenoids, a family of fat
-soluble natural colouring agents found in plants, is one group of substances that scientists have found interesting. Lycopene and beta-carotene are two of the best-known substances in this family.
Past studies have found that levels of carotenoids go hand in hand with inflammation markers. But the question is: Do carotenoids themselves have anti-inflammatory effects?
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Most studies that have investigated the correlation between carotenoids and inflammation have been conducted on healthy human volunteers or animals. But here’s the thing – the cells of the immune system
in people with low-level inflammation are more prone to stimulation and may react differently compared with the corresponding cells in healthy people.
For this reason, the researchers behind this new study wanted to look at whether carotenoids have anti-inflammatory effects in patients with coronary artery disease...
New study confirms that lutein has positive effects on coronary artery disease
To reach their findings, the researchers measured the levels of six common carotenoids in blood from 193 patients with coronary artery disease. Simultaneously, they measured the level of inflammation in the blood using the inflammatory marker interleukin-6, IL-6.
They found that lutein was the only carotenoid whose level correlated with IL-6. The higher the level of lutein in the blood, the lower the level of IL-6. Furthermore, the researchers found that the inflammatory activity of the cells of the immune system
became significantly lower when they were treated with lutein.
The researchers concluded that their findings suggest that foods rich in lutein, such as dark leafy greens, may have a positive effect on the immune system in patients with coronary artery disease.
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