New research by Swansea scientists in collaboration with researchers at the University of Bristol and the Francis Crick Institute, London, has found that eating a high fructose diet could inhibit the proper function of the immune system in a way that until now was largely unknown.
The effects of Fructose
Fructose is commonly found in sugary drinks, sweets, and processed foods, and is widely used in food production. It is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and its consumption has substantially increased throughout the developed world in recent years. Nonetheless, the understanding of the impact of fructose on the immune system of individuals who consume it in high amounts was limited until now.
A new study published in the journal Nature Communications shows that fructose causes inflammation of the immune system, and that process produces more reactive molecules that are associated with inflammation. This type of inflammation can damage cells and tissues and contribute to the malfunction of organs and body systems as well as to the onset of diseases.
The research also allows a deeper understanding of how fructose might be linked to diabetes and obesity, as low-level inflammation is often associated with obesity. It is also based on the growing body of evidence available to public health policy makers on the harmful effects of consuming high levels of fructose. Dr Nick Jones from Swansea University School of Medicine said: “Researching the different components of our diet can help us understand what might contribute to inflammation and diseases and what could be better harnessed to improve health and well-being.”
Dr Emma Vincent from the Bristol School of Medicine: Population Health Sciences (PHS) added: “Our study is exciting because it takes us one step further towards understanding why some diets can lead to health problems.”
Date: February 25th, 2021
Reference: Jones N, Blagih J, Zani F, et al. Fructose reprogrammes glutamine-dependent oxidative metabolism to support LPS-induced inflammation. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 22;12(1):1209.
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