Can a cup of coffee with milk really have an anti-inflammatory effect? According to a new study from the University of Copenhagen, the answer is yes. Researchers found that when proteins and antioxidants are combined, they create a powerful cocktail that doubles the anti-inflammatory properties in immune cells. This could be a potential new method for treating inflammation caused by diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
The research indicates that polyphenols, a group of antioxidants found in plants, fruit, vegetables, and humans, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They help reduce oxidative stress in the body that leads to inflammation. However, it is relatively unknown for polyphenols to react with other molecules, such as the amino acids that make up proteins in the body.
The study applied artificial inflammation to immune cells and tested the anti-inflammatory effect of combining polyphenols with amino acids. The results showed that immune cells treated with the combination of polyphenols and amino acids fought inflammation twice as effectively as those that only received polyphenols. Interestingly, the study demonstrated that the reaction between polyphenols and proteins also happens in coffee drinks with milk.
Following these promising results, the researchers hope to study the effect on animals before looking at its effects on humans. The next step would be to study the effects in animals before moving onto human trials. There is the potential to develop ways to add the right quantities of polyphenols in foods to achieve the best quality, as humans do not absorb much polyphenol. Research is ongoing into how to encapsulate polyphenols in protein structures to improve their absorption in the body and enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols.
In a world where autoimmune diseases affect millions of people worldwide, this research could pave the way for simple treatments for these diseases. It could offer a new way of treating inflammation caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis that cause great pain and discomfort for sufferers.
Here are the five take-home points about the study:
- Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce oxidative stress in the body causing inflammation.
- Combining polyphenols with proteins forms a powerful cocktail doubling the anti-inflammatory properties in immune cells.
- The study was carried out on artificial inflammation on immune cells, and the researchers hope to study the effect on animals before looking at its effects on humans.
- The reaction between polyphenols and proteins also happens in coffee drinks with milk.
- Encapsulating polyphenols in protein structures is being studied to enhance their absorption in the body and to boost the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols.