At the lung level, an “asthma attack” occurs with the flow of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) to the site of inflammation. When a person has an allergic reaction, there is an overflow of eosinophils to the lungs, which causes mucus cell hyperplasia (swelling). The excess mucus blocks the alveoli (Figure 1), thus causing the airway obstruction and eventual (however, reversible) loss of lung function over time.
Several scientific studies have already proven the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables regularly , including their power to attenuate allergies, more specifically, asthma . During an asthma attack, the recruitment of eosinophils to the lungs is regulated through eotaxins. These eotaxins are chemokines, which are part of a small family of cytokines, or signaling proteins, secreted by cells during an immune response.
Recent research has aimed at identifying ways to target specific eotaxins to prevent or mitigate allergic airways diseases such as asthma. Shaw et al. (2017) found that anthocyanins present in New Zealand blackcurrant can moderate CCL11 production, an eotaxin that is involved in the early stages of an asthma attack (Shaw et al. 2017 abstract only). The blackcurrant anthocyanins have also been shown to moderate the production of yet another eotaxin, CCL26, which is linked to the persistent eosinophil recruitment; hence, the prolongation of asthmatic reaction .
It is widely understood that it is crucial for our wellbeing to supplement our diets with fruit, vegetables and cereals rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Blackcurrant has it all! Plus vitamins B5, C and E, good levels of potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese and a broad range of other essential nutrients (Ruiz del Castillo et al. 2002; Bishayee et al. 2010). This is why we at Vitality® New Zealand have created a line of products derived from one of the richest sources of antioxidant anthocyanin, the NZ blackcurrant berry (Table 1) extract and seed oil to be made available to everyone as health supplements.
found that anthocyanins present in New Zealand blackcurrant can moderate CCL11 production, an eotaxin that is involved in the early stages of an asthma attack (Shaw et al. 2017 abstract only). The blackcurrant anthocyanins have also been shown to moderate the production of yet another eotaxin, CCL26, which is linked to the persistent eosinophil recruitment; hence, the prolongation of asthmatic reaction and ).
|Energy||264 kJ (63 kcal)||Vitamin E||1 mg (7%)|
|Carbohydrates||15.4 g||Calcium||55 mg (6%)|
|Fat||0.4 g||Iron||1.54 mg (12%)|
|Protein||1.4 g||Magnesium||24 mg (7%)|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.05 mg (4%)||Manganese||0.256 mg (12%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.05 mg (4%)||Phosphorus||59 mg (8%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.3 mg (2%)||Potassium||322 mg (7%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.398 mg (8%)||Sodium||2 mg (0%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.066 mg (5%)||Zinc||0.27 mg (3%)|
|Vitamin C||181 mg (218%)|
Table 1 – Nutritional values of blackcurrant per 100 grams (3.5 oz.). Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Figure 2 – Source: www.123rf.com
- Arts, I. C., Hollman, P. C., Polyphenols and disease risk in epidemiologic studies. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2005, 81, 317S–325S. Nyanhanda, T., Gould, E. M., Hurst, R. D., Plant-derived foods for the attenuation of allergic airway inflammation. Curr. Pharm. Des. 2014, 20, 869–878.  Singh, A., Holvoet, S., Mercenier, A., Dietary polyphenols in the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases. Clin. Exp. Allergy 2011, 41, 1346–1359.  Rosenlund, H., Kull, I., Pershagen, G., Wolk, A. et al., Fruit and vegetable consumption in relation to allergy: diseaserelated modification of consumption? J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2011, 127, 1219–1225.
- Arts, I. C., Hollman, P. C., Polyphenols and disease risk in epidemiologic studies. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2005, 81, 317S–325S. Scalbert, A., Johnson, I. T., Saltmarsh, M., Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2005, 81, 215S– 217S. Garbacki, N., Kinet, M., Nusgens, B., Desmecht, D. et al., Proanthocyanidins, from Ribes nigrum leaves, reduce endothelial adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1. J. Inflamm. 2005, 2, 9. Hurst, S. M., McGhie, T. K., Cooney, J. M., Jensen, D. J. et al., Blackcurrant pro-anthocyanidins augment IFN-gammainduced suppression of IL-4 stimulated CCL26 secretion in alveolar epithelial cells. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2010, 54 (Suppl.2), S159–S170. Park, S. J., Shin, W. H., Seo, J. W., Kim, E. J., Anthocyanins inhibit airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in a murine asthma model. Food Chem Toxicol. 2007, 45, 1459 – 1467.
- Nyanhanda, T., Gould, E. M., McGhie, T., Shaw, O. M., Harper, J. L., & Hurst, R. D. (2014). Blackcurrant cultivar polyphenolic extracts suppress CCL26 secretion from alveolar epithelial cells. Food & function, 5(4), 671-677.