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Consuming a diet high in fructose may lead to inflammation and dysfunction in the immune system, according to a recent study published in Nature Communications. Fructose, used as a sweetener in many sugary drinks and processed foods, is known to be associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This new research indicates that it can also facilitate production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by immune cells.
The researchers found that fructose reprograms cellular metabolic pathways to be more inflammatory in both human monocytes and mouse macrophages (two types of immune cells). This can cause a shift toward oxidative metabolism and can decrease metabolic flexibility, potentially leaving immune cells more vulnerable to metabolic challenges, such as those related to bacterial infections and tumors.
In addition, they demonstrated that a short-term high-fructose diet promotes inflammation in mice. Taken together, these findings suggest that a high-fructose diet may interfere with proper immune function in humans and contribute to tissue damage, dysfunction, and disease.
Sources: How fructose affects our immune system. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. February 23, 2021. genengnews.com/news/how-fructose-affects-our-immune-system.
Jones N, Blagih J, Zani F, et al. Fructose reprogrammes glutamine-dependent oxidative metabolism to support LPS-induced inflammation. Nat Commun. 2021; 12:1209. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21461-4.
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Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Spring 2021 | Volume 45, Number 1
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