Strawberries super anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, even antibiotic

Marion Hauser Curcumin and osteoarthritisMarion Hauser, MS, RD

An August 2017 study from researchers at multiple universities  lead by doctors at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center appearing in the medical journal Nutrients examined the role of strawberries in improving pain and inflammation in obese adults with knee osteoarthritis.(1) The learning points and study highlights are provided below:

  • The Oklahoma State University lead study tested earlier research suggesting dietary polyphenols (micronutrients) and other bioactive compounds in berries (including strawberries), curcumin, and tea have shown effects in relieving pain and reducing inflammation in osteoarthritis.

In a randomized, double-blind cross-over trial, 17 adults with radiographic evidence of knee osteoarthritis , whose body mass index scaled in obese range, with an average age of 57 years old,  were randomized into two groups:

  • Group one drank a reconstituted freeze-dried strawberry beverage (50 g/day)
  • Group two drank a control beverage daily
  • Each groups drank the beverages for 12 weeks, separated by a 2-week washout phase (total duration, 26 weeks).

The researchers then took blood draws and assessments of pain and quality of life indicators using tradition pain and quality of life scoring system questionnaires. The questionnaires were completed at baseline and at weeks 12, 14, and 26 of the study.

  • Among the serum biomarkers of inflammation and cartilage degradation, (inflammatory agents) interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 were significantly decreased after strawberry vs. control treatment.
  • Strawberry supplementation also significantly reduced constant, intermittent, and total pain as evaluated by the questionnaires.

The researchers concluded their study by saying:

  • Dietary strawberries may have significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in obese adults with established knee osteoarthritis.

Strawberries and wine share a common ingredient in reducing chronic inflammation

An international team of researchers writing in the May 2018 edition of Food chemistry focused on the strawberry’s high concentration of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give strawberries their color as a pigment but they also act to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. A particular anthocyanin, Pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside (P3G) was cited in this research. The studied revealed  that the P3G in strawberries have important anti-inflammatory proprieties that can act as an adjuvant in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. (2) In other words, eat more strawberries to combat your inflammation if your doctor and diet allows.

P3G is also found in red wine. It comes from the pigment in the grapes.  I cover the red wine / resveratrol – Mediterranean diet connections in these articles:

The hard science of the amazing healing potential of strawberries

Strawberries are serious science. Another 2017 study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences comes from an international team of researchers in Italy, Mexico, and Spain. Here are their findings:

  • The consumption of strawberries has been related to the maintenance of well-being and the prevention of several chronic diseases, owing to the high contents of antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) present in the fruit.
  • Strawberry phenolics (chemical compounds) are able to exert anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic (fights cancer), antiproliferative (stop cancer cells from spreading and multiplying), and antiatherosclerotic (beneficial effects in helping to prevent heart disease and stroke) activities.(3)

Strawberries as super anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, even antibiotic

In the journal Food and chemical toxicology, the same researchers from Italy, Mexico, Spain and Ecuador’s leading universities published their findings on the health benefits of strawberries even in the most toxic environment. Here is what they wrote:

  • A common denominator in the pathogenesis of most chronic inflammatory diseases is the involvement of oxidative stress, related to ROS production.
  • Comment: Simply Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a chemical reaction that leads to oxidant damage. To prevent oxidant damage you take anti-oxidants. As the researchers point out “Dietary antioxidants from plant foods represent an efficient strategy to counteract this condition.”

In this study the researchers took E. Coli LPS (E. Coli is a bacterial toxin, LPS is the Lipopolysaccharides, the outer protective layer of the bacteria that helps defend the bacteria), and pretreated the toxins with strawberry extract before introducing them to healthy cells.

Typically the E.Coli LPS would be expected to cause bacterial infection, significant enough that antibiotics would need to be introduced to reverse the infection.

The researchers found that strawberry extracts  pre-treatment on the cells exposed to the E. Coli  counteracted LPS-induced oxidative stress reducing the amount of ROS and nitrite production, stimulating endogenous antioxidant enzyme activities and enhancing protection against lipid, protein and DNA damage. What does all this mean? The oxidative stress and its components were halted by the strawberry’s anti-oxidant effect and in fact was reversed.

The researchers concluded: The results obtained in this work highlight the health benefit of strawberries against inflammation and oxidative stress.(4)

There you have it, three new studies on how strawberries can effect a healthy healing environment. Before you go off on a strawberry diet, always check with your health care provider if strawberries are a good food for you.

If you have questions about chronic pain, you can get help from our Caring Medical staff.

1. Schell J, Scofield RH, Barrett JR, Kurien BT, Betts N, Lyons TJ, Zhao YD, Basu A. Strawberries Improve Pain and Inflammation in Obese Adults with Radiographic Evidence of Knee Osteoarthritis. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 28;9(9):949. [Google Scholar]

2. Duarte LJ, Chaves VC, dos Santos Nascimento MV, Calvete E, Li M, Ciraolo E, Ghigo A, Hirsch E, Simões CM, Reginatto FH, Dalmarco EM. Molecular mechanism of action of Pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside, the main anthocyanin responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect of strawberry fruits. Food chemistry. 2018 May 1;247:56-65. [Google Scholar]

3. Giampieri F, Forbes‐Hernandez TY, Gasparrini M, Afrin S, Cianciosi D, Reboredo‐Rodriguez P, Varela‐Lopez A, Quiles JL, Mezzetti B, Battino M. The healthy effects of strawberry bioactive compounds on molecular pathways related to chronic diseases. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2017 Jun 15.  [Google Scholar]

4. Gasparrini M, Forbes-Hernandez TY, Giampieri F, Afrin S, Alvarez-Suarez JM, Mazzoni L, Mezzetti B, Quiles JL, Battino M. Anti-inflammatory effect of strawberry extract against LPS-induced stress in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2017 Apr 30;102:1-0.  [Google Scholar]

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