‘Japanese Pickle’ Can Prevent The Flu


Pic: Schellack (PD)


Via Eureka Alert:

Scientists have discovered that bacteria found in a traditional Japanese pickle can prevent flu. Could this be the next superfood?

The research, which assesses the immune-boosting powers of Lactobacillus brevis from Suguki – a pickled turnip, popular in Japan – in mice that have been exposed to a flu virus, is published today (06 November) in the SfAM journal, Letters in Applied Microbiology.

Lead researcher, Ms Naoko Waki of KAGOME CO., LTD. in Japan said: “Our results show that when a particular strain of Lactobacillus brevis is eaten by mice, it has protective effects against influenza virus infection.”

Suguki enthusiasts have often cited its protective powers but it is not known yet whether the same effects will be seen in humans. Human clinical trials using a probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus brevis KB290 bacteria are underway and scientists are hopeful that, given a suitable quantity of bacteria, foods containing them may turn out to be the next superfood.

What it is about the bacteria that gives them this amazing property is not known, but it is remarkably tolerant to stomach juices, which are too acidic for many bacteria. This is largely due to a protective layer of sugars called exopolysaccharides.

“We know that exopolysaccharides have immune boosting effects in other similar bacteria, so we wonder if the exopolysaccharides of KB290 are responsible for the effects we see,” said Ms Waki. Further studies will be undertaken to investigate this.

The effect of the bacteria is to increase the production of immune system molecules in the body – IFN-α and flu-specific antibodies – and to enhance activity to eradicate virus infected cells. In this study these effects were sufficient to prevent infection by the H1N1 flu and the scientists think that there could also be protection against other viral infections, including the deadly H7N9 flu, which has recently emerged in China.

7 Comments on "‘Japanese Pickle’ Can Prevent The Flu"

  1. Of course it’s only a special Japanese pickled turnip…no specific health benefits from the pickled radish I had on Christmas, according to my sinuses.

  2. Liberalmann | Dec 29, 2013 at 11:10 pm |

    Yeah, you kmnow an article is credible when it begins with “DOCTORS HATE THIS PICKLE.”

  3. BuzzCoastin | Dec 30, 2013 at 12:18 am |

    I don’t wana pickle
    I juz wana ride my moto cycle
    I don’t wana die
    juz wana ride my moto cy

  4. Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Dec 30, 2013 at 8:49 am |

    Most medicines are derived from living things. Every organism on the planet deals with viruses. Every single one. From bacteria to plants, fungi and animals. Many living things have evolved metabolites which effectively interrupt the invasive capacity of pathogens. Some of these compounds spread systemically when ingested and provide immunological benefits

    Trying to explain the health impacts of food consumption in the land of super-sized double cheezeburgerz is like teaching bonobos about prophylactics.

  5. Rhoid Rager | Dec 30, 2013 at 10:40 am |

    Too bad suguki tastes like salted assholes.

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