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Ahead of the Curve: Tomato, Seaweed, Goji Berry

Early-Stage Discoveries: Tomato, Seaweed, Goji Berry

  • Tomato concentrate reduced inflammation in HIV

In HIV, the intestinal walls are inflamed, and leak bacteria into the bloodstream. In the lab, mice with HIV on a diet including tomato concentrate had lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines compared to those on a regular diet. Levels of a protein that triggers inflammation in chronic HIV infection were also lower.

Doctors found increased levels of Apolipoprotein A-1—a particle in HDL cholesterol that protects against heart and circulatory diseases—in biopsies of gut tissue in those on the tomato diet.

Reference: PLoS Pathogens; 2022, Vol. 18, No. 1, e1010160

  • Ulva seaweed extract stopped Covid

Ulva seaweed is a diet staple in Hawaii, Japan, and New Zealand. Doctors in this study grew the seaweed, ulva algae, in the lab, then exposed cells in test tubes to coronavirus and to ulvan extract.

Cells exposed to coronavirus and ulvan extract did not become infected with SARS-CoV-2. Discussing the findings, doctors said the sulfated polysaccharides in ulva show promise. They hope to develop new antivirals to combat the continually mutating coronavirus strains that resist current antivirals and vaccine-based immunity.

Reference 2: Peer Journal; 2021, Vol. 9, e12398, Published Online

  • Goji berry promotes eye health

In this small pilot study, 27 healthy people, age 45 to 65, took a commercial eye supplement containing 6 mg of lutein and 4 mg of zeaxanthin, or took an ounce of goji berries, five times per week for 90 days.

In the goji berry group, but not in the commercial supplement group, levels of the protective carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxanthin increased in the macula of the eye. Next, doctors hope to test goji berries in people with early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Reference 3: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 12, nu13124409

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