Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals required by human body for well functioning. When talking about fruits, Apple turns out to be the most nutritious because of its many health benefiting properties. A recent study published in the journal ‘Nature Communications’ has revealed that, Vitamin C found in apples can help boost anti-bacterial immunity and can also prevent from pneumonia. The researchers found that bacteria uses hydrogen peroxide to weaken the immune system and cause pneumonia. Hydrogen peroxide is used to whiten hair or teeth due to its bleaching properties, and is also used for cleaning surfaces and disinfecting wounds.
According to Nelson Gekara, Research leader from Sweden’s Umea University, “By using hydrogen peroxide to defeat the immune system, you could say that the bacteria are fighting fire with fire. The body itself also produces hydrogen peroxide as a defence against the bacteria. Therefore, it was surprising to see that many types of bacteria actually use the same substance to overcome the body’s defenses”.
“One of the best known substances with the ability to neutralize hydrogen peroxide and that could hence boost anti-bacterial immunity are vitamins such as Vitamin C found in fruits. Perhaps the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is not off the mark,” Gekara further added.
The researchers of the study mainly focused on Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is the most common bacterium causing pneumonia but can also cause meningitis or severe sepsis. The findings of the study revealed that bacteria such as pneumococci release large quantities of hydrogen peroxide, which leads to inactivation of inflammasomes, further weakening the immune system.
In mice, the researchers found that bacteria manipulated to produce less hydrogen peroxide were unable to inactivate inflammasomes, which further induced a faster inflammatory response that effectively removed the bacteria from mouse lungs. Apart from this, by vaccinating the mice with a special enzyme knows as catalase, one could increase the inflammation and inflammatory symptoms, leading to faster removal of pneumococci from the lung.