Potential of dietary supplementation with berries to enhance immunity in humans
Enhancing immunity with berry supplements
One of the most prominent concerns that has arisen from global events such as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is how the immune system might be enhanced to provide greater protection against malignant conditions and diseases. Dietary modification is one of the major fields of research, with special focus on how diet interacts with immunity through impacts on factors such as the gut microbiome, inflammation, and nutritional imbalance. This review focuses on current research regarding the use of bioactives derived from berries as a dietary supplement to improve immunity, with discussions of relevant clinical studies. Major bioactive, metabolic compounds of focus- flavonoids, anthocyanins, alkaloids, dietary fiber, and stilbenes- have demonstrated biochemical merits in modulating immunity. In addition, blueberries, goji berries, black raspberries, and cranberries, which have been extensively researched and recently gained interest for their effects on the immune system in animal and cell models, may also hold promise in providing similar benefits to humans, though the precise immunological effects have yet to be clearly determined. Overall, the field of berry research as it relates to diet and immunity shows potential, but more clinical studies will be necessary for a full understanding of the mechanisms of berry immunomodulation.