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Additive in food reinforced flu and complicates treatment

Stronger flu symptoms through our diet?

An additive in many products, such as frozen meat and fish, suppressed the immune reaction which the body exerts in the fight against the flu. The exposure to this additive, for example, can reduce the effectiveness of a flu vaccine.

In a recent investigation by the Michigan State University, it was found that the addition of tert-fuel-butyl hydroquinone hinders the body fight the flu. The results of the research will be at the annual meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics during the 2019 Experimental Biology Meetings, on 6. to 9. April, presented in Orlando.

If people are suffering from the flu, be increased symptoms due to special additives in our food. (Image: Sonja Birkelbach/

tBHQ enhanced flu symptoms

Recent studies in mice suggest that the additive tert-butyl hydroquinone (tBHQ), which is included in many common products, a negative impact on the fight against the flu affects. It leads to the Severity of the flu symptoms increased. Also, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is reduced by the effect of the tBHQ-exposure to the T-cells, a vital part of the immune system.

Breathing difficulties caused by influenza kill each year worldwide, up to 650,000 people

This connection could explain why seasonal Influenza is still worldwide a major health risk. Estimated at about 290,000 to 650,000 people die worldwide each year of influenza-related respiratory complaints. The studies have shown that mice with a diet with tBHQ response to Influenza infection have a weakened immune.

In the analyzed model experiment in mice under tBHQ suppressed the function of two types of T-cells, so-called helper and Killer T-cells. Ultimately, this has led to more severe symptoms weigh-in during a subsequent Influenza infection, explain the researchers. If a Person is infected with a influenza virus, guide helper T-cells to other parts of the immune system and help to co-ordinate an appropriate response, while Killer T cells search for infected cells and they remove from the body.

Defense against the flu has been greatly slows down

In their experiments, the researchers found that mice that took a with tBHQ enriched diet, enable slow T-helper cells, and Killer T-cells. This leads to a delayed fighting the Virus. At the Moment, is a leading hypothesis that tBHQ caused these effects by some proteins to be strengthened, which is known that they suppress the immune system. The Expression of these proteins, CTLA-4 and IL-10, was amplified in two different models in the laboratory. Further research is necessary, however, to determine whether the up-regulation of these proteins in fact, for the effects of tBHQ during the Influenza the cause.

Re-infections were worse fights

When the mice were later infected again with a different but related flu strain, were the animals with a diet with a lot of tBHQ longer sick and gained weight. This indicates that tBHQ affects the so-called memory response, which stimulates the immune system to fight a second infection. Since this reaction is of Central importance for the function of vaccines, can reduce a impairment of this function may be the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. T-cells are involved in the immune response to a variety of diseases, so that tBHQ could also play other types of infectious diseases, a role, explain the researchers.

We take all of the tBHQ to us?

tBHQ is an additive to improve the shelf-life of food products – with a maximum allowable concentration of 200 ppm in food products. It is unclear how much tBHQ people are normally exposed, although estimates suggest that, for example, some people in the USA take almost twice as much, tBHQ, such as the joint FAO/WHO expert Committee on food additives recommended maximum amount is. It is hard to know whether and how much tBHQ you consume, since it is not always listed on the ingredient labels, explain the authors of the study. For example, it could be in the Oil for Frying contain, which is used for the production of Chips. The best way to limit the tBHQ exposure, was to pay attention more consciously to the selection of the ingested food. Since tBHQ is largely used for the stabilization of fats that could contribute to a low-fat diet and reducing the consumption of processed Snacks will help to reduce the tBHQ-consumption, the researchers say. Further studies on human blood samples are now needed to find out what exactly tBHQ affects the T-cell activity. (as)