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Flu Protection from Black Tea, Red Wine, Blueberries, and Gut Microbes

06:39 EDT 4 Aug 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Flavonoids, compounds found in many fruits and vegetables, may work with gut microbes to prevent severe flu infections. A flavonoid-rich diet, by itself, may not offer protection, no matter how much black tea or red wine we drink, or how many blueberries we swallow. It appears that the flavonoids need to be metabolized by the right gut microbes, which release flavonoid-derived substances that enter the bloodstream and boost the immune system. A flavonoid-microbe connection was recently uncovered by scientists based at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. These scientists, led by Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck, M.D., Ph.D., found this connection in mice, which suffer more severe influenza when they receive antibiotics. It has been suggested that antibiotics may worsen influenza in mice by eliminating microbes that produce helpful bioactive metabolites. The scientists discovered that gut bacteria may metabolize flavonoids to generate a compound called desaminotyrosine (DAT), ...

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