Superfoods could help key protein keep your body healthy

A new generation of new superfoods that tackle heart disease and diabetes could be developed following research into a protein that helps keep cells in our bodies healthy.

Researchers at the University of Warwick found that the protein, called Nrf2, continually moves in and out of the nuclei of human cells to sense the cell’s health and vitality.

When Nrf2 is exposed to threats to the cell’s health it oscillates faster and activates an increase in the cell’s defence mechanism, including raising the levels of antioxidant.

The researchers, from the University’s Warwick Medical School, successfully increased the speed of Nrf2’s movement by artificially introducing health beneficial substances – potential components of new superfoods.

The beneficial substances comprise broccoli-derived sulforaphane and quercetin, which is found in high-levels in onions.

The team used these insights to develop new food supplements, which are currently being trialled to decrease risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

Published by Antioxidants and Redox Signalling, the research investigated the ways in which compounds in fruit and vegetables keep humans healthy.

The research team are the first to record the continual movement cycle of Nrf2, which sees the protein oscillate in and out of the cell nucleus once every 129 minutes. When stimulated by a health beneficial vegetable-derived substance Nrf2’s cycle sped up to 80 minutes.

Lead researcher Professor Paul Thornalley says, “The way Nrf2 works is very similar to sensors in electronic devices that rely on continual reassessment of their surroundings to provide an appropriate response”.

Discussing the health benefits of the research Professor Thornalley argues:

“The health benefit of Nrf2 oscillating at a fast speed is that surveillance of cell health is increased when most needed, that is, when cells are under threat. By understanding how this process works and increasing Nrf2’s speed without putting cells under threat, new strategies for design of healthier foods and improved drugs can be devised. Current designs may have selected substances with suboptimal if not poor health benefits in some cases.”

Commenting on the research, Professor Andreu Palou, coordinator of the EU-funded BIOCLAIMS research programme said “A main nutritional challenge in Europe is to substantiate the beneficial effects of foods that are advertised to the consumers. The approach of the group of Prof Thornalley is opening a fascinating new window.”

For a copy of the paper or to speak with Professor Thornalley please email Tom Frew; a.t.frew@warwick.ac.uk


  • elderlyfox

    This is misnfo from mainstream medicine implying we dunno what causes heart disease.

    The 3 main causes of arterial calcification are:

    1. Inflammation in the arteries. This is caused by insuffcient anti-oxidants in the diet from food, or from supplements. It IS this inflammation that causes calcification. LDL,. the 'bad cholesterol', (Low Density Lipo-Protein), is merely the marker for the amount of ongoing inflammation. 2 egg yolks daily, (preferrably eaten raw, the shells well washed first, the whites cooked), contain sufficient anti-oxidants such as vitamins, selenium, the amino acids l-cysteine, l-tyrosene etc. to prevent arterial inflammation, thus.. normalising LDL and.. stopping calcification. Statin drugs artificially change the LDL marker by intefering with normal liver or gut function. Lacking in anti-oxidants statins do not even slow calcification.

    Egg yolks are also high vitamin K2, that needed to direct calcium into hard tissues, bones, and away from soft tissues, arteries. Yolks are also high in the brain nutrients phosphotidyl serine and choline. Peptides in egg yolks lower high blood pressure. There is about 0.25 mg each of lutein and zeaxanthin in one raw egg yolk in a highly absorbable, nearly ideal form. Both essential for healthy eyes. (Kale is very high in lutein, BUT nutrients in veges are tightly bound in the cells, and difficult to absorb, and, kale has 0 zeaxanthin! 2 egg yolks eaten at breakfast stabilize blood sugars throughout the day. That prevents the sudden blood sugar drop after lunch and dinner, causing extreme sleepiness and/or fatigue. Idiotic healthy eating advice is for ONLY 2 yolks a week!

    2. High blood homocysteine. This is lowered with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, a B vitamin. Butter and cream synthesise vitamin B6 in the gut through the healthy gut bacteria. ( A large scale, long term study showed that 2 groups who were seperated geographically by their work, but were of the same genetic origin, the same age group and same activity level, ended up on different diets. The Northern ones cooked entirely with butter and ate lots of animal protein and fat. They even smoked much more than the Southerners. The Southerners ended up with a pure vegetarian diet. The Southerners had 15X(!!) the heart disease incidence of the Notherners. Malhotra S L, D; 11X published in Lancet. Butter is also high in vitamin K2. Idiotic 'healthy'eating advice is to restrict/omit butter, cream, full fat milk products.

    3. High triglycerides. Blood fats that are elevated by too many carbs, especially sugar, and alcohol. Idiotic 'healthy eating' advice is to stuff yourself with carbs all day ie grains 6X daily and unlimited fruit and sugar.

    Grass fed animal fat is high in healthgiving Omega3, conjugated linoleic acid and long chain fatty acids.

    Why the deliberate misisnfo. IMO, (with over 50 years in the 'alternative' health industry, it is to make fats look B A D, to cause artery clogging, whereas they protect, and to fatten, which they don't it's the carbs.

  • elderlyfox

    Diabetes causes unknown? The pathway of Aspartame causing diabetes has been identified.

    ALL grains are high in lectins that desensitise cell membranes to insulin, causing insulin over production. Grains are also high in leptin plant hormones that interrupt siganalling between liver and pancreas, causing insulin disturbances. These 2 cause obesity and diabetes2. (On a zero grain, zero sugar, high sat-fat, high protein Paleolithic diet, diabetes2 has been turned around in a month).

    Ther is no PROFIT in prevention!

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