May 25, 2019 09:23 AM EDT
Food fermentation has been used as a way to help preserve food and keep it in storage longer. More than that, the consumption of these fermented foods encourages good gut health. However, in a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Leipzig shows that a specific type of immune function receptor is triggered by a lactic acid bacteria only found in fermented foods.
There are two types of hydroxycarboxylic acid (HCA) receptors found in most mammals. These receptors function well to regulate the energy homeostasis and immune function as a response to dietary intake. Fifteen years ago, another HCA receptor was identified in the human genome. Further research reveals that such HCA is unique to great apes and humans and is not found in any other mammal.
The new study suggests that the HCA receptor is only triggered and activated by D-phenyllactic acid, a type of metabolite from a lactic acid bacteria which only appears in some types of foods when they are fermented. The evolutionary process of how our ancestors have discovered that it was safe to eat fruits from the ground than those freshly picked from the tree. This seemingly simple evolutionary process favored people who are now more able to digest fermented foods that fresh ones.
As a person eats more fermented foods, a new HCA in the human body has evolved to allow the body to better process the metabolites contained in them. The study further looked into the role of these HCA receptors to the overall physiological processes of the human body. Finding foods that will generate and activate such metabolic processes will truly benefit the immune system. Studies also show that they can help maintain good levels of glucose and improve insulin functions in the body.
"We believe this report comes with a number of benefits including anti-inflammatory effects that help the body fulfill its functions," said Claudia Staubert. "In fact, a drug can be developed from these collected facts that will help target the inflammatory diseases of the human body."
There are still plenty of things to discover about fermented foods and how it can help build a human body with a strong immune system. This thought-provoking idea may just open the doors to further research to help people become healthy again.
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