Flavonoids found in fruit protect cells from inflammation, study suggests
21:46:49 EDT Jun 9, 2006

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) - New research suggests there may be truth behind the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Scientists from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, say they've discovered that apples rich with compounds called flavonoids help ward off debilitating cell diseases, such as heart disease and age-related cancers.

The research was funded by the U.S. Apple Association and the Apple Products Research and Education Council.

Studies in the past have found that flavonoids act as antioxidants - enzymes that target free radicals that can damage DNA. Flavonoids are commonly found in chocolate, green tea and other fruits and vegetables.

In a prepared statement, Eric Gershwin, a UC-Davis professor of allergy, rheumatology and immunology, said, "Our study showed that the flavonoids in apples and apple juice can inhibit signals in this pathway that would otherwise damage or kill cells in the body."

Gershwin and his colleagues created an apple mash from different apple varieties, and then exposed the extract to endothelial cells, which line blood vessels. Then they exposed the cells to tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a compound that promotes inflammation and can trigger cell death.

The apple extract preserved and protected the cells by hindering communication between them.

The study results appear in the current issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.