Immune function in elderly smokers and nonsmokers improves during supplementation with fruit and vegetable extracts

Inserra PF, Jiang S, Solkoff D, Lee J, Zhang Z, Xu M, Hesslink R, Wise J, Watson RR; Oct. 1999


The aim of the study was to determine the effect of supplementing with an encapsulated fruit and vegetable juice powder concentrate (FV) on immune function among seniors, who typically suffer from immune decline.  


In this open-label study, 53 healthy seniors (age 60 or older), with an average age of 68, took FV (Juice Plus+®; 2 capsules per day each of the Fruit and Vegetable Blends) for 80 days. Blood samples were taken 3 times ― at baseline and on days 40 and 80 ― and analyzed for levels of various antioxidants and markers of immune function.  


Compared to baseline, blood concentrations of various antioxidants (lutein/zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and alpha-tocopherol) increased significantly. In addition, multiple markers of immune function were improved, as evidenced by increased production of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, increased cytotoxicity of natural killer cells, and increased production of interleukin-2 (IL-2) among nonsmokers. In addition, increases in interleukin-2 were also observed among smokers.  


In conclusion, fruit and vegetable extracts are a safe and well-tolerated supplement to dietary fruits and vegetables. They are also beneficial at improving immune function in the elderly.

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