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Antioxidant supplements trialled to support immune system

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Southampton researchers are exploring the effects of antioxidant supplements on the immune system

A new study is recruiting healthy volunteers in the Southampton area to assess two different supplements on 50- to 65-year-old adults.

The research, led by Dr Caroline Childs, will shine new light on the immune system, metabolism and gut bacteria.

The findings will join Southampton’s wider nutrition research as it helps people make healthier life choices and prevent diseases.

Healthy and balanced diets

Though currently dietary guidelines advise eating five portions of fruits and vegetables per day, recent surveys reveal that fewer than 30% of adults achieve this.

Taxifolin and Ergothioneine are antioxidants that are found in foods such as apples, onions, and mushrooms. In this study these will be provided in capsules that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Dr Childs, Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Southampton, said: “Antioxidants found within fruits and vegetables are understood to be one of the important aspects by which our diet can influence health. It is important to investigate the effects of such antioxidants through well-designed and conducted human trials.”

Complex immune function

The immune system is highly responsive to environmental influences, including the diet. Our diets provide the energy required to mount a strong and protective immune response. They can also indirectly affect immune function through changes in the gut microbiome.

Immune function varies across a lifetime. It is well understood to decline with age. This results in reduced vaccination responses and an increased risk from common diseases such as influenza. Impaired immunity with ageing is known as immunosenescence.

This latest study will specifically assess immune function in healthy adults aged 50-65 years old.

Healthy volunteers needed

Researchers will use a variety of samples to assess the volunteers’ immune systems and any changes in gut bacteria.

Participants will be reimbursed for their time in the study and for reasonable local travel expenses. They will also be invited to an event at the end of the study to hear the findings.

If you are interested in taking part or finding out more about what is involved in the study, please contact the study team at, 07553 718907 or click here to register your interest.


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