Antiviral Peanut Butter
I often look through the search terms that land people on my blog. I’d like to think that people find what they are looking for when they come to my site. However, every now and then I see a search phrase like “antiviral peanut butter”, and know that one person left my blog unsatisfied. And so this post is for you, antiviral peanut butter boy/girl.
When I saw the phrase “antiviral peanut butter” in my search engine terms, I asked myself the question, “Is peanut butter antiviral?” because I honestly didn’t know. When I threw this search phrase into Google, I was sent to Peanut Butter Information on eHow health.
What I found out is that peanut butter contains a substance called resveratrol, which is in fact antiviral. Note: There is more resveratrol in natural peanut butter than in blended peanut butters (1). Resveratrol is also found in grapes and red wine. The resveratrol illustration on the right is from Gupta et al.
Resveratrol appears to inhibit viral infection/replication by regulating inflammatory responses and cellular stress pathways, rather than interacting directly with virus (2). To be more specific, resveratrol (1) inhibits activation of the NF-kB pathway in response to TNF, and (2) increases activation of p53. NK-kB is a “key regulator” of the inflammatory response. By inhibiting its activation, resveratrol acts as an anti-inflammatory (2,3). Since host NF-kB is necessary for efficient replication of several viruses, including Influenza A, HSV-1, and HIV-1; resveratrol is likely inhibiting viral replication when it inhibits NK-kB (2,4). By increasing activation of p53, a cellular protein involved in type I interferon-mediated antiviral responses; resveratrol is also likely increasing antiviral immunity (2).
In summary, evidence suggests that resveratrol found in peanut butter and red wine could possibly act as an immune therapy during viral infection, inhibiting viral replication via NF-kB inhibition, and enhancing type I interferon-mediated antiviral immune responses via p53 activation. So the next time you have the flu, have some peanut butter toast
and a glass of red wine with your chicken soup. And please don’t take that last sentence as real medical advice.
(1) Ibern-Gómez M, Roig-Pérez S, Lamuela-Raventós RM, & de la Torre-Boronat MC (2000). Resveratrol and piceid levels in natural and blended peanut butters. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 48 (12), 6352-4 PMID: 11312807
(2) Campagna, M., & Rivas, C. (2010). Antiviral activity of resveratrol Biochemical Society Transactions, 38 (1) DOI: 10.1042/BST0380050
(3) Gupta SC, Kim JH, Kannappan R, Reuter S, Dougherty PM, & Aggarwal BB (2011). Role of nuclear factor κB-mediated inflammatory pathways in cancer-related symptoms and their regulation by nutritional agents. Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.), 236 (6), 658-71 PMID: 21565893
(4) Nabel, G., & Baltimore, D. (1987). An inducible transcription factor activates expression of human immunodeficiency virus in T cells Nature, 326 (6114), 711-713 DOI: 10.1038/326711a0