Red Ginseng, Vitamin C May Increase Immune Cell Activity
In experimental study, supplements enhance T, NK cell activation, suppress viral replication
THURSDAY, March 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Red ginseng and vitamin C enhance immune cell activation and suppress viral infection in mice, according to an experimental study published online Feb. 21 in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.
Hyemin Kim, from the Seoul National University in South Korea, and colleagues examined the anti-viral effects of red ginseng and vitamin C on influenza A virus/H1N1 infection in mice genetically incapable of synthesizing vitamin C like humans (Gulo[−/−]).
The researchers found that red ginseng and vitamin C increased the expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and natural killer (NK) cells. In Gulo(−/−) mice, red ginseng and vitamin C increased the expression of NKp46, a natural cytotoxic receptor of NK cells and interferon-γ production. In the lungs of vitamin C-depleted Gulo(−/−) mice, influenza infection increased inflammation and viral plaque accumulation and decreased survival rates; however, inflammation and viral plaque accumulation were substantially reduced by red ginseng and vitamin C supplementation.
"Administration of red ginseng and vitamin C enhanced the activation of immune cells like T and NK cells, and repressed the progress of viral lytic cycle," the authors write.