A Functional Food Mixture "Protector" Reinforces the Protective Immune Parameters against Viral Flu Infection in Mice

Nutrients. 2018 Jun 8;10(6):743. doi: 10.3390/nu10060743.


Background: Viral influenza infection causes serious health issues especially when an outbreak occurs. Although influenza virus vaccines are available and each year manufactures modify the vaccine depending on the expected mutated strain, it is still far from satisfactory, mainly in young children and older adults. Therefore, a product that can support and shape the immune system to protect against viral flu infections is highly essential. Methods: A functional food water-soluble mixture of pomegranate, red grape, dates, olive fruit, figs, and ginger extracts, termed herein “Protector”, was prepared and tested in stimulating/modulating the production of specific cytokines, and hemagglutinin inhibition (HAI) antibodies following viral flu vaccination in mice. Results: A single intraperitoneal or multiple oral administration for 1⁻7 days of “Protector” significantly increased the production of interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-12 in blood, spleen, and lungs of mice. When “Protector” was orally administered for one week following a single vaccine injection (primary immunization) or for two weeks (one week apart) following double vaccine injections (secondary immunization), mice significantly produced higher titers of HAI antibodies. This increase in HAI antibodies was associated with Pillow-inducing significant and different changes in vaccine-induced IFN-γ, IL-12, IL-6 and IL-22 following primary and secondary immunizations. Conclusions: “Protector” administration reinforces the protective immune parameters against viral flu infection. Therefore, after performing preclinical toxicology studies and ensuring its safety, “Protector” should be considered a potential product to be tested in clinical trials to conclude its efficacy in reducing the devastating effects of flu infection in humans and its outbreaks.

Keywords: IFN-γ; IL-12; IL-22; IL-6; dates; figs; flu infection; flu vaccine; ginger; hemagglutination inhibition antibodies; olive fruit; pomegranate; red grape.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Functional Food*
  • Hemagglutination, Viral
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Immunization
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / immunology
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / pathogenicity*
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / blood
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / prevention & control*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Time Factors
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / immunology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Cytokines
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Inactivated
  • vaxigrip