Eating raspberries every day may offer the same level of relief as steroids for people who suffer from an itchy skin allergy called contact hypersensitivity, according to a new study from Ohio State University. With this condition, contact with certain things causes one’s skin to become inflamed, red, and itchy — something black raspberries in particular were able to reduce in mice used for this study.
Contact hypersensitivity — the development of hives, essentially — that some people experience when they come into contact with certain irritants is an autoimmune condition. The study out of OSU found that compounds in black raspberries seem to modulate cells that tell the immune system when to activate, reducing the resulting inflammation.
Researchers called it ‘surprising’ that eating regular black raspberries was able to have this notable effect on immune response related to skin allergies. The positive effects were observed in mice after three weeks of eating a diet high in raspberries when compared to mice that weren’t given the berries.
The study’s senior author Steve Oghumu explained:
The immune system is very complex, with multiple players, and so once you begin to identify the unique cells that are being affected by the berries then it helps us to see how berries are inhibiting inflammation. A lot of the bad effects that we see are not always due to the pathogens or allergens themselves but are due to the way our body responds to these triggers.
How many black raspberries would a human have to eat to get the same effect? Only one serving, at least based on the effects observed in mice. It seems that this positive change associated with the diet isn’t limited to just skin allergies, with the berries also showing promise for reducing inflammation related to some other conditions including certain cancers.