Ayurvastatin, a potent form of vitamin A, can help boost the body’s natural defences against infection, according to a new study.
The study was led by Professor David S. Staley, a gastroenterologist at the University of Sydney.
Dr Staley said the discovery of vitamin-A-rich plant materials such as mushrooms, which contain vitamin A but also contain an alkaline form of the mineral, had allowed the study to be done without having to obtain and store plant material.
“This study has provided a new way to study plant extracts in a healthy way,” he said.
“It’s about looking at what we know about plants to understand what we don’t know about the body.”
Dr Staly said the study was an important step in understanding how the body responds to infection and how it can use plant extracts to treat illnesses, and was part of a growing body of research that looked at how plants interact with drugs and drugs therapies.
“The aim of this study is to provide a more in-depth understanding of the physiology and chemistry of the body, as well as how plant extracts may help to combat infection and disease,” he explained.
“While these findings are promising, we do have many more to look into.”
Professor Staley led the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, and said it had helped the researchers understand how plant material could act as an antibacterial and antiviral agent.
“We have been using plant material as a plant defence for over 2,000 years, so this study was very exciting to work on,” he added.
“One of the things we learned from studying the medicinal properties of mushroom extract is that they can act as antibacterial agents against bacteria and viruses.”
For example, mushrooms have antibacterial properties in a variety of ways, from their ability to kill bacteria, to their ability protect against viruses, to being able to act as a carrier of drugs.
“Dr Sallarani said the team was excited by the results, as the use of mushroom extracts in medicine was becoming increasingly common.”
In the United States, mushroom extracts are being used as a common antibacterial agent in many pharmaceuticals.
“However, there are many different compounds that are being tested to treat different types of infections, and there is a need for more research on the medicinal benefits of these compounds,” he told The Australian.