The combination of red palm oil and rooibos show anti-inflammatory effects in rats

19 Jul 2016

Background: Red palm oil (RPO) and rooibos have been shown to exhibit cardioprotective properties. RPO is rich in essential fatty acids and fat soluble antioxidants while rooibos contains polyphenolic compounds with a unique composition of flavonoids. They exert their biological effects in different cellular compartments. Therefore the combination of these two natural food compounds has the potential to enhance the spectrum of available dietary antioxidants in different cellular compartments, which could result in an enhanced protection against certain pathological conditions such as inflammation. Methods: Male Wistar rats weighing 150-200 g were supplemented with RPO, rooibos or their combination for 28 days. The Langendorff system and the lipoposaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory model were used to establish if RPO and rooibos, when supplemented alone or in combination, will reverse the negative effects of LPS on cardiac function at baseline. The effect of dietary intervention was also investigated on modulation of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in plasma and myocardial tissue. Results and discussion: The LPS resulted in induction of systemic inflammation as evidenced by increased levels of IL-1? in plasma of LPS-treated rats compared to their non-treated control counterparts. Dietary supplementation and LPS treatment did not have an effect on baseline cardiac functional parameters. However, the elevation of IL-1? levels in plasma of LPS-induced rats consuming either RPO or rooibos alone were paralleled with increased levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10. The combination of rooibos and RPO was associated with enhanced endogenous production of myocardial IL-10 in LPS-induced rats. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that RPO and rooibos when supplemented individually showed anti-inflammatory effect at systemic level while their combination exhibited an enhanced anti-inflammatory effect in the myocardial tissue.