Anyone with allergies can tell you that they suck pretty hard. Particularly in Japan, the high density of cedar trees has hay fever sufferers throwing on masks for several months of the year starting about now.

To our rescue comes Koji Kawahara, Professor of Cellular Engineering at Kitakyushu National College of Technology who last year found a component in strawberries which eases allergic reactions.

Professor Kawahara presented his findings at an international biology expo and filed for an international patent. He will likely synthesize the active ingredient into pill form, but can simply adding strawberries to our diet do the trick too?

In the first experiment, Prof. Kawahara cultured human cells taken from blood samples and simulated an allergic reaction by adding Japan’s worst hay fever culprit: cedar pollen.

He then introduced around 190 different types of foods such as carrots and onions to the cultures. As a result, liquid taken from mashed strawberries decreased the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody the most.

IgE is a key antibody in various allergic reactions resulting in symptoms such as swelling and itchiness. Through further study, Prof. Kawahara identified the active component to be the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) enzyme.

Further tests were conducted on mice that were fed strawberries. The mice had shown significant improvements in both cases of rhinitis (runny/stuffy nose) and atopic dermatitis (itchy rashes) after one week of a strawberry-infused diet.

But before you go running out to the market there are a few things to consider.

The type of strawberry was found to have an important impact on allergy relief. For example, Toyonaka strawberries reduced IgE by 22.3% while Amaou strawberries only led to a 16.7% reduction.

So you might want to look into the GAPDH content in the strawberries offered in your area. How you would go about doing that, I have no idea.

Also, to match the amount of strawberries eaten by the mice in experiments, a 60 kg (132 lb) human would have to eat 20 strawberries every day for one week before seeing improvement.

While eating 20 strawberries in one day seems doable, doing it every day would surely be taxing. Yuko Miyagawa, who suffered from hay fever for five years, thinks she may have found a feasible solution.

“Because it’s supposed to be mashed, I put the strawberries in the blender and made some juice. I found that mixing it with yogurt worked well for pollen allergies. Morning and night I drank the juice for seven days. For the time being, my runny nose and stuffy nose symptoms are gone. I feel good. It’s hard to eat raw strawberries every day but with juice it’s pretty easy. Will it keep up all year though?!”

It is a lot of strawberries to eat, but it refreshing to see a food that actually tastes good having some kick-ass health benefits rather than the typical disgusting stuff like pee or, even worse, tomato juice.

Source: Yahoo! News (Japanese)
Title image: Wikipedia