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22, 2008 — Scientists in the United Kingdom are reporting new
evidence that humans can make their own salicylic acid (SA) — the material
formed when aspirin breaks down in the body. SA, which is responsible for
aspirin’s renowned effects in relieving pain and inflammation, may be the first
in a new class of bioregulators, according to a study scheduled for the Dec. 24
issue of ACS’ biweekly Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
In the report, Gwendoline Baxter, Ph.D. and colleagues
discuss how their past research revealed that SA exists in the blood of people
who have not recently taken aspirin. Vegetarians had much higher levels, almost
matching those in patients taking low doses of aspirin. Based on those findings,
the researchers previously concluded that this endogenous SA came from the diet,
since SA is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables.
Now the group reports on studies of changes in SA levels
in volunteers who took benzoic acid, a substance also found naturally in fruits
and vegetables that the body could potentially use to make SA. Their goal was to determine
whether the SA found in humans (and other animals) results solely from
consumption of fruits and vegetables, or whether humans produce their own SA as
a natural agent to fight inflammation and disease. The results reported in the
study suggest that people do manufacture SA.
“It is, we suspect, increasingly likely that SA is a
biopharmaceutical with a central, broadly defensive role in animals as well as
plants,” they state. “This simple organic chemical is, we propose, likely to
become increasingly recognized as an animal bioregulator, perhaps in a class of
This news release was provided by The American Chemical Society — a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress
and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through
its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.
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