Preservative Could Cause Higher Flu Vulnerability, Quartz Reports
Quartz has reported on a Michigan State University study purportedly finding that tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), which can help preserve unsaturated vegetable oils and animal fats, may cause a higher susceptibility to influenza. Researchers apparently found that TBHQ caused the T cells of lab mice to become more sluggish and thus unable to fight off the flu virus as effectively.
“The researchers’ leading hypothesis is that TBHQ causes these effects by triggering some of the proteins in the body that are known to suppress the immune system,” Quartz reports. “The emerging scientific work so far only applies to laboratory mice, which is to say it still has a long way to go before we’ll know whether humans are impacted in a similar way. Still, if the science bears out, it could wind up impacting how food companies operate, and it could give health experts new insight into how people are made more susceptible to the flu.”