A regular diet of fruits and vegetables can help your body make its own salicylic acid (SA) - the material formed when aspirin breaks down in the body, according to UK scientists.
SA is responsible for aspirin's renowned effects in relieving pain and inflammation, and, according to the new study, it may be the first in a new class of bioregulators.
Led by Dr. Gwendoline Baxter, the study details how on of their previous research revealed that SA exists in the blood of people who have not recently taken aspirin.
And the SA levels were found to be very high in vegetarians, almost matching those in patients taking low doses of aspirin.
Thus, based on those findings, the researchers had previously concluded that the endogenous SA came from the diet, since it is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables.
And now the researchers have reported 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.
They aimed 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 researchers conclude 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. This simple organic chemical is, we propose, likely to become increasingly recognized as an animal bioregulator, perhaps in a class of its own," they said.
The study will be published in an upcoming issue of ACS' biweekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.