03 May Use of antioxidant plant extracts in feverish animals
Fever, also called pyrexia, is defined as an abnormally high body temperature, and it is characteristic of many diseases associated with infection or injury. It is part of the response known as “acute phase reaction”, which includes a cascade of immunologic, endocrinologic, and neurologic processes.
Until recently, in human medicine, fever was considered harmful, and it was believed necessary to bring it down immediately by the administration of antipyretics. Nowadays, it has been demonstrated that, in most cases, fever is beneficial, as it enhances the activity of immune factors and cells, while at the same time creates an environment that impairs pathogen replication.
Recent studies indicate that there is a direct relationship between fever and oxidative stress: in febrile rats, lipid peroxidation products are found in the plasma, liver, brain, and heart, while an increased production of free radicals is found in the brain, liver, and adipose tissues.
Glutathione, a water-soluble peptide, is the main intracellular antioxidant. It plays a key role in the defence against oxidative stress, while at the same time it is also essential for some functions related to both the innate and adaptive immune systems. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that glutathione is related to the onset of fever: both very low and high levels of glutathione are able to reduce fever.
The administration of antipyretics reduces fever, but can not fight the metabolic damage related to oxidative stress. In contrast, the administration of natural antioxidants does not bring fever down, which as we explained above is beneficial in most cases, but it counteracts oxidative stress. Natural antioxidants also have immune boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, so the use of such compounds reinforces the immune system during infectious diseases, prevents pathogen spread, stops the disease from worsening, and further suppresses inflammation in affected tissues.
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