A Pizza’s Healthy Advantage

Several ingredients of pizza has its own known healthy component but a recent study shows that one ingredient that is known for its health benefits for a long time has another added health value according to a research done at the University of Arizona.

The study, led by researcher Kelly Bright showed that an active chemical in oregano oil called carvacol can be used to fight against a vomit-inducing virus called norovirus.

According to the journal of Applied Microbiology, carvacol eliminates the virus by breaking down its strong outer layer.

The virus also known as winter vomiting disease, has been known to be the top cause of vomiting and diarrhea globally and is known to be a common cause of food borne illness in public structures.

The research team led by Bright was accompanied by former graduate student Damian Gilling, former visiting scholar Masaaki Kitajima and current doctoral student Jason Torrey. The tests were done on mice with norovirus both using oregano oil and carvacol. The test revealed different results as oregano oil provided less effect on breaking down the virus while the carvacol magnified that effect to 10,000 times rendering it as 99.99% effective against norovirus.

The chemical carvacol, which is responsible for the herb’s distinct flavor, could be used as a food sanitizer or possibly a surface sanitizer but the researchers still has work to do to assess its potential but it is an interesting prospect according to Bright.

The effect is not as fast compared to bleach as Bright explains how carvacol works. Norovirus is protected by a tough protein shell called capsid. This protects the virus stomach acid and could travel to the gastro intestinal tract. Carvacol breaks down the capsid directly and also destroys its RNA genome making it unable to attach to the human cell preventing infection having it inactivated. Since carvacol is a plant compound, it is safe for human consumption Bright further elaborated.

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 8:00 PM