Fighting inflammation and oxidative stress: New study finds some benefits of orange juice

BARTOW, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2021) – A new study suggests 100% orange juice has the potential to help fight inflammation and oxidative stress in adults, paving the way for further research on the topic.

Though limited in scope, the study indicates drinking 100% orange juice significantly reduces interleukin 6, a well-established marker of inflammation, in both healthy and high-risk adults. Two additional inflammatory and oxidative stress markers were also reduced; however, the results did not quite reach statistical significance.

The findings of this study, which was funded through an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, harmonize with a previously published FDOC-funded review that reported beneficial effects of hesperidin, the primary bioactive compound found in oranges and 100% orange juice, on reducing some markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.1 Chronic inflammation may play a key role in causing or advancing some chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Studies like these are necessary in order to identify gaps in the existing evidence so that future research can be designed to specifically fill those holes.  The FDOC’s scientific research department has used these results to outline the scope of work for a larger FDOC-sponsored clinical trial on the benefits of 100% orange juice consumption expected to begin in late 2021.

“We know that 100% orange juice contains a number of nutrients, like vitamin C, as well as beneficial bioactive compounds that have the potential to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress,” said Gail Rampersaud, Florida Department of Citrus registered dietitian. “This review tells us that some studies find benefits with 100% orange juice, but we need more data and large well-designed studies to make more definitive conclusions. This analysis is especially helpful as we and others plan future research related to orange juice.”

The review examined published studies relating to 100% orange juice and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Conducted by the Think Healthy Group and researchers at Tufts University and George Mason University, the review was published in the journal, Advances in Nutrition.

The analysis consisted of three parts: a qualitative scoping review of 21 studies with a total of 307 healthy adults and 327 adults at risk for disease; a systematic review of a subset of 16 studies that measured the six most reported biomarkers related to inflammation and oxidative stress in the body; and 10 studies that had sufficient data to conduct a meta-analysis. The researchers also examined the overall quality and potential bias in the studies.

The broad scoping and systematic reviews revealed that, in general, 100% orange juice either had beneficial or null (no adverse) effects on oxidative stress or inflammation. The researchers cautioned that studies included a relatively small number of subjects, had a low strength of evidence, and had a moderate risk of bias; therefore, overall findings should be interpreted with caution.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of the Florida government charged with the marketing, research, and regulation of the Florida citrus industry.  Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels.  The industry employs more than 33,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.762 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads, and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org/newsroom.