The potential gut and immune health benefits of EpiCor, the yeast fermentate from Embria, may be linked to an ability to modulate both the total bacterial composition in the gut, and which specific species stick to the intestinal wall, according to a new study.
Scientists from the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology, Ghent University (Belgium), and ProDigest, also in Ghent, also report that EpiCor, a fermentate preparation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, may also initiate an anti-inflammatory response.
Commenting on the new research Larry Robinson, VP of Scientific Affairs at Embria, said: “Not only does this research provide additional validity for EpiCor’s ability to increase short chain fatty acids and healthy bacteria like lactobacillus in the gut, it also suggests that EpiCor may have a beneficial role at the critical interface of the mucus and epithelial cell barrier where many inflammatory and auto-immune issues are thought to begin.”
EpiCor and Embria were born out of observations that the culture could have other uses following farmers' reports that their animals were not getting sick.
Moreover, in 2004 insurance adjusters noticed that Diamond V, Embria's parent company, employees had far lower sick rates than other workplaces. The company thought the culture could be boosting the immune systems of workers who handled it.
Despite being technically ‘grandfathered in’ as a dietary ingredient safe for use in supplements under the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act, the company submitted EpiCor to the new dietary ingredient (NDI) process, and received the green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. EpiCor received self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in May 2006.
Clinical studies on EpiCor link it to a range of immune-related benefits, including a reduction in cold- and flu-like symptoms in non-vaccinated individuals (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 16, pp. 213-218), a reduction in the incidence and duration of cold and flu symptoms in subjects who had been vaccinated (Urologic Nursing, Vol. 28, pp. 50-55), and an improvement in allergy symptoms like runny nose (Advances in Therapy, Vol. 26, pp. 795-804).
This is not the first time that the potential benefits of the yeast fermentate have been studied using the simulator of the intestinal microbial ecology (SHIME) model at Ghent University in Belgium. Findings published recently in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry indicated that EpiCor was associated with increased the levels of butyrate, a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) that has been shown to be beneficial for gut immune health.
The new study, published in BMC Microbiology , is said to add a new dimension to the gut health indications for EpiCor due to the addition of the HMI (Host-Microbiota Interaction) module to the SHIME model. The HMI module mixes microbial populations from the SHIME flow over a layer of living cells that mimic the surface layer of the human gut, and evaluates if there is selectively adherence to the living cells under conditions that mimic those found in the human gut.
Results showed that EpiCor again was associated with an increase in the total level of SCFAs, while also showing that the ingredient influenced which bacterial species adhered to the cell layer mimicking the gut wall. Specifically, EpiCor increased the adherence of lactobacilli relative to the control, demonstrating that EpiCor changed both the total bacterial composition and which species actually adhere to the cell layer, said the researchers.
The Ghent-based scientists also found that the ingredient “resulted in an anti-inflammatory response as evidenced by significantly lower IL-8 production after 48 hours, as compared to the control”..
Paul Faganel, Embria president, welcomed the study’s findings and the potential business implications for EpiCor and the overall category of immune dietary supplements. “This latest research provides yet another step towards demonstrating how EpiCor may provide prebiotic-like effects for supporting a healthy, strong immune system,” he said.
Source: BMC Microbiology
“The HMI module: a new tool to study the Host-Microbiota Interaction in the human gastrointestinal tract in vitro”
Authors: M. Marzorati, B. Vanhoecke, T. De Ryck, M. Sadaghian Sadabad, I. Pinheiro, et al.