Dispatches from SupplySide West

Where immune health meets sports nutrition

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Common cold

The link between immune health and physical performance is well known, but sports nutrition products that include immune boosting ingredients are few and far between, and this presents a huge opportunity, says Embria’s Larry Robinson.

At the recent SupplySide West show in Las Vegas Stephen Daniells spoke with Larry Robinson, PhD, VP, scientific affairs for Embria, who explained that most athletes today realize that they are so dependent on their immune system for performance.

“Most sports supplements don’t really include anything that I am aware of, that is actually going to help your immune and when you’re training hard you are going to be more susceptible to colds and flus and infections,”​ said Robinson.

And this offers incredible opportunity for immune ingredient suppliers. “I think it’s a really big opportunity because I think that athletes, especially well-trained athletes, are very aware of their body, it’s fine-tuned, and if anything happens that hampers their performance even slightly, that can mean the difference between winning or performing well,”​ he added.


EpiCor and Embria were born out of suspicions 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.

Immune balance, not modulation

The ingredient has been linked 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).

Related topics Suppliers Energy Immune support

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