EpiCor fermentate may improve gut health, function: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStockPhoto / Ben-Schonewille
Image: iStockPhoto / Ben-Schonewille

Related tags Immune system Epicor

EpiCor, the yeast fermentate from Embria, may reduce the detrimental effects associated with leaky gut, as well as the biochemical changes resulting from that damage, says a new study with lab rats.

Heat stress occurs when the body is unable to cool itself by sweating and can lead to significant morphological changes in the gut of an animal or human. One of these changes is that the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract is affected and results in a situation called leaky gut. Leaky gut is as it sounds: An undesirable situation when toxic bacterial components can pass from the gut lumen into the blood.

Because EpiCor has been reported to have both immune and potential prebiotic effects, scientists from Auburn University and Embria Health Sciences explored the potential of the yeast fermentate to enhance gut integrity and reduce the detrimental effects of heat stress.

Data published in the Journal of Thermal Biology​ indicated that the yeast fermentate not only significantly reduced the likelihood of damage to gut lining caused by heat stress, but also showed gut health benefits without heat stress.

“This study is the first report about the efficacy of EpiCor in the prevention of heat stress-related complications,”​ said Dr Iryna Sorokulova, a professor of at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and lead researcher on the new paper. “Future directions of this study will help to understand the feasibility of proposed approaches not only in environmental heat stress but also in heat stress related to physical activity.”

Study details

History of EpiCor

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.

The researchers used lab rats and split them into two equal groups: EpiCor fed and control. On the last day of the trial, half of each group were heat stressed at 45°C (113°F) for 25 minutes.

Results showed that EpiCor may maintain gut health by helping to reduce the likelihood of intestinal barrier damage associated with leaky gut as well as the biochemical changes resulting from that damage.

Additional biochemical observations in rats fed with EpiCor included a reduction of serum lipopolysaccharides endotoxins, reduced eryptosis (death of red blood cells), and a decrease in white blood cell count as compared to the control rats.

Commenting on the study’s findings,  Larry Robinson, VP of Scientific Affairs at Embria Health Sciences and co-author on the paper, said: “We know from past published human clinical trials that EpiCor has proven beneficial effects on immune system function by helping it to respond appropriately to challenges. Our newest research on gut health is showing more and more that EpiCor not only strengthens the immune system, but positively affects gut function as well.

“We will continue to do research on how EpiCor works in the gut and how that science complements EpiCor’s shown immune benefits.”

Source: Journal of Thermal Biology
Volume 60, Pages 26-32, doi:
“Mitigation of heat stress-related complications by a yeast fermentate product”
Authors: H.A. Giblot Ducray et al.

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