Validating ResistAid’s prebiotic effects: New study supports arabinogalactan’s microbiome benefits

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© JONGHO SHIN / Getty Images
© JONGHO SHIN / Getty Images

Related tags: immune support, microbiome, Prebiotics, microbiota, arabinogalactan

The immune support benefits of Lonza’s arabinogalactan ingredient ResistAid may be linked to its ability to modulate the gut microbiome as a prebiotic, says a new study.

Data published in Nutrition​ indicated that 15 grams per day of ResistAid for six weeks was not only safe and well-tolerated but also modulated the microbiota, leading to changes in the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) profile.

Aouatef Bellamine, PhD, Sr Science Manager – Nutrition for Lonza and the corresponding author for the paper, told NutraIngredients-USA that the study also showed that the ingredient “can impact the microbiota diversity, linked also to health benefits (gut, weight, cholesterol), and can lead to changes in some of the gut bacterial genes known to be part of some metabolic pathways, like, for example,tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and Vitamin B6 synthesis.

“Lastly and most importantly, the gut is an important part of the immune system and ResistAid has been shown to provide immune benefits in 3 previous human clinical trials. It is possible that the beneficial effects on the immune system are mediated by the modulation of the microbiota,”​ said Dr Bellamine.

Immune support

The immune benefits of ResistAid are supported by multiple studies. Indeed, a 2016 review of data from clinical trials looking at both infection and responses to vaccinations indicated that arabinogalactan from North American Larix​ species (Larix laricina​ and Larix occidentalis​) could benefit immune health in humans.

“Therefore, these results suggest a role for larch arabinogalactan in the improvement of immune system and defense against pathogens in humans,”​ wrote the authors in Nutrition & Metabolism​.

Larch trees © Drake Fleege Getty Images
ResistAid is derived from North American Larch trees. Image © Drake Fleege / Getty Images

Data from one human clinical study examining the incidence of cold episodes found that Lonza’s ResistAid product could reduce cold episodes by 23%, compared to placebo (Current Medical Research and Opinion​, 2013, Vol. 29, pp. 251-258).

Data from human studies using Streptococcus pneumoniae​ and tetanus vaccinations indicated that serum antigen-specific IgG and IgE responses improved, suggesting an immunostimulatory effect.

The new study indicates that the potential immune health benefits may be linked, at least in part, to a modulation of the gut microbiome.

“We saw that ResistAid arabinogalactan supplementation significantly affected factors responsible for microbiome diversity and promotion,” ​said Juliana Erickson, Senior Category Marketing Manager at Lonza. “This beneficial impact on the microbiome offers a mechanistic explanation for ResistAid arabinogalactan’s established immune-health benefits, and we’re proud of the rigorous study design as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study.”

Study details

Researchers from Biofortis Research (Merieux NutriSciences), the University of Wisconsin, and Lonza Consumer Health Inc. recruited 30 healthy adults to participate in their randomized, double-blind, cross-over trial. The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive 15 grams per day of the arabinogalactan supplement or a maltodextrin placebo for six weeks.

Result showed that ResistAid supplementation led to a significant decrease in the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes (F/B) in feces, which was driven by an increase in Bacteriodetes and a decrease in Firmicutes.

In addition, ResistAid supplementation tended to increase the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium.

Dr Bellamine and her co-workers did not find any statistically significant changes in bowel habit, stool consistency, gastrointestinal tolerance symptoms, chemistry profile, metabolic panel, and other vitals, supporting the safety and of the ingredient at a 15 gram daily dose for six weeks.

“These results demonstrate that the gut microbiome composition and predicted functions can be modulated by ResistAid consumption, suggesting perhaps a mechanistic explanation on its reported benefits in metabolic parameters and the immune system,”​ they concluded.

Prebiotic

Erickson added that the research showed that 15 grams of ResistAid arabinogalactan has prebiotic benefits.

“Preclinical research suggests that arabinogalactan may have prebiotic effects, and now Lonza has validated that preclinical work with this new ResistAid published study.”

A prebiotic is defined as, “A substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”. (Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology​, 14​, 491–502 (2017), doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2017.75​)

Source: Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2021.111273
“The Effect of Arabinogalactan on the Gut Microbiome: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial in Healthy Adults”
Authors: O. Chen et al.

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