There are a couple of standout branded ingredients in the immune support space, with Wellmune from Biothera first up. It is a beta-glucan based ingredient derived from the cell walls of a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that ‘primes’ the innate immune system - the body’s first line of defense against invasion by bacteria and viruses.
Data indicates that fragments of Wellmune digested and released by macrophages bind to the CR3 receptor sites on neutrophils, priming these cells for disease-fighting activity without over-boosting the immune system.
The ingredient can withstand wide pH ranges, high temperatures and harsh processing conditions, claims Biothera.
To produce it, Biothera removes the mannans, proteins and lipids from a proprietary strain of yeast to produce a highly purified beta 1,3/1,6 glucan (which should be distinguished from cholesterol-busting oat beta glucan, which has a different molecular structure: 1,3/1,4).
Unlike many probiotics, which have typically been used in short shelf-life refrigerated products, Wellmune has a five-year shelf life in powder form under ambient storage conditions and a mild taste.
Clinical data to support its safety and efficacy include trials in people performing intense exercise (McFarlin et al. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 2013, Vol. 10, pp. 171–183 and Carpenter et al. British Journal of Nutrition, 2013, Vol. 109, pp 478-486), and marathon runners (McFarlin et al. Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, Vol. 44, Supplement S181, 1376 Board #157).
Above, Don Cox, PhD, senior vice president of research and development for Biothera, in the lab (photo credit: Wellmune).