Seasonal interest in bolstering immunity has been heightened this year as coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the world. While experts warn that some may take advantage of consumers by peddling “miracle cures,” some members of the industry have highlighted how a strong immune system is one element of fighting viruses. Kerry notes that clinical research has demonstrated its yeast beta-glucan Wellmune may help support upper respiratory tract infections.
Despite a deluge of false information about ways to ward off COVID-19, nutrition and supplements surely can play a role in keeping the body healthy and more prepared to deal with illness in general, states Jeff Crowther, Executive Director of Health Products Association-China, a US non-profit association dedicated to the overall natural health products industry.
One example of this is Kerry’s Wellmune, which the company says can support the immune system of people, including children, athletes, older adults and those with lifestyle stress. Wellmune notes that a healthy immune system is the best defense against illness, although there is no specific research demonstrating the effectiveness of Wellmune against illnesses like COVID-19.
“With immune health’s popularity growing, we’re seeing a great deal of interest in Wellmune, our proprietary baker’s yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan. Beta-glucans can be found naturally in many foods, including baker’s yeast, shiitake mushrooms and cereal grains, but not all beta-glucan sources provide immune health benefits. Wellmune does, and is backed by a wealth of scientific evidence proving its benefits for everyday immune support and upper respiratory health. It’s the only yeast beta-glucan ingredient supported by more than a dozen published, peer-reviewed clinical studies,” John Quilter, VP and General Manager for Kerry, tells NutritionInsight.
Don Cox, Director of R&D at Wellmune explains the Wellmune is taken up into the body through specialized immune tissue in the intestines. There, immune cells engulf it and break it down into smaller fragments which bind to neutrophils, the most abundant immune cells in the body. Primed by Wellmune, neutrophils move more quickly to recognize and kill foreign challenges.
Consumer research from Kerry also indicates that immune health is the most sought-after health benefit for consumers across the world. “This is driven partly by growing interest in functional ingredients generally, and the fact that consumers are increasingly proactive when it comes to their health. And of course, the current levels of concern about COVID-19 will only increase interest,” notes Cox.
The company does note that traditional methods of maintaining immune health are still important, such as washing hands frequently, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet. Cox states that misinformation is always a concern, and that people should consult with their physician before taking any nutritional supplement.
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Wellmune® – the branded, proven solution
For companies seeking to create immune health supplements for these consumer groups, and others, one solution is Wellmune® , a yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan extracted from the cell wall of a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cervisiae).
Wellmune® is a premium immune health ingredient that offers numerous benefits backed by published clinical research. From a technical perspective, it is highly stable and suitable for use in a wide range of dietary supplement products. It is a dry, powdered ingredient available in dispersible and soluble formats, with a five-year shelf life. It will withstand most processing conditions with no impact on its efficacy.
Wellmune® is also supported by an extensive body of research – the vast majority being studies published in peer-reviewed science journals. This research supports Wellmune’s ability to support overall immune function, maintain physical health, protect against the effects of stress and promote healthy energy levels and mental clarity.
More than a dozen clinical studies have confirmed Wellmune’s immune health benefits in a range of different consumer groups, including athletes, children, older adults and individuals with stressful lifestyles. These studies cover safety, mechanism-of-action and human clinical studies, demonstrating biomarker and physical health outcomes. Conducting research in this way means that supplement companies using Wellmune® can easily focus on communicating the benefits these studies validate which will appeal to certain consumer groups, thereby aligning with the trend for personalization.
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