“Immune balance is the ‘neutral gear’ of immune health that allows the body to respond most appropriately to signals from the body to either boost or suppress immune function as needed.”
EpiCor® is a unique nutritional immunogen produced by the natural fermentation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast), in a proprietary process delivering a high-metabolite mixture which also includes essential vitamins and minerals, as well as amino acids and antioxidants.
What Does EpiCor Do?
More than a dozen scientific cell, animal, and human studies have demonstrated EpiCor’s ability to safely help maintain a healthy immune system for support of year-round good immune health.
• EpiCor is designed to help the body protect itself from bacterial, parasitic, fungal, and viral infections. For example, EpiCor increases salivary IgA (part of the first line of immune defense) and increases the activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, making them more efficient.
• EpiCor has also been shown to help suppress inappropriate immune responses, thereby balancing the immune system.
Health Benefits Discovered by Serendipity
The immune-supporting qualities of this fermentate were recognized in 2003, when the union representing workers in a plant processing a nutritional supplement for livestock requested that vacation and sick days be combined into paid time off - since workers weren’t usually using their sick days.
Additionally, health insurance premiums for that plant weren’t increasing (despite steep increases nationally), because of the uniquely small number of claims being filed.
The resulting special study confirmed the employees’ superior health status was linked to exposure to the fermentation product - later refined in a much more concentrated form for human use & named “EpiCor.”
Studies Produce Definitive Evidence
Blood and saliva samples were taken from manufacturing plant employees who had a minimum of 10 years’ exposure to the fermentation process. The samples were analyzed and compared with samples from a control group of age- and gender-matched employees who had not been regularly exposed to the fermentation product.
More than 50 immune parameters were analyzed. Among the many findings:
• The people in the manufacturing area showed immune activity significantly higher than that of the control group.
• The NK cell activity among the exposed group was strikingly higher than that among the unexposed group. The exposed workers demonstrated higher NK cell cytotoxicity – suggesting that their NK cells were more active than those from their unexposed coworkers.
• Much higher levels of secretory IgA were found in the saliva of the exposed group, indicating improved functioning of the mucosal immune system, the body’s first line of defense against pathogens.
More recent controlled clinical trials confirmed the implications - that EpiCor significantly reduced the incidence of cold and flu symptoms as well as the duration of symptoms.
Another trial measured a healthy increase in number and size of red blood cells in the EpiCor cohort, and increases in markers of mucosal immune protection - apparently while maintaining immune balance. (As the control group experienced an increased incidence of seasonal allergy symptoms, for example, there was no change for the EpiCor group.) See also a report on research at the University of Michigan, "Immunogenic Yeast-Based Fermentation Product Reduces Allergic Rhinitis-Induced Nasal Congestion: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial."
What Exactly is “Immune Balance”?
Immune balance is the “at rest” stage of immune function, the optimal state where the immune system can best react to signals from the body to either boost immune performance when needed, as in the case of bacterial or viral invaders, or to suppress an inappropriate reaction to substances that would naturally be harmless, like pollens.
How Does Immune Balance Differ from “Immune Boosters”?
Immune boosters are substances that stimulate the function of the immune system. However, in the case of some autoimmune disorders, allergies and inflammatory disease, the immune system is already overactive and may benefit from suppressing certain immune responses.
Immune balance is the ‘neutral gear’ of immune health that allows the body to respond most appropriately to the need to either boost or suppress immune function as needed.
How Does EpiCor Differ from Other Immune Support Products?
More than just an immune booster, the science surrounding EpiCor shows that EpiCor helps to maintain a balanced immune system…
• EpiCor is not a single chemical, as are many immune support products on the market, but rather a complex product composed of beneficial metabolites together with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants working together to support immune health. [See the sidebar below, “Compounds in EpiCor Thought to be Involved in Its Benefits.”]
• In addition, EpiCor has antioxidant properties that further support immune health by scavenging free radicals.
What Role Does the Immune System Play in Human Health?
The immune system is composed of many interdependent cell types, tissues, and signaling molecules that collectively protect the body from bacterial, parasitic, fungal and viral infections and from the growth of tumor cells. More than 100 health conditions have been linked to compromised immune function.
Could EpiCor Be Beneficial Year-Round?
Yes. EpiCor is not a drug to cure disease, but an ingredient included in dietary supplements intended for healthy people to support their immune systems.
• EpiCor appears to be particularly able to support the innate immune system, the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens.
• EpiCor has also been shown to positively affect allergic and inflammatory responses; hence, it is best taken year-round for maximum benefit.
What Is the Recommended Dosage for EpiCor?
While there is no Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for EpiCor, the current science supporting the product suggest a daily dosage of 500 mg. A single 500 mg capsule taken once daily is recommended for all adults.
Should the Dosage of EpiCor be Increased at the Onset of Illness?
At the moment, there are no data to support increasing the dose of EpiCor at the onset of illness. EpiCor is designed to support a healthy immune system so that the body can better defend itself against invading pathgens.
Epicor is a valuable ingredient in quality dietary supplements and is not intended to treat or cure illness.
Is EpiCor Safe?
EpiCor is a fermented product made through a proprietary process using the same microorganism used to make bread. Multiple toxicological studies have been performed to prove the safety of EpiCor. EpiCor has been defined by a panel of independent experts as GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe).
Can EpiCor Cause or Worsen a Yeast Infection?
There is no similarity between Saccharomyces cerevisiae, found abundantly in the food supply and in the air, and Candida albicans, an opportunistic yeast strain that proliferates in individuals with compromised immune systems.
Can I Take EpiCor If I Am Allergic (or Sensitive) to Yeast?
Although there are no live yeast cells in EpiCor, you should not take EpiCor if you sense, or if your doctor has indicated, that you should avoid other yeast-based products – such as bread, beer, or wine. If unsure, consult your physician before beginning any supplement program.
Can EpiCor be Taken with Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs?
EpiCor does not affect drug-metabolizing enzymes, which indicates that interaction is unlikely between EpiCor and over-the-counter and prescription drugs. However, consultation with a physician is recommended before beginning any supplement program.
Is EpiCor To Be Taken with Meals, or Between Meals?
Either way is suitable and should be left to the individual as to which is best tolerated.
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Compounds in EpiCor Thought to be Involved in Its Benefits
Early studies of EpiCor revealed that it contains a number of compounds known to enhance immunity. It is believed that the synergistic effects of these compounds, controlled by EpiCor’s proprietary process, contribute to its efficacy. They include:
1. Catechins – flavonid phytochemicals, also found in green tea, that have strong antioxidant properties. These compounds are considered important for maintaining cardiac health and may help to suppress tumor growth.
2. Trans-resveratrol – an antioxidant also found in grapes, is reported to have anti-carcinogenic effects and to protect against cardiovascular disease.
3. Several phospholipids that are components of cell membranes and support brain and central nervous system function:
4. Ergosterol - a phytosterol with antioxidant activity, is a Vitamin D2 precursor.
5. Zymosterol - a plant sterol that is an immediate precursor of ergosterol, a major yeast sterol; it scavenges free radicals.
6. Episterol - a precursor of ergosterol in yeast, scavenges free radicals.
7. Beta-glucans - immunomodulatory cell wall compounds that are also found in certain fungi (e.g. mushrooms). These compounds have immune enhancing activity.
8. Mannan oligosaccharides – which prevent colonization of certain pathogenic microorganisms by binding to them.
9. All essential vitamins and minerals, as well as trace elements and amino acids – in at least trace amounts.
10. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (which typically have a beneficial effect on health, by contrast with saturated or trans fats)
Antioxidant Properties of EpiCor
Fruits are known to be good sources of antioxidant activity, as measured by the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test. The ORAC test measures decreases in oxygen radical activity in the present of a potential antioxidant.
EpiCor has been shown through this test to have very high antioxidant activity, making it potent weapon against cell-damaging free radicals created from cellular metabolism and toxin exposure. These free radicals are linked with degenerative disease and aging.
1. “Effects of a modified yeast supplement on cold/flu symptoms,” Moyad MA, et al. Urol Nurs. 2008;28:50-55
2. “Lessons learned from the 2007-2008 cold and flu season: What worked and what was worthless,” Moyad MA, et al. Urol Nurs. 2008;28(2):146
3. “EpiCor High Metabolite Immunogens. Scientific Research Summary,” February, 2009. Available at www.embriahealth.com/pdfs/epicor_sciencebroF.pdf
4. “An anti-inflammatory immunogen from yeast culture induces activation and alters chemokine receptor expression on human Natural Killer cells and B lymphocytes in vitro,” Jensen GS, et al. Nutr Res. 2007;27(6):327-335.
5. “EpiCor Pronounced GRAS” (Generally Regarded As Safe), posted June 26, 2006. Available at www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/661news13.html
6. "Analyses of oxygen-radical absorbance capacity assay for antioxidants," Free Radic Biol Med. 1993;14(3):303-311
7. Analyses of compounds in Epicor (including catechins, phospholipids, betaglucans, mannan oligosaccharides, minerals, fatty acid profile) – performed at IBC Labs, Tucson, Arizona, and V-Labs, Inc., Covington, Louisiana.
8. “Oxygen-radical absorbance capacity assay for antioxidants,” Cao G, et al., Free Radic Biol Med. 1993;14(3):303-311
9. “Development and validation of an improved oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay using fluorescein as the fluorescent probe,” OuB, et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2001;49(10):4619-4626.
Source: This article is based on and includes excerpts (used with permission) from the book EpiCor®: The Key to a Balanced Immune System, by Drs. Larry Robinson and Vern S. Cherewatenko. (HealthPoint Press, 2009, © Dr. Larry Robinson).
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general information, based on the findings of multiple studies as well as the research and personal & professional experiences of Drs. Robinson & Cherewatenko. It is not intended as a substitute for consulting with a healthcare professional, nor is it intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.