Beta-glucan supplement shows promise for intestinal barrier function improvements in stressed adults

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20 Feb 2018 --- Immune health ingredient Wellmune may protect intestinal barrier function in adults when faced with stress, a pre-clinical study with human donors has demonstrated. The study also provided new insights on how the proprietary yeast beta glucan, manufactured by Kerry Group, works within the human body and the immune system.

Chronic and acute stress can result in mast cell activation, which can weaken intestinal barrier function, which plays a key role in maintaining one’s health. The study measured Wellmune’s impact on activated mast cells in intestinal tissue from humans to identify positive effects on stress-induced decreases in intestinal barrier function. 

Preliminary data has revealed that Wellmune may protect intestinal barrier function by blocking mast cell activation. These results may have implications for the understanding of the ingredient’s impact on digestive health issues related to intestinal barrier dysfunctions.

“The body’s intestinal barrier function allows for the absorption of things like nutrients and water, while simultaneously maintaining an effective defense against toxins and pathogens that can be harmful to our health,” explains Donald Cox, Ph.D., Kerry’s Director of R&D for Wellmune. 

“While these are preliminary results and more research is needed, Wellmune may protect barrier function during stress, which adds another proof point to the ingredient’s well-researched ability to support our overall health,” Cox adds.

The study also looked at which immune cells interact with Wellmune in the digestive tract immediately after ingestion, increasing the understanding of Wellmune’s mechanism of action (MOA).
Microscopy experiments showed that Wellmune was found very close to macrophages and dendritic cells in the Peyer’s Patches. Wellmune was also shown to be taken up through the villi, structures which make up the majority of the large and small intestines. These new findings suggest that the ingredient may be absorbed not only in the Peyer’s Patches but throughout the length of the intestine.

“This new study has given us more insight about the identity of some of the cells that interact with Wellmune in the human gut and a greater understanding of the first steps in the mechanism of action for Wellmune,” continues Cox. 

The study, titled “A β-Glucan-Based Dietary Fiber Reduces Mast Cell-Induced Hyperpermeability in Ileum From Patients With Crohn’s Disease and Control Subjects” was conducted by researchers at the University of Örebro in Sweden and published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.