Embria Health Sciences, a leader in providing safe and science-based dietary supplement ingredients to the global marketplace, reports that its proprietary dried fermentate ingredient, EpiCor, was used to help validate a new sophisticated digestive system model in a scientific paper published in BMC Microbiology, 2014, “Marzorati, M., et al., The HMI™ module: a new tool to study the Host-Microbiota Interaction in the human gastrointestinal tract in vitro.”
The human body is colonized by trillions of microbes, collectively referred to as the human microbiota. The link between these microbes and human health, particularly as it relates to the regulation of the immune system, is an area of focus of a growing number of published research papers.
The Laboratory of Microbial Ecology, Ghent University, and ProDigest, also in Ghent, have a well-established model of the human digestive system consisting of a three-stage continuous culture system called SHIME® (Simulator of Human Intestinal Microbial Ecology). In this model a typical human digestive microbiota is established, and changes in that population by various treatments can be monitored. Previously, this model was used to demonstrate that EpiCor can modulate such an intestinal population.
Recently, the group has added an extra dimension to this model with the HMI™ (Host-Microbiota Interaction) module. In this module, mixed microbial populations from the SHIME flow over a layer of living cells that mimic the surface layer of the human gut. The bacteria passing over this layer can then selectively adhere to the living cells under conditions that mimic the shear forces and low oxygen levels present in the human gut.
To validate this model they used EpiCor as a test product, and demonstrated EpiCor-induced changes. The EpiCor caused an increase in the total level of SCFAs (short chain fatty acids), and influenced which bacterial species adhered to the cell layer mimicking the gut wall. Specifically, EpiCor increased the adherence of Lactobacilli relative to the control, demonstrating that EpiCor changed both the total bacterial composition and which species actually adhere to the cell layer. Finally, they clearly demonstrated that EpiCor “resulted in an anti-inflammatory response as evidenced by significantly lower IL-8 production after 48 h (p<0.05), as compared to the control,” according to the paper’s authors.
“Not only does this research provide additional validity for EpiCor’s ability to increase SCFA’s and healthy bacteria like Lactobacillus in the gut, it also suggests that EpiCor may have a beneficial role at the critical interface of the mucus and epithelial cell barrier where many inflammatory and auto-immune issues are thought to begin,” says Larry E. Robinson, vice president of scientific affairs at Embria.
Embria president Paul Faganel sees the business implications of this research for EpiCor and for the overall category of immune dietary supplements. "Embria is committed to furthering the scientific substantiation for EpiCor in helping to maintain a strong immune system,” he states. “Our customers are excited about the emerging link between gut health and immune health,” Mr. Faganel continues. “This latest research provides yet another step toward demonstrating how EpiCor may provide prebiotic-like effects for supporting a healthy, strong immune system."