Women with moderate to high stress levels experience fewer cold and flu symptoms while taking Wellmune WGP, according to new research presented at the Oct. 7 annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition.
Wellmune WGP, a natural ingredient derived from a proprietary strain of yeast, directs neutrophils to more quickly find and kill foreign challengers.
“We call it priming. We change how immunology is communicated," said Richard Mueller, CEO of Minnesota-based Biothera, manufacturer of the GRAS ingredient. “It was assumed you couldn't harness or direct innate immunity. We can do that. WGP speeds up the action of the neutrophil and makes it kill pathogens quicker. There is a two- to three-day lifespan for each neutrophil. You want to keep priming those neutrophils.”
What makes the study particularly noteworthy is that it is the fifth double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to be released on the ingredient in the past 16 months, all of which showed strong immunity benefits in different population groups.
“We're committed to a an ongoing, multi-year clinical trial plan for Wellmune," Mueller said.
That investment plan seems well warranted by Biothera's results for the ingredient so far. “We've got novel food status in China, one of the few," Mueller said. Sales of Wellmune doubled last year, and Mueller expects them to at least double again this year. And the next product category in the company's sights for the ingredients is yogurt.
“We're excited about the growth in every food and beverage catetory," Mueller said. “(Wellmune is) in a line of Canadian chicken noodle soups. We have development project with soupl companies worldwide. We have found that reduces efficacy. Even in baked goods."
In the latest study, conducted by SupplementWatch, 77 healthy women were given either placebo or 250mg of Wellmune WGP daily for 12 weeks. Only 10 percent of the Wellmune group reported upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms compared with 29 percent for the control group.
The study used the Profile of Mood States (POMS) psychological survey to assess changes in mental/physical energy levels (Vigor) and overall well-being (Global Mood State). Vigor improved 41 percent in women taking Wellmune WGP compared with 7 percent in the control group. Similarly, the Global Mood State of women taking Wellmune improved 29 percent compared with 16 percent in the placebo group.
“These are important findings for the millions of ‘stressed' women around the world," said Shawn Talbott, PhD, research director at SupplementWatch and lead investigator on the study. “This study shows that while daily stressors can ‘wear down' immune system function, supplementing with Wellmune WGP can bolster those natural defenses and help stressed women feel and perform at their best."
In April 2010, a study was presented at the Experimental Biology 2010 conference, which showed that adults taking 250mg of Wellmune WGP daily for 12 weeks had a 58 percent reduction in URTI symptoms, compared to placebo. It was conducted by GLH Nutrition, an independent research and development organization, on 122 healthy volunteers.
In February 2010, a study published in Agro Food Industry High-Tech evaluated the impact of the ingredient on 150 people with moderate to highly stressful lifestyles. The subjects took 250mg once a day for four weeks, or a placebo.
After two weeks, 32 percent of the subjects in the placebo group reported URTI symptoms, compared with only 10 percent in the Wellmune WGP group. At four weeks, 28 percent of the placebo group reported URTI symptoms, compared with 8 percent in the Wellmune WGP group. The Wellmune WGP group reported a 41 percent increase in general health when compared with the placebo group over the four-week period.
Only two months earlier, in the December 2009 issue of Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, a study showed the benefits of the ingredient on 75 runners from the 2007 Carlsbad Marathon in California. During the four-week period following the marathon, subjects consumed either Wellmune WGP, or placebo.
At two weeks, 32 percent of subjects taking 250mg of Wellmune WGP daily reported URTI symptoms (sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, or cough) versus 68 percent in the placebo group. At four weeks, 8 percent in the Wellmune group had URTI symptoms versus 24 percent in placebo.
When asked how the supplement regimen was affecting their overall health, the Wellmune WGP group reported 38 percent higher scores compared with placebo.
Then, in August 2009, The Journal of Applied Research published results of a trial on 40 healthy subjects treated daily with either Wellmune WGP or placebo for 90 days. Any cold or flu symptoms that appeared were evaluated by medical staff within 24 hours of onset.
While there were no significant differences in the incidence of symptomatic respiratory infections, the duration and severity of symptoms were alleviated in subjects receiving Wellmune WGP.
The Wellmune WGP group reported no missed work or school due to colds, compared with 1.38 days of work/school missed for the placebo group; no incidence of fever, compared with 3.50 incidence in the placebo group; and an increase in quality of life, including physical energy and emotional well-being, as measured by a clinically validated health survey questionnaire.
The study was conducted by Miami Research Associates, Department of Nutrition and Endocrinology.
Applications for Wellmune WGP
Wellmune WGP has been awarded both the Institute of Food Technologist Innovation Award, as well as the Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Research Award.
Among its applications are Praeventia cookies from Groupe Biscuits Leclerc, a Canadian company that manufactures cookies, snack bars, crackers, and breakfast cereals, and exports to more than 20 countries. “It is easier to deliver a health benefit in something you wouldn't have to wrestle over with your kids," Mueller said.
Other applications include:
- OasisImmuniforce juices and smoothies from Lassonde, one of the largest refrigerated juice companies in Canada
- Nutrafizzeffervescent beverages available in stickpack or tablet form from Nutrafizz Corp, USA
- Healthyshot, an immune-enhancing powder mix for supplementing foods and beverages, from Diamond Crystal, a division of Hormel, USA
- Immiflex, a dietary supplement from Immitec UK Ltd
- GPS, a dietary supplement from Nippon Biothera, Japan