Valensa International announced that it will market and formulate a proprietary, new form of beta glucan for the human health market. Called IMMUNUM™ PRO, the new ingredient is a harvested Euglena algae that delivers >65% 1,3 beta glucan by weight—the highest level of beta glucan provided from any natural source without additional processing. As a result, IMMUNUM PRO is “whole food” ingredient for immune support. Production of IMMUNUM PRO will be performed by Algaeon Inc. (Indianapolis) exclusively for Valensa. Valensa will formulate IMMUNUM PRO as an immune support component in a range of human health formulations that will also include other proprietary ingredients, targeting condition specific applications and general well-being. As part of market support for this new ingredient, Valensa will create marketing materials, formulation guidelines and carry out a series of human clinical studies to demonstrate efficacy.
According to Dr. Rudi E. Moerck, president and CEO of Valensa, the efficacy and product form of IMMUNUM PRO is what drew the company to market and formulate with this milestone immune support product. “Immune support is obviously an extremely important human need,” he said. “However, many of the ingredients that are currently being marketed have drawbacks—they are heavily processed and mostly less effective than pure 1,3 beta glucan. IMMUNUM PRO addresses these issues to deliver what people are looking for in immune support, namely minimal processing and high potency.”
“We selected Euglena algae-derived 1,3 beta glucan because its form is believed to be the most effective at boosting immune support,” Moerck continued. “This means lower doses required, and less space required in formulations containing additional immune boosting ingredients. Because we’re achieving such a high level of beta glucan by weight directly in the growing algae, we’re able to provide it as a whole food ingredient—meaning the minimization of extraction and purification. IMMUNUM PRO compliments Valensa’s core belief of lower, concentrated doses in easy-to-swallow, one per day capsules.”
More efficient beta glucan made by a better process
Beta glucan is one of nature’s most documented immunomodulators supporting both innate and adaptive immunity. Importantly, it has been shown that beta glucans efficiently enter the circulatory system and activate immune cells throughout the body. Mixed beta glucans are mostly derived from natural sources such as yeast, fungi and bacteria, and cereal grains like oat and barley. There are, however, significant structural variations in the beta glucan family of compounds from these different sources, which influences their physiological functioning and potency. The 1,3 beta glucan in IMMUNUM Pro consists exclusively of a linear, unbranched chain of glucose units - the form that is believed to be the most effective immune modulator of this class of beta glucans. Fungal-, yeast- and grain-based beta glucans contain less effective 1,3/1,4 and 1,3/1,6 beta glucan mixtures. IMMUNUM PRO has a beta glucan structural configuration known as paramylon, derived from Euglena gracilis. The linearity of the paramylon 1,3 beta glucan molecule and its higher molecular weight contribute to its heightened ability to stimulate the immune system. Valensa plans to conduct a series of clinical studies with IMMUNUM PRO.
IMMUNUM PRO harvesting is conducted via a proprietary closed-reactor technology for growing Euglena algae with a high 1,3 beta content, without the need for intense chemical or physical techniques for purification. This process offers safety, product quality and cost advantages. The commercially available product is >65% 1,3 beta glucan by weight, with the remainder being small amounts of 58 naturally occurring minerals, vitamins and amino acids. In essence, this ingredient is ‘naturally cultivated’ rather than ‘manufactured’.
IMMUNUM Pro, as a natural ingredient, responds to a number of consumer trends in the market. In addition to being a ‘whole food’ ingredient, it is non-GMO, gluten free and non-allergenic. It is a sustainably produced, renewable resource that lends itself to numerous green food, beverage, grain and vegetarian applications. With its natural high concentration of 1,3 beta glucan, and low dosing requirements, IMMUNUM PRO has commercial and formulation advantages compared to other beta glucan products. Valensa is formulating IMMUNUN Pro into green superfoods and vegetable protein powders to add the functionality of immune support.