A newly published preclinical study demonstrated that Wellmune, a proprietary baker’s yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan (Kerry Group; Tralee, Ireland), may protect intestinal barrier function even in adults faced with stress, while also adding to our understanding of how the ingredient works with the body and its immune system.
As beta-glucan administration has shown immune-enhancing effects in previous studies, the current trial1 investigated whether the ingredient could attenuate mast cell (MC)-induced hyperpermeability in the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) and villus epithelium (VE) of human donors with Crohn’s disease (CD), and from non-inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-controls.
Among the preliminary data is the novel finding that Wellmune protects the intestine’s barrier function by blocking mast cell activation—a result that could lead to a better future grasp of its effect on other digestive health issues related to dysfunctions of the intestinal barrier.
“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,” explained Donald Cox, PhD, Kerry’s director of R&D for Wellmune, in a press statement. “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.”
The study also shed light on the ingredient’s mechanism of action (MOA) by identifying which immune cells interact with Wellmune in the digestive tract immediately following ingestion. Apparently, microscopy experiments located the beta-glucan very close to macrophages and dendritic cells in the Peyer’s patches of the small intestine, while the ingredient also appeared to be taken up through the villi that are abundant in both the large and small intestines. In total, the findings suggest that the ingredient may be absorbed not only in Peyer’s patches but throughout the intestine’s length, too.
“Seeing how Wellmune interacts with the immune system, including its absorption by both the Peyer’s patches and the villi, builds upon our understanding of Wellmune’s MOA and helps support our findings that the natural ingredient can help improve our immune system function throughout our life and lifestyle needs,” said Cox.
- Ganda Mall JP et al., “A B-glucan-based dietary fiber reduces mast cell-induced hyperpermeability in ileum From patients With Crohn’s disease and control subjects,” Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, vol. 24, no. 1 (December 9, 2017): 166–178