EpiCor Supplement Review

June 12, 2014 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

One of the ongoing controversies in the field of integrative medicine is the role of patented nutraceuticals. Conventional minerals and vitamins are sold by many different companies. Often times, there are distinctions in the dosages and forms of the nutrients, but apart from that, they are consistent from brand to brand. However, certain manufacturers develop products that are conceived and tested independently. They’re subsequently patented in order to protect the proprietary end result. The beneficial aspect of this process is that many of these nutraceuticals have been subjected to controlled studies that assess their efficacy and safety. The downside of patented supplements is the price tag, which is almost always significantly costlier than generic counterparts.

EpiCor, a fermented baker’s yeast extract, is an exceptional product and an exception to the above stated rule. Ideally, what I look for in a supplement is a solid track record with respect to results and toxicity. I also prefer to understand the mechanisms by which it affects the body. Mysteries are best left for fiction! What’s more, if long term use is recommended, I think it’s important to consider whether the ingredient has some sort of traditional use in the food supply. For instance, I’m much more comfortable recommending and using extracts of blueberries, cranberries or tomatoes than more exotic and/or rare foods and herbs including agave nectar, Garcinia cambogia or hemp protein concentrate.

According to several, peer reviewed publications, EpiCor is a fast acting antioxidant and prebiotic that supports the immune system in multiple ways. For starters, prebiotics enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut where approximately 70% of our immune cells reside. Likewise, EpiCor exerts a positive influence on early and late stages of the immune response ranging from an increase in immunoglobulin A to natural killer cell activation. These clinically documented mechanisms result in a marked reduction in the risk of infections, including the common cold and influenza. In addition, this particular yeast extract has been shown to decrease various symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. This is a distinct bonus for travelers who are exposed to both allergens and infectious microorganisms while away from home. Lastly, emerging research in animal and in vitro models indicate that EpiCor reduces systemic inflammation and may protect against damage caused by chronic autoimmune and/or degenerative diseases like arthritis.

The recommended daily dosage of EpiCor is 500 mg. This is usually administered in the form of one, rather large capsule. The product I use and typically recommend contains 500 mg of this fermented extract along with 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D3. It is manufactured by Source Naturals and is pictured above. The cost is quite reasonable, about $.20 daily, if purchased online. Because of the fat soluble nature of Vitamin D3, it’s best taken with a meal or snack which contains a fair amount of healthy fat. To the best of my knowledge, higher dosages of EpiCor are not currently indicated. Finally, it’s important to note that unlike Echinacea and other immune stimulating supplements, EpiCor can be used year round much like a multivitamin.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Antioxidant Bioavailability & Rapid Immune-Modulating Effects (link)

Study 2 - Immunogenic Yeast-Based Fermentate for Cold/Flu-Like Symptoms (link)

Study 3 – Immunogenic Yeast-Based Fermentation Product Reduces Allergic (link)

Study 4 - Effects of a Modified Yeast Supplement on Cold/Flu Symptoms (link)

Study 5 – Lessons Learned from the 2007-2008 Cold and Flu Season: What (link)

Study 6 - Brewer’s/Baker’s Yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) and Preventive (link)

Study 7 - A Dried Yeast Fermentate Selectively Modulates Both the Luminal and (link)

Study 8 – A Dried Yeast Fermentate Prevents and Reduces Inflammation in Two (link)

Study 9 - Safety Evaluation of a Proprietary Food-Grade, Dried Fermentate (link)

Study 10 - EpiCor: Immune Armor, Antioxidant Power and Gut Health (link)

EpiCor Reduces Inflammation, Arthritis Progression in an Animal Model

Source: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:973041. (link)


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10 Comments & Updates to “EpiCor Supplement Review”

  1. Paul F. Says:

    Hi John Paul,

    It looks you have found the answer to the prayers of a tourist about to embark on extensive air travel with the unavoidable risks of exposure for hours breathing air shared with potentially sick people.

    I will certainly protect me and my family with this affordable panacea before and during my future travel. Thank you for sharing your research!

    Paul

  2. JP Says:

    Hi Paul,

    This, of course, isn’t the only answer. I wish it was! But, I think it’s a powerful and practical resource for many of us. I want to point out that EpiCor could be invaluable for people who aren’t traveling as well. Anyone who frequently experiences common infections (colds and flu) would likely benefit from the daily use of this supplement – especially those who are at higher risk i.e. nannies, parents with young kids, teachers, etc.

    If you only plan to use it around your travel plans, I suggest starting use a few days prior to the trip, continuing during the travel days and for at least two days post-travel.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. Paul F. Says:

    Hi JP,
    Thank you for your response!

    I wonder if someone that may require to be admitted to a hospital for a procedure would be a good candidate to boost his/her immune system to withstand the potential infections that may be acquired in a hospital stay.

    Please enlighten me with your judgment on what choices are available for such situation.

    Regards,
    Paul

  4. JP Says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m unaware of any completed or planned specific research on this topic. However, I’d be very interested in seeing such a trial conducted. Personally, I would seriously consider using EpiCor if I required a (planned) hospital stay – if I didn’t already use it on a daily basis! Having said that, I strongly advise discussing all supplement use with your treating physician(s) … especially prior to serious medical care. This will minimize the risk of predictable and/or theoretical interactions.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    Hi JP, on your advice I tried EpiCor and I really believe I feel more energy. I’m 75 and have been able to do heavy work in clearing fence-row and trimming trees in 95°+ summer heat Can never be 100% sure of which supplement is working because I also recently started on MitoQ and LongVida.

    Iggy

  6. JP Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Iggy. Happy to hear it!

    In all fairness, I’d put my money on MitoQ and possibly LongVida. As you undoubtedly know, they both possess various “anti-aging” properties. Having said that, I’d love to hear from anyone else who has started taking EpiCor to see if they’ve experienced any change in their endurance and vitality. My folks are taking it, but on an “as needed” basis – during high risk periods (stressful times, travel, etc.). My wife and I been using it for the past few months. However, we’ve been traveling abroad a lot and generally keeping an unpredictable schedule. So, it’s near impossible for us to know if EpiCor has affected our energy levels. No colds or flus though! :-)

    Be well!

    JP

  7. teresa Says:

    Hello, I wanted to take these but i take a multi vitamin and probiotic daily. Can i incorporate the epicor too? Is there any interactions with that?

  8. JP Says:

    Hi Teresa,

    I’m not aware of any negative interaction. EpiCor possesses prebiotic activity which, in theory, should work in a complementary manner with probiotics. The product I recommend in the column also contains 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D3. IMO, extra Vitamin D is often health-promoting and frequently advisable – even for those who already get some D in their multivitamin. Personally, I taken EpiCor with my morning meal along with my multi.

    Be well!

    JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 07/29/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350453/

    J Med Food. 2015 Mar;18(3):378-84.

    Anti-inflammatory properties of a dried fermentate in vitro and in vivo.

    The aim of this study was to document anti-inflammatory properties of a dried fermentate derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (EpiCor(®)), hereafter referred to as dried fermentate in vitro using cell-based bioassays, and in vivo using a skin irritation model in healthy humans. In vitro testing involved parallel assessment of primary human polymorphonuclear (PMN) cell formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and migration toward the inflammatory mediator Leukotriene B4. In vivo evaluation used a single-blind placebo-controlled design, where dermal histamine-induced inflammation was used as a model for the complex intercellular signals involved in the initiation, escalation, and resolution of the inflammatory response. Microvascular blood perfusion was evaluated using noninvasive laser Doppler probes applied to the inner forearms of 12 healthy human subjects, where parallel sites were treated with either dried fermentate or saline (placebo). Subjective scores of dermal irritation were also collected. Treatment of PMN cells in vitro resulted in reduced ROS formation and migratory activity toward Leukotriene B4. Clinical results demonstrated significantly reduced microvascular inflammatory responses to histamine-induced skin inflammation, and significantly reduced subjective scores of irritation at the inflamed sites treated with dried fermentate compared with the sites treated with placebo (P<.05). Treatment of inflammatory cells in vitro with dried fermentate resulted in reduced inflammatory responses. This was confirmed in vivo, suggesting that the dried fermentate facilitates the resolution of inflammatory responses. The effects using a topical skin model suggest that similar events may happen when the dried fermentate is introduced across mucosal membranes after consumption.

    Be well!

    JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 09/08/17:

    https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-017-1948-0

    BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Sep 4;17(1):441.

    A yeast fermentate improves gastrointestinal discomfort and constipation by modulation of the gut microbiome: results from a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial.

    BACKGROUND: Constipation and symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating are common among otherwise healthy individuals, but with significant impact on quality of life. Despite the recognized contribution of the gut microbiome to this pathology, little is known about which group(s) of microorganism(s) are playing a role. A previous study performed in vitro suggests that EpiCor® fermentate has prebiotic-like properties, being able to favorably modulate the composition of the gut microbiome. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of EpiCor fermentate in a population with symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and reduced bowel movements and to evaluate its effect at the level of the gut microbiome.

    METHODS: This pilot study was performed according to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel design. Eighty subjects with symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and constipation were allocated to one of two trial arms (placebo or EpiCor fermentate). Randomization was done in a stratified manner according to symptom severity, resulting in two subgroups of patients: severe and moderate. Daily records of gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed on a 5-point scale, and also stool frequency and consistency were documented during a 2-week run-in and a 6-week intervention phases. Averages over two-week intervals were calculated. Constipation-associated quality of life and general perceived stress were assessed at baseline and after 3 and 6 weeks of intervention. Fecal samples were also collected at these same time points.

    RESULTS: EpiCor fermentate led to a significant improvement of symptoms such as bloating/distension (p = 0.033 and p = 0.024 after 2 and 4 weeks of intervention, respectively), feeling of fullness (p = 0.004 and p = 0.023 after 2 and 4 weeks of intervention, respectively) and general daily scores (p = 0.046 after 2 weeks of intervention) in the moderate subgroup. A significant improvement in stool consistency was observed for the total population (p = 0.023 after 2 weeks of intervention) as well as for the severe subgroup (p = 0.046 after 2 weeks of intervention), and a nearly significant increase in stool frequency was detected for the total cohort (p = 0.083 and p = 0.090 after 2 and 4 weeks of intervention, respectively). These effects were accompanied by an improvement in constipation-associated quality of life and general perceived stress, particularly in the moderate subgroup. Members of the families Bacteroidaceae and Prevotellaceae, two groups of bacteria that have been previously reported to be deficient in constipated patients, were found to increase with EpiCor fermentate in the severe subgroup. In the moderate subgroup, a significant increase in Akkermansia muciniphila was observed.

    CONCLUSIONS: Despite the relatively low dose administered (500 mg/day), particularly when comparing to the high recommended doses for prebiotic fibers, EpiCor fermentate was able to modulate the composition of the gut microbiome, resulting in improvement of constipation-associated symptoms. Conversely, the reported increase in bowel movements may have altered the gut microbial community by increasing those groups of bacteria that are better adapted to a faster gastrointestinal transit time.

    Be well!

    JP

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