Fermented foods – fermented whole foods – are a blossoming topic of health and benefits to the immune system.
The root of a healthy diet is the use of whole foods. The processing of foods remove a majority of beneficial and nutritious plant materials, reducing health benefits. However, diets rich in unprocessed or whole foods allow our bodies to use the whole part of the plant.
When whole foods are fermented, benefits increase. The ancient fermentation has been known to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria that can improve overall health and immunity when consumed.
There are specific ingredients in the health industry that combine these principles – whole foods, fermentation, plus metabolites – to provide maximum benefit.
EpiCor – a whole food fermentate – is a great example.
What is EpiCor?
EpiCor is an unprocessed whole food fermentate that can provide many health benefits, particularly to the immune system.
EpiCor is a postbiotic ingredient made up of proteins, fibers, vitamins, beta glucans among other nutrients and is produced through the fermentation process (1).
Fermentation is an ancient technique – traditionally used to preserve food – but has recently been recognized for its potential in health. The process is natural, introducing microorganisms like yeast and bacteria that can convert carbs (i.e. starches and sugars) into alcohol or acids (2). They also promote the development of beneficial metabolites and good bacteria called probiotics.
EpiCor specifically – is made by a certain type of baker’s yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These microorganisms are then deprived of oxygen, allowing them to ferment carbs and produce unique strengthening metabolites. After fermentation occurs, the fermentate is then dried to make the yeast no longer active and captures the beneficial metabolites before being milled to a fine powder to be consumed. The resulting whole food yeast fermentate helps modulate the gut microbiome and support the immune system for overall better health (1).
Additionally, research for EpiCor has shown the product has been able to ease upper respiratory problems and pollen related issues.
What are Postbiotics and Fermentate?
Now that we know what EpiCor essentially is and what it does, lets look a bit deeper at it’s two main beneficial components – fermentate and postbiotics.
Postbiotics are distinct from probiotics and prebiotics. They are metabolites created by probiotic bacteria and are present in any food which has been fermented by live bacteria. (3).
These metabolites have many health-regulating functions in the body. Some of their more well-known functions include the regulation of digestion, absorption of nutrients, detoxification, regulation of the immune system, gut-brain communication, and much more (3).
Fermentate is a postbiotic ingredient made through the natural fermentation process. It is comprised of beneficial proteins, fibers, polyphenols, vitamins, amino acids, beta glucans and metabolites that have been shown to support the gut and immune system (1).
EpiCor is considered a ‘whole food fermentate’ because it is minimally processed and refined, producing a whole product (1).
Metabolites in EpiCor
The specific postbiotic metabolites in EpiCor produced by yeast fermentation are what provide its main benefits. Primarily to the immune system, but also the digestive system.
Some of the most important compounds include (1):
- Proteins, peptides (short chain amino acids), and nucleotides– Are essential building blocks of the immune and digestive systems. They also comprise essential immunomodulators that for autoimmune responses (4).
- Antioxidants – Can be nutrients, vitamins, minerals, natural chemicals, but all are compounds that fight against damage caused by free radicals. This function protects the body’s natural systems for defense.
- Polyphenols – Are micronutrients naturally found in plant-based food sources. They have been shown to enhance the body’s immunomodulatory processes and also boost intestinal immune function (5).
- Beta glucans and Mannans – Are polysaccharides (sugars) found naturally in the cell walls of bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms. They have been shown to boost the immune system, increase satiety, and may benefit blood sugar levels (6).
4 Benefits of EpiCor
Because of the postbiotic metabolites produced by the process of fermentation, EpiCor provides many benefits to the body.
Specifically – improving digestive health, strengthens the immune system, and may aid in possible weight and mental health benefits.
- Boosts the Immune System
A primary benefit of EpiCor is its significant impact on your immune system. Due to the benefit to the gut microbiotia , fermented foods can give your immune system a boost and may aid with season challenges (2).
- Improves Digestive Health
The postbiotic products of bacteria created during the fermentation process can help restore and strengthen friendly bacteria in your gut and may alleviate some digestive problems and discomforts (2).
- Possible Weight Management
Having a healthy gut with active and nourished bacteria also has the ability to benefit your weight management efforts and preventing bloat (2). Certain stands of probiotics have also been known to promote weight loss and decreased belly fat.
- May Help Your Mental Health
The postbiotics and probiotics of fermented products like EpiCor has been observed to have the potential of improving mental health (2). Specifically, aiding during times of stress and life mood.
Could a Whole Food Fermentate Like EpiCor Benefit You?
Though the root of a healthy diet is the use of whole foods, the frequency of processed in your diets reduces the amount of nutrition we can reap from the foods we eat.
EpiCor is an ingredient that provides the benefit of being both a result of whole food and the recently recognized process of fermentation for health.
This whole food fermentate allows you to add nutritious metabolites – proteins, antioxidants, beta glucans, etc – back into your diet that you just aren’t receiving from a diet heavy in processed food. These postbiotic products of fermentation have been show to provide many health benefits including improving digestive health, strengthens the immune system, and may aid in possible weight and mental health benefits.
Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD