Egg-cellent Support for Gut Health
Immunoglobulin Support for Gut Health
Everything we know today about gut health can be traced back to the scientific findings uncovered by the Human Microbiome Project (HMP). In fact, it was through this research that scientists discovered the microbiome within us has approximately 150 times more genes than the entire human body, providing evidence that the microbiome influences metabolism, physiology, and gene expression in ways that can impact mood, energy, and immune function. This breakthrough discovery has revolutionized how we understand the delicate balance of health and well-being and has consequently sparked the exploration of a new frontier in research.
Poor digestive health affects millions of Americans and accounts for significant morbidity, mortality, and cost. There is increased awareness that altering one’s diet can alleviate and often eliminate symptoms of poor digestion and thereby improve overall health and well-being. Methods of changing the composition of the microbiome through the introduction of beneficial flora have also shown promise for improving gastrointestinal symptoms and overall health, explaining why probiotics and prebiotics have dominated much of the consumer market as well as the research arena. However, probiotics are strain-specific and therefore may not always address the unique imbalances that vary from person to person. Similarly, prebiotics may provide a symbiotic benefit to the effect of probiotics by stimulating the activity of healthy bacteria, but these supplements alone cannot solve the underlying problem of imbalances in the gut.
Reducing the Effects of Dysbiosis
Since the launch of the HMP in 2008, there has been an organized effort to research intestinal flora, and scientists have uncovered links within the microbiome that have a direct impact on the quality of human health.[3,4] Specifically, it is now understood that dysbiosis—a term coined by Metchnikoff in 1908—impairs healthy digestive function by reducing the number of beneficial microbes and increasing the number of harmful microbes in the gut.[5,6] While it has been shown that many factors affect the composition of the microbiome, diet may be the most influential. Research suggests that the typical Western diet consisting of a high-fat, high-sugar, and low-fiber intake alters the diversity of the human microbiome and leads to dysbiosis. Not only is diet-induced dysbiosis thought to be responsible for a host of gastrointestinal complaints, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea, but it has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, neurological pathologies, and psychiatric disorders, underscoring the importance of a healthy microbiome for nearly all aspects of human health.
IgY is GRAS avian immunoglobulins or "specifically immunized chicken egg" that promotes intestinal and systemic health. By delivering targeted protection to the microbiome, IgY immunoglobulins have been shown to support the digestive tract lining, promote proper microbial adhesion, support immune system health, support the body’s natural defenses, and promote a proper cytokine balance to reduce symptoms of poor gastrointestinal (GI) health.
As an innovative approach to modifying the composition of the microbiome, IgY addresses the non-beneficial bacteria by imparting passive immunity in the intestinal tract, thus allowing the beneficial flora to thrive. Think of a garden overrun with weeds. Dysbiosis occurs because non-beneficial bacteria have taken up residence in the gut, and just like weeds, non-beneficial bacteria take up vital nutrients which beneficial flora need to survive. By reducing the occurrence of harmful microbes in the intestinal tract, IgY helps promote the attachment of beneficial flora to restore optimal microbial diversity, thus supporting gastrointestinal function and overall well-being.[10-12]
The use of artificial passive immunity is not a new concept. Mammalian antibodies from milk (colostrum) and blood serum (IgG) as well as avian antibodies from chicken egg (IgY) have been used in the past to help with a variety of conditions. However, it is widely understood that IgY antibodies offer several advantages over IgG:
- IgY has three to five times higher immunogenicity, making it possible to produce antibodies against highly conserved human proteins and reducing the amount of antibody required to produce an efficient immune response.
- Eggs contain 20 times more immunoglobulins per unit compared to serum-derived IgG, making chickens a more economical source of large quantities of specific antibodies.
- IgY antibodies have a highly specific rapid and local onset of action and are non-toxic.
- IgY antibodies do not stimulate the human complement system.
- IgY antibodies do not stimulate inflammatory cytokines.
- IgY does not bind to Fc receptors, rheumatoid factors, or protein A or G.[14-17]
Cell Graph 1
Shown to be effective in promoting gut function and immunity in humans, antigen-specific IgY may offer a compelling approach to reducing the side effects of dysbiosis, such as common GI complaints.[10-16]
The Advantage of IgY Immunoglobulins
An open label pilot study was conducted to explore the effects of eight weeks of IgY immunoglobulins (two 500 mg capsules 2 times per day) on microbial diversity and biomarkers of gut wall integrity in subjects reporting mild-to-moderate GI complaints. Markers such as zonulin, histamine, and diamine oxidase (DAO) were evaluated to assess gut integrity. Zonulin is a regulator of intestinal permeability and can therefore be used as a biomarker of impaired gut barrier function. Histamine, produced by mucosal mast cells, acts as a pro-inflammatory mediator in the intestine and modulates intestinal permeability. DAO is the enzyme made by the microvilli that degrades histamine. Therefore, low levels of DAO and elevated levels of histamine have been implicated in chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
Three subjects completed a pre- and post-comprehensive stool analysis to assess changes in microbial diversity. Samples were analyzed using matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), an accurate and reliable proteomic technique that identifies bacteria and yeast by spectral analysis of microorganisms' predominant ribosomal proteins. MALDI-TOF MS enables rapid and accurate identification of normal and pathogenic gastrointestinal microorganisms based upon their signature high-abundance proteins. Subjects reported noticing "a decrease in gas and bloating" and "feeling more energy." These results show that IgY immunoglobulins improves quality of life measures. In addition to subjective data, the objective markers show a decrease in gut permeability. There was an improvement in zonulin (Figure 1), DAO (Figure 2), and histamine. Figure 3 shows the improvement in the DAO/histamine ratio. Figure 4 shows the percent change in all measured markers, all demonstrating an improvement. There was an overall increase in beneficial flora, which was measured on a plus one to plus four logarithmic change (Figure 5). When the quantitative value of the flora was summed, there was an increase overall in beneficial flora. The species that most consistently increased was Lactobacillus, showing IgY immunoglobulins to be unique supports for microflora and especially Lactobacillus.
The results of this study suggest that IgY immunoglobulin supplementation for eight weeks resulted in improvement of markers of gut distress such as zonulin, DAO, and histamine as well as an improvement in beneficial flora in the intestine. Improvement of these markers is associated with improved GI function, improved intestinal wall integrity, and the ability to support the body's normal response to inflammation.
Through the activation of cytokine inhibitory factors, IgY modulates the production of cytokines to reduce intestinal permeability and improve mucosal immunity. By promoting cytokine balance in the digestive system and increasing the attachment of beneficial flora, IgY supports gut integrity and a healthy microbiome for optimal gastrointestinal function.
Cell Graph 2
Specifically Immunized Egg Intolerance
IgY specifically immunized egg is considered a safe and viable option for anyone who wants to maintain and improve total GI function, including those who are egg intolerant. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) estimates that only 0.2-0.4% of the general population is allergic to egg and milk. Additionally, IgY specifically immunized egg is naturally gluten free, making it a preferable choice for health-conscious consumers.
XYMOGEN®, a family-owned US manufacturer and distributor of a comprehensive line of nutraceutical formulas presented exclusively to the professional market, is a distributor of dairy-free IgY specifically immunized avian egg. The product was named IG 26 DF because the chickens are immunized against 26 of the most common human pathogens. XYMOGEN's Ig 26 DF is available in an unsweetened, unflavored, loose powder and in capsules. It is also available as Ig 26 Plus DF, a natural vanilla flavor, monk fruit- and stevia-sweetened powder that contains 1 gram arabinogalactans per serving.
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- Chalghoumi R, Théwis A, Beckers et al. Adhesion and growth inhibitory effect of chicken egg yolk antibody (IgY) on Salmonella enterica serovars Enteritidis and Typhimurium in vitro. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2009; Jun;6(5):593-604.
- Miles, L. Effects of hyperimmune eggs on HSCRP levels: results of a private clinical trial. Unpublished study.
- Rahman S, Van Nguyen S, Icatlo FC Jr, et al. Oral passive IgY-based immunotherapeutics: a novel solution for prevention and treatment of alimentary tract diseases. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013; May;9(5):1039-48.
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