ResistAid—Supports Immune Systems Naturally
ResistAid™ is a natural immune support ingredient manufactured by the Swiss life-science company Lonza. It is made from the wood and bark of larch trees that grow in abundance in the United States. ResistAid™ consists of the soluble polysaccharide arabinogalactan and bioactive flavonoids, and thus has antioxidant capacity.
Products displaying the ResistAid™ quality seal on the packaging show the consumer that they contain the natural immune ingredient from Lonza.
Health Benefits of ResistAid™
Larch arabinogalactan was shown to have a stimulatory effect on the immune system of both animals and human models. The mechanisms of this effect have been investigated and seem to include not only the effects of lactic acid-producing bacteria and bacterial constituents on immune cells, the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and binding to SCFA receptors on leucocytes, but also direct effects on components of the immune system.
Specifically, the activity of natural killer cells, cytokines and macrophages may be supported by larch arabinogalactan supplementation. In addition, ResistAid™ has antioxidant capacity which can be related to its content of polyphenolics.
Natural Immune Function Support
Support of natural killer cells. Natural killer cells (NK cells) are a type of cytotoxic lymphocytes which constitute a major component of the innate immune system. NK cell activity is a functional marker for health. In mice, i.p. administration of arabinogalactan from larch during a 2-week period has been found to stimulate NK cell activity. Pre-treatment of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells with larch arabinogalactan has shown enhancement of NK cytotoxicity which was found to be governed by the cytokine network.
Support of cytokines. Larch arabinogalactan can act as an inducer of the production and/or the release of various cytokines. In cell culture, larch arabinogalactan induced an increased release of interferon gamma (IFN gamma), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). It was found that the IFN gamma was most responsible for the observed enhancement of NK cytotoxicity.
Support of macrophages. Macrophages are important in the body’s defenses. They originate from specific white blood cells called monocytes. Monocytes and macrophages are phagocytes, meaning they destroy harmful organisms.
Larch arabinogalactan administered to healthy human subjects in combination with a standardized Echinacea extract was found to significantly increase human circulating peripheral blood monocytes (PBMC). As shown in in vitro studies arabinogalactan from various sources can also activate macrophages.
Support of white blood cells. Research has shown that supplementation with larch arabinogalactan can increase total white blood cell counts, mostly by increasing the neutrophil concentration.
Support of adaptive immune response. Latest research shows that the immune benefits of ResistAid™ additionally include the adaptive immune response, a response to specific antigens. The study was designed to test the hypothesis that ingestion of ResistAid™ would selectively enhance the antibody response to a vaccine in healthy adults. Vaccination studies of this type serve as a model to study the effect of nutraceutical supplementation on the overall immune function. The group that ingested ResistAid™ demonstrated a higher IgG Ab response to the vaccine than the placebo group in two Ab subtypes during the 10 weeks following vaccination. The study further showed that ResistAid™ may have an immunomodulatory effect, meaning it supports the appropriate response to an antigen without indiscriminately enhancing the other arms of the immune system that would not be expected to respond.
Natural antioxidant properties. Dietary antioxidants, including polyphenolic compounds, are regarded as effective nutrients in the prevention of health concerns related to oxidative stress. Phenolics or polyphenolics are responsible for most of the antioxidant capacity in fruits, vegetables and most botanical antioxidant supplements. It is recognized that polyphenolic flavonoids are able to scavenge different reactive oxygen radicals, such as hydroxyl and superoxide radicals. The polyphenolic flavonoids present in ResistAid™ include taxifolin and quercetin, which have been shown to display a wide range of biochemical properties, including antioxidant and chemoprotective effects.
Technical Properties of ResistAid™
ResistAid™ has a number of technical properties which makes it easy to incorporate into dietary supplements and functional foods in standalone form or combined with other products to increase functionality.
High solubility in water. As ResistAid™ has a highly branched structure it is freely soluble, dissolving completely in hot or cold water.
Stable to temperature and low pH value. ResistAid™ is stable at a wide range of temperatures and pH, which provides for use in various applications. In beverages it keeps its functionality and neither degrades nor hydrolyzes.
ResistAid™ Production Process
ResistAid™ is produced by steam-heating larch bark and wood chips to extract the phenolic and arabinogalactan compounds and evaporating the resulting extract. This waterbased extraction method is unique as it does not require any harsh chemicals to release the compounds from the plant matrix. Therefore, the product remains pure and structurally unaltered after extraction.
ResistAid™ Safety at a Glance
• Self-affirmed GRAS with US FDA notification
• Approved by the US FDA as a direct food additive
• Allergen free
• No reported side effects, no adaptation period required
Lonza Inc., Allendale, NJ (USA)
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2010