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A new clinical research paper provides additional evidence that BeniCaros®, a functional food, beverage and supplement ingredient, prepares the immune system and strengthens healthy immune responses, NutriLeads BV announced. The research was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients.

The research paper elaborates on previous findings that showed 300 mgs. of BeniCaros accelerated immune responses and significantly reduced the severity and duration of symptoms in a study of 146 healthy human subjects following a controlled challenge with a common cold virus. These latest data demonstrate that BeniCaros, a soluble prebiotic carrot fiber known scientifically as Rhamnogalacturonan-I or cRG-I, significantly reduced individual cold symptoms and helped subjects feel better and maintain their quality of life. The paper is titled, “Effects of Dietary Supplementation with Carrot-Derived Rhamnogalacturonan-I (cRG-I) on Accelerated Protective Immune Responses and Quality of Life in Healthy Volunteers Challenged with Rhinovirus in a Randomized Trial.”

“Subjects taking BeniCaros felt considerably better and reported significant reductions in common cold symptoms, including a runny nose, sore throat, coughing and feeling tired, compared with the placebo group,” said Ruud Albers, Ph.D., NutriLeads founder and Chief Scientific Officer. “The BeniCaros group also reported significantly better quality-of-life scores than the placebo group, including the ability to think clearly, exercise and accomplish daily activities and work inside and outside the home.”

BeniCaros has a dual mode of action that trains the immune system to respond faster, preparing innate immune cells for a heightened state of readiness, and selectively increases beneficial gut microorganisms and their metabolites that support immune responses.

“Our research shows that BeniCaros supports and accelerates healthy immune responses when they are needed most,” said Joana Carneiro, NutriLeads Chief Executive Officer. “These latest data illustrate the ways in which BeniCaros helps individuals live their lives so nothing slows them down.”

Study design

In the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 146 healthy adults were given either BeniCaros or a placebo for eight weeks, after which they were exposed to a standardised dose of a mild rhinovirus via the nose. Researchers utilised blood, fecal and nasal fluid samples to count immune cells, track blood markers, measure immune responses and investigate gene expression. In addition, a validated clinical questionnaire was used to evaluate common cold symptom severity and quality of life.

Subjects were asked to complete the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Score-21 (WURSS-21) questionnaire every morning for two weeks starting the day before infection. WURSS-21 is comprised of 21 questions divided into three sections: total score and “how well do you feel today?”, upper respiratory tract infection symptoms, and quality-of-life questions to assess the impact of a common cold on daily activities.

Study results: BeniCaros reduced severity, duration & impact of cold symptoms

Subjects taking 300 mgs. of BeniCaros reported statistically significant reductions in symptom severity (20 – 33 %) and duration (28 – 43 %) compared with the placebo group, based on the total WURSS-21 over 13 days post infection. BeniCaros subjects experienced a lower peak value in severity (day 3) and lower impact (10 – 30 %) of a variety of common cold symptoms, including runny nose, sore throat, cough and feeling tired.

BeniCaros also significantly reduced the negative impact of a common cold on quality of life. In comparison with the placebo group, BeniCaros subjects reported that their colds interfered 10 – 30 % less with their quality of life. Key measurements included the ability to think clearly, walk, climb stairs, exercise, accomplish daily activities, work inside and outside the home and live their personal lives.

Biological study data show BeniCaros supports a cascade of protective immune responses in the presence of a health challenge. BeniCaros accelerated local and systemic immune response biomarkers, including critical anti-viral interferon gene expression and mobilisation of innate immune cells to the site (nasal cavities) of the challenge. Ex vivo stimulation of whole blood samples demonstrated that BeniCaros enhanced the function of natural killer cells, which play an important role in the early innate immune response to virus infections. Importantly, systemic immune responses following BeniCaros supplementation were unchanged in the absence of an immune challenge.

“BeniCaros trains the immune system to be ready to respond when it is challenged,” said Dr. Albers. “It does not lead to broad, non-specific activation of the innate immune system. It is important that immune-support products designed to be taken long term do not stimulate or boost the immune system unnecessarily.”