Artemis International, leader and pioneer in the science of dark berry extracts and supplier of flavonoid-rich Berryceutical™ ingredients, reveals surprising new research that is bringing elderberry into the critical and popular discussion around digestive health. In recent years, the strong relationship between the gut microflora and the immune cells lining the gut help explain the role of probiotics and prebiotics in supporting a healthy immune system. Considering the recent worldwide flu epidemic, maintaining a healthy immune system is increasingly important. Now research is painting a clearer picture for the interplay between the microbiome and high antioxidant flavonoids, such as those in Elderberry, frequently heralded as a key factor in immune support. This new research builds an even stronger case for this dark berry and its ties to optimal health.
“Some exciting research we’ve uncovered identifies a multifaceted relationship between polyphenols and gut microflora: some polyphenols have been shown to modulate a healthy balance of friendly/healthy bacteria, and the microflora in the gut metabolize polyphenols into more bioavailable metabolites with immune-boosting and other benefits,” explained Melanie Bush, Chief Science Officer at Artemis International.
A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, provides a strong case for the relationship between flavonoid-rich foods, gut microbes, and immune efficacy. The presence of DAT (desaminotyrosine), a compound identified as being a metabolite in the gut after the consumption of key flavonoids present in elderberry, actually helps protect against damage from influenza (Steed et al. 2017). Therefore, a healthy balance of gut microbiota as well as flavonoid-rich foods/supplements like Elderberry appear to be the magic cocktail for positively impacting immune health.
Further, discoveries reveal that the health benefits one would get from combining antioxidant-rich flavonoids, such as those from Elderberry, with probiotics, in a single product, would be greater than what could be achieved using each individually. “It’s a one-two punch of functionality that takes the popular categories of probiotics and antioxidants to a new multi-dimensional level,” added Bush.
This evidence is supported by a study that investigates the functional outcomes of incorporating antioxidant components into the human gut by measuring the impact of a prebiotic-probiotic-antioxidant blend on endotoxin levels in humans pre-and post endurance sports, such as a triathlon (Roberts et al., 2016). Results suggest a marked benefit, and that the industry should be looking at antioxidant-rich ingredients like Elderberry to pair with typical gut-health products when formulating new supplements.
The Haschberg variety of Black Elderberry (part of the BerryCeuticals™ line supplied by Artemis International) is one of the richest sources of the specific polyphenols called flavonoids, especially the anthocyanins (like cyanidin-3-gluoside) that have been compounds of interest relating to the health benefits of berries and the gut connection.
“There is exciting and significant research being done on the microbiome and exactly how a healthy gut supports the immune system and overall human health,” Bush concluded. Elderberry is already an established name in the world of immune support and the concept of its flavonoids contributing to added benefits by way of the gut and working in conjunction with probiotics (which are top of mind among consumers), gives formulators looking to leverage benefits of various ingredients in functional foods and dietary supplements even more to work with.”