The City of Ankeny, Iowa, proved that point when it tested a dietary supplement called EpiCor during the 2010-2011 cold and flu season. Winter weather in the area is harsh, with extended periods of freezing temperatures. And many city employees work outdoors.
During the test, a group of 100 volunteers-city employees and their families-took EpiCor for six months. Compared to the same season in the previous year, they made 28 percent fewer doctor visits for colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections, significantly helping the city to reduce health care costs. And, those in the study also reported other benefits, including fewer allergies and less back pain.
Ankeny has since made EpiCor available to all its employees as part of a wellness program. And its health insurance costs have been lower than projected.
How EpiCor Works
Found in several brands of dietary supplements, EpiCor is a proprietary ingredient derived from baker's yeast processed by a patented fermentation process, during which nutrients are added. The supplement contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and special nutrients found in cell walls.
EpiCor helps balance the immune system, enabling it to work more accurately and efficiently. This produces several benefits:
- It protects our bodies from invaders, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, producing more natural killer cells when there is a threat of infection.
- It prevents the immune system from mistaking harmless particles-such as pollen-for pathogens, as happens when allergies flare up.
- It helps prevent or resolve an overactive immune system that underlies autoimmune conditions-when the immune system attacks the body's own cells because it thinks they're invaders.
- It enables the immune system to detect and eliminate rogue cells that could lead to serious, malignant conditions.
- It helps to prevent and control chronic low-level inflammation.
Evidence from human, animal, and lab research supports the efficacy of EpiCor.:
Colds and Flu: A 12-week study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine tested
the supplement on 116 people who hadn't received any flu vaccination. Compared to placebo, those taking EpiCor had fewer episodes of colds and flu-like symptoms.
Allergies: A study published in Advances in Therapy tested EpiCor on 96 people with allergies during a six-week period when pollen counts were highest. Compared to a placebo, EpiCor significantly reduced symptoms, including 12.5 fewer days of nasal congestion.
Rapid Response: A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that antioxidant levels increased within one hour of taking the supplement. And within two hours, there was a significant rise in the activity of natural killer cells. Previous research shows that the full benefits may be realized after taking EpiCor for two to four weeks.
How to Use EpiCor
The supplement can be taken with or without food, in a single dose or in two or more divided doses. Thus far, studies have not found evidence of any adverse effects or interactions with drugs. The yeast used to make EpiCor is of the same type used in making bread, so it bears no relationship to yeast infections.
Prevention: For adults, 500 mg daily, year-round, is the effective dose used in studies. Children can take smaller doses, based on their weight. For a child weighing 40 pounds, the recommended amount is 125 mg, with higher or lower amounts for bigger or smaller children.
Treatment: Adults can take up to 3,000 mg of EpiCor daily, and children can take up to 500 mg.
Create a Natural Cold & Flu Kit
It's time to start stashing away seasonal wellness remedies-you never know when you might need them! In addition to EpiCor, here are a few other options to consider:
Homeopathy: Boiron Oscillococcinum and Coldcalm; Nature's Way Umcka ColdCare; Hyland's 4 Kids
Cold 'n Cough; and Source Naturals Wellness Cold & Flu.
Herbs: Source Naturals Wellness Formula, Herbal Defense; Nature's Answer Sambucus Black Elder Berry Extract; Barlean's Olive Leaf Complex; and Gaia Herbs Quick Defense.
Zinc & Vitamin C: Country Life Zinc Lozenges with Vitamin C and American Health Ester-C Effervescent.
NatrolImmune Boost featuring EpiCor contains 500 mg of EpiCor, 2,000 IU of vitamin D3, and smaller amounts of vitamin C and zinc.
NOW FoodsHealthy Immune is a powdered mix with EpiCor, olive leaf, elderberry, and other potent immune remedies. Add one packet to bottled water.
NaturalWellness EpiCor with Vitamin D3
has 500 mg of EpiCor and 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per capsule.
Vera Tweed has been writing about nutrition, fitness, and healthy living since 1997. She specializes in covering research and expert knowledge that empowers people to lead better lives. She is the author of numerous books, including Hormone Harmony and the User's Guide to Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine.