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How to support winter immunity?


The winter months are considered to be the “flu season” during which we are more susceptible to viral infections. It is probably because we spend more time indoors when it is cold and viruses can survive longer in cold air. Strengthening the immune system is one of the best ways to prepare the body for winter.

Beta-glucans are naturally occurring glucose polysaccharides that have been recognized as immune modulators for decades, helping to prime immune cells and support and balance natural immunity. It prepares and supports the immune system so it responds stronger and faster to pathogens

Beta- glucans can also induce trained immunity. The term trained immunity describes a functional reprogramming of innate immune cells following exposure to beta-glucans, which leads to an enhanced response to a second stimulus triggered by pathogens.

Discover BioGlena™️- Beta glucans derived from microalgae

BioGlena™️ is a 100% natural whole Euglena gracilis alga containing a minimum of 55% linear 1,3 β-glucan, complete protein and essential vitamins and minerals.

The effect of Euglena gracillis on the immune system during viral infections was evaluated in an invitro study with human macrophages and also in pre-clinical and clinical studies.

The effect of BioGlena on cytokines secretion

Solabia – Algatech Nutrition conducted an in vitro study to examine the effects of BioGlena on the secretion of cytokines by human macrophages.*

Cytokines are peptides produced and secreted by immune cells to modulate immune response. They play a crucial role in our immune response to infections.

Study design:

The macrophages were incubated alone as a control or with BioGlena for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the cells were washed and kept at rest for five days. The resting period was followed by incubation with Poly IC a mismatched double-stranded RNA molecule that mimics viral infection, and LPS, a lipopolysaccharide found in membranes of pathogenic bacteria that induce immune responses.

The levels of cytokines were measures at various timepoints and the effect of the BioGlena on their secretion was compared to the controls.

The cytokine IFNγ was one of the cytokines that was significantly affected by BioGlena. In our bodies IFNγ works to activate macrophages which are crucial for immunity against viral infections. Importantly, IFNγ can directly inhibit viral replication.


Following the incubation with BioGlena, there was a slight secretion of IFNγ measured which was similar to the amount of IFNγ measured from the untreated control cells (0.86 pg/ml IFNγ). The low levels of IFNγ were also observed in both test and control samples after a 5-day resting period. Following the completion of the resting period then24 hours incubation with the Poly ICC there were major, statistically significant differences  in the IFNγ levels between cells that were previously exposed to BioGlena and untreated cells (17.21 pg/ml IFNγ versus 3.55 pg/ml IFNγ respectively) (see figure 1 below). Study results showed that human macrophage exposure to BioGlena resulted in an enhanced response against a viral pathogen.


The effect of E.gracilis on the immune response to viral infection 

In a pre-clinical study, mice were fed 2% E.gracilis or isolated paramylon (1,3 β-glucan found in E.gracilis) or a control diet (n = 15 in each group ) for two weeks. They were then infected with a lethal dose of influenza virus (H1N1). An additional 10 days of observation was carried out. Both treated groups (E.gracilis and paramylon) had higher survival rates than the control group. This correlated with significantly lower virus titer (virus quantity) in the lungs (Figure 2). Moreover, higher levels of key cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12 (p70), IFN-γ, and IL-10 were found in the paramylon supplemented group compared to the control group. These data suggest an immunoregulatory role of the E.gracilis and paramylon in protecting against influenza virus infection (Nakashima et al. 2017).


Figure 2 – The effect of E.gracilis administration on viral titer (pre-clinical study) in the lung of mice treated with E.gracilis (adapted from Nakashima et al., 2017).

Figure 2 – The effect of E.gracilis administration on viral titer (pre-clinical study) in the lung of mice treated with E.gracilis (adapted from Nakashima et al., 2017).

The effect of of E.gracilis supplementation on upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) symptoms

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, healthy and active adults were randomly assigned to receive either E.gracilis (367 mg/day) or placebo (n = 14) for 90 days.                    During the 90-day supplementation period, daily administration of Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey-24 (WURSS-24) was used to assess efficacy.                                                               A 90-day supplementation with E.gracilis resulted in:

  • Significantly fewer sick days per person, as compared to the placebo group (E.gracilis: 1.46 ± 1.01; placebo: 4.79 ± 1.47 days; p = 0.041).
  • Fewer URTI symptoms per person, as compared to the placebo group(E.gracilis: 12.62 ± 5.92; placebo: 42.29 ± 13.17; p = 0.029).
  • Fewer symptom days per person, as compared to the placebo group (E.gracilis: 5.46 ± 1.89; placebo: 15.43 ± 4.59 days; p = 0.019) .

A 30-day supplementation period also resulted in fewer sick days and fewer URTI symptoms. (Evans et al.2019).

BioGlena is the next generation source of beta-glucan, 100% natural and completely unprocessed. Free of any additives or solvents, it is suitable for all members of the family to use on a daily basis.

BioGlena is self-affirmed GRAS

*Immune cells harvested from peripheral blood are used as a model for testing natural products for some of the potential immune modulating and activating effects.