Test subjects supplemented with the plant extract had seen an increase in their immune cells count, especially T-cells, T helper cells, and IFN-γ.
Researchers said this study showed that the botanical was able to balance the effects of immunity and inflammation.
The open-label, single centre trial was conducted in May and June this year.
Thirty healthy subjects, aged 18 to 60, were recruited. All were required to take in a capsule containing 100g standardized extract of andrographis paniculate leaves twice per day.
The capsule contains seven bioactives, namely andrographolide, isoandrographolide, neoandrographolide, 14-deoxy-11, 12-didehydroandrographolide, andrograpanin, skullcapflavone-I, and 7-O-methylwogonin.
The formulation is developed by Indian ayurvedic botanical ingredient firm Natural Remedies – also the funder of this study. The ingredient is registered as Ap-Bio or KalmCold in the European markets.
As part of this study, the subjects’ immune cell count, in particular, NK cell, T cells, T helper cells, as well as blood serum cytokines were measured at the baseline, 3rd, 7th, and final day of the trial.
Results showed that the supplementation had increased immune cells count, such as lymphocytes, T cells (CD3+) and T helper cells (CD4+) by the end of the study. These are white blood cells key in building up adaptive immunity.
The increase was especially significant in individuals with lymphocytes count ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 per µL of blood. The normal lymphocyte range is between 1,000 and 4,800 per µL of blood.
In this group of subjects, their number of T cells CD3+ and CD4+ increased from the baseline of 912.9 ± 217.7 cells/μL to 1185 ± 345.8 cells/μL of blood. This was a significant increase as the p-value was lower than 0.05 at 0.001.
The study is funded by Natural Remedies and is pending publication in a scientific journal.
More cytokines production
The increase in white blood cells has in turn led to the production of more cytokines IFN-γ and IL-4, the study has showed.
With IFN-γ as an example, it increased from the baseline of 5.5 ± 8.7 pg/mL to 20.8 ± 14.4 pg/mL of blood.
While there is an increase in T-cells, there was no significant increase in other cells important for building the immunity, such as NK cell, cytotoxic T lymphocytes, IL-12, and TNF-α cell count.
The supplement was also found to be well-tolerated by the body.
Innate and adaptive immunity
The latest and earlier findings have showed that the ingredient works by strengthening both innate and adaptive immunity.
Innate immunity is activated when the body detects a threat and mounts a general response to stop its spread.
Adaptive immunity, on the other hand, is acquired through exposure to microbes over the lifetime. It is activated when the body recognises a threat it has previously encountered.
The company said previous preclinical research has found that the ingredient modulates innate immunity by enhancing natural killer (NK) cell activity and the process in which macrophages engulf and kill invading pathogens.
A human clinical study published in Phytomedicine showed that it was effective for reducing symptoms of common cold.
“An interesting aspect of AP-Bio is that it seems to have balancing effects on immunity and inflammation, particularly in the context of respiratory health,” said Dr Deepak Mundkinajeddu, head of research and development at Natural Remedies.
The ingredient has been certified non-GMO, kosher, halal, vegan, and non-dairy.
“Consumers are serious about defending their immunity, and increasingly, they are looking for natural solutions that have the science to prove they work,” Abey Thomas, assistant GM of global marketing added.