FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How are "hyperimmune" eggs produced?

A: “Hyperimmune” eggs (or “immune” eggs) are obtained from chickens repeatedly inoculated with a multivalent collection of pathogens, frequently bacterial in nature.

Q: What sort of immune components are found in "immune" eggs?

A: Stimulation by multiple antigens repeatedly administered results in an egg that contains specific immunologlobulins against the organisms to which the hen was exposed, coupled with the production of specific and non-specific bioactive immunomodulatory factors.

Q: How can "immune" eggs protect an organism non-specifically against pathogens that were on in the inoculum with which hens were stimulated?

A: Stimulation of immune cells with multivalent mixtures, results in the secretion of a large variety of immunoregulatory factors that are able to non-specifically activate cells to search and destroy.

Q: What is IgY?

A: IgY is the mammalian equivalent of IgG. Phylogentically, IgY is more similar to IgE 78 and secretory IgA 80 than it is to IgG.

Q: How does IgY compare to mammalian antibodies such as IgG?

A: IgY has many biochemical and immunological advantages over mammalian immunologlobulins due to the phylogenetic differences between the two species. In contrast to IgG, Ig does not activate the human complement system, nor does it react with rheumatoid factors, or bacterial and human Fc receptors.67

Q: What is the mechanism of action of the gastroprotective immunoglobulins in "hyperimmune" eggs?

A: These immunoglobulins adhere to, and neutralize pathogens orally introduced. They are confined to the lumen of the intestine for 3-5 days until the free immunoglobulin, or the antigen-antibody complexes, are excreted along with the stool.

Q: Is consumption of "hyperimmune" egg analagous to mammalian passive transfer of immunity?

A: Yes. Over a period of time, nursing mammals continuously transfer nutrients, growth factors, and immune products to passively protect their offspring from infection until their own immune systems have matured. The hen also must passively provide immune protection to its chicks. Since avians are not “designed” to nurse and have only a single opportunity to pass on immunity. Immunity is passively transferred via the egg, in a highly concentrated form.

Q: Do the specific immunoglobulins cross the gastrointestinal barrier?

A: Orally administered immunoglobulins from either egg or colostrum, do not cross the gastrointestinal barrier, and do not enter the systemic circulation.64

Q: Is there any evidence suggesting a difference in the degree of passive protection by colostrum obtained from specifically vaccinated cows, as compared to that of eggs from chickens specifically vaccinated with the same organisms?

A: In studies of coronavirus-induced disease in calves, egg immunoglobulins were reported to be 4 times more efficient than those from colostrum in lowering intestinal viral titers and inhibiting diarrhea and mortality.64 In vitro, IgY immunoglobulins demonstrate increased sensitivity as well.67

Q: Is there a connection between the gut and immune function?

A: The intestine is the largest immunological organ in the body. It comprises more than 70-80% of all immunoglobulin-producing cells and produces more secretory IgA…than the total production of IgG in the body. [In humans, IgG is only a minor component of scretions and affects, inefficiently, events within the intestinal lumen 72,73]. In mammals, IgA directed against bacteria appears to prevent attachment of organisms and their toxins to the gut lining 74 It should not be surprising that the immune system is so well represented in the gut, since the oral passage is the portal and primary site of introduction for living organisms into the body.

Q: Why aren't orally administered IgY immunoglobulins entirely degraded by intestinal digestive enzymes?

A: There are a number of factors that contribute to the stability of IgY proteins. If during digestion, the

  1. Fc portion of the IgY molecule (which is analogous to IgG found in mammals) were degraded, the active (Fab) is still able to complex with antigens.

  2. The liposomic materials and proteins naturally found in egg may be able to microencapsulate immunoglobluins protecting them from degradation, and

  3. Immunoglobulins are designed to be bioavailable and bypass digestive processes (e.g., colostrum) 24.

Nonetheless, the evidence is clear that orally administered immunoglobulins remain active through their passage through the digestive system. 25-26, 64

Q: Is consumption of hyperimmune IgY compatible with secretory IgA produced in mammals?

A: In fact, IgY is more closely related to IgA and IgE than it is to IgG.

Q: Why do many report energy changes upon consumption of "immune" eggs?

A: The human being has over 1014 single cells in the body. Ninety percent (90%) of these are non-human, foreign microbes with the majority of them residing in the gastrointestinal tract.(references) Most of the intestinal bacteria that reside in our gut are beneficial, however, certain pathogens may enter that can potentially become a major threat to our well-being when they overwhelm the immune system. Thus a great deal of energy is expended by the body to control the levels of pathogenic gut organisms (references). One might envision scenario in which providing additional immunoglobulins to the gut may neutralize organisms that attempt to adhere to the inside of the intestines.