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Marmite Could Be A 'Superfood' And Boost Immune System, Study Says

08/29/2012 05:08 pm ET | Updated Sep 06, 2012

Few condiments have as polarizing an effects as Marmite, a spread made from yeast extract popular in countries like the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. But could it be a superfood?

The Telegraph writes that a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation labeled it as such, citing its apparent ability to ward off infection. According to the research, high doses of the vitamin B3 (or naicin) -- one of Marmite's main ingredients -- produce neutrophilis, a white blood cell that fights bacteria and increases the immune system's ability to fight infection up to 1,000 times.

The U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS), however, notes on its NHS Choices website that most of research was carried out in mice and the "results may not necessarily be replicated in humans." It also strongly advise that people not take high doses of B3 unless explicitly told to by their doctor.

Healthy or not, we wonder if the "superfood" designation will improve its popularity. Although several versions exist of Marmite, the original British product is a sticky, dark brown concentrated spread with a biting, salty flavor. Even Unilever, the makers of U.K. Marmite, accepts the product's controversial, evident in its marketing slogan: "Love it or hate."

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