Beta-glucan may reduce upper respiratory tract infection in athletes

This is the first known controlled trial of yeast beta-glucan in upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in marathon runners.

In this study, 357 participants in the 2017 Austin Marathon took 250 mg of yeast beta-glucan per day or a dairy beverage placebo containing the same amount of calories, beginning 45 days before, and continuing the day of through 45 days after the race. Overall, those with a URTI in the yeast beta-glucan group had symptoms for an average of 27 days compared to those infected in the placebo group, who reported symptoms for 49 days. 

Total severity of URTI symptoms, including nasal discharge and sore throat, were 19.2 percent lower in the yeast beta-glucan group. After the marathon, runners with URTI who had taken yeast beta-glucan missed no more than two workout days, compared to 10 missed days for those infected in the placebo group.

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