Support the natural immune response with beta-glucan

Boosting immunity, beating colds

Doctors said beta-glucan—an insoluble fiber that grows naturally on brewer’s yeast malted grain—supported the body’s natural immune response, triggering its defense against invading pathogens.

In this study, 162 healthy people with recurring colds took 900 mg of insoluble yeast beta-glucan per day or a placebo. Participants kept a diary tracking colds and rating 10 cold symptoms. After 16 weeks, compared to placebo, the beta-glucan group reported sleeping more soundly during colds, recorded 25 percent fewer colds, and when there was a cold, had 15 percent milder symptoms.


Yeast beta glucan increased immunity

After strenuous exercise, the natural immune capacity of mucous membranes that line the air passageways and digestive tract can deteriorate for up to 24 hours, increasing chances for infection. In the first of two studies, 182 marathon runners took 250 mg of yeast beta glucan per day, or a placebo, for 28 days immediately after a marathon. Compared to placebo, those who took yeast beta glucan had 37 percent fewer cold or flu symptoms overall. In the second study, 60 men and women took a placebo or 250 mg of yeast beta glucan per day 10 days before attempting a strenuous 50-minute cycling exercise. Two hours after completing the cycling test, compared to placebo, the yeast beta glucan group had 32 percent higher levels of a salivary antibody, signaling the mucous membranes were stronger, and could resist infection better.


Beta-glucan improved mood and immunity

Prior studies have shown that baker’s yeast beta-glucan reduces symptoms of cold and flu. In this study, 77 healthy women, average age 38, with moderate levels of psychological stress took 250 mg of yeast beta-glucan per day, or a placebo. After 12 weeks, 29 percent of the women in the placebo group reported upper respiratory symptoms compared to 10 percent of the women in the beta-glucan group. Energy levels improved 7 percent in the placebo group and 41 percent for beta-glucan. Overall mood scores improved 16 percent for women taking the placebo, and 29 percent for women who took beta-glucan. Discussing their findings, doctors said women who took beta-glucan reported lower levels of upper respiratory symptoms and that they felt better after taking beta-glucan, which doctors later confirmed in psychological assessments that showed the women had increases in energy and vigor and improvements in their overall sense of well-being.


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