Studies Show Benefits of Beta Glucans in Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Beta glucans are a natural compound found in the cell walls of bacteria and fungi and are normally used to store energy. But, in the human body these compounds have a natural ability to modulate immune function in the body. They have been particularly well researched in the case of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs).
Nutri Advanced uses Wellmune® beta glucans, which are a commercially available beta 1-3/1-6 glucan extracted from the cell wall of a proprietary strain of yeast. Although it originates from yeast it is worth noting that Wellmune® beta glucans are highly purified so there is no aggravation of infections like Candida albicans. Another reason that Nutri Advanced chooses Wellmune® is that they are a well-studied beta glucan compound that has seen good results for immune health.
In 2018, a randomized controlled trial studied the effects of Wellmune® beta glucans on immune function and found it reduced cold/flu symptoms following intense exercise. Intense exercise is known to be a risk factor for URTIs. In the study they followed 370 marathon runners for 45 days prior to and after running a marathon. The runners were assigned to receive either a Wellmune® beta glucans drink or a control drink containing no beta glucans. Those who followed the programme with Wellmune® beta glucans reported significantly fewer URTI symptomatic days compared to those on the control drink. Additionally, the severity of infection was reported as significantly lower for the beta glucans group.1
This latest research confirms the findings from two previous studies which showed immune modulating benefits of Wellmune® beta glucans in a capsule form, one study over 28 days, for subjects undergoing intense exercise.2,3
A further study using Wellmune® beta glucans looked at whether these yeast derived beta glucans could reduce the occurrence or severity of URTIs and modulate innate immune responses during winter months in community-dwelling older adults.4 They found that there was a strong trend to show that daily oral beta 1-3/1-6 glucans may protect against URTIs and reduce the duration of URTI symptoms in older individuals once infected although as this was not statistically significant, further study may be warranted.
1. Mah, E, Kaden VN et al. Beverage containing dispersible yeast beta glucan decreases cold/flu symptomatic days after intense exercise: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Dietary Supplements. Published online 31 Oct 2018
2. Talbott S, Talbott J. 2009. Effect of Beta 1, 3/1, 6 GLUCAN on upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and mood state in marathon athletes. J Sports Sci Med. 8(4):509–515.
3. McFarlin BK, Carpenter KC, Davidson T, McFarlin MA. 2013. Baker's yeast beta glucan supplementation increases salivary IgA and decreases cold/flu symptomatic days after intense exercise. J Diet Suppl. 10(3):171–183. doi:3109/19390211.2013.820248
4. Fuller R, Moore MV, Lewith G, Stuart BL, Ormiston RV, Fisk HL, Noakes PS, Calder PC. Yeast-derived β-1,3/1,6 glucan, upper respiratory tract infection and innate immunity in older adults. Nutrition. 2017 Jul-Aug;39-40:30-35. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2017.03.003. Epub 2017 Mar 23. PMID: 28606567.
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