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Baker’s Yeast Beta Glucan Supplement Boosts Immune System Post Exercise

Very strenuous exercise has been shown to weaken the immune system, putting professional athletes and other individuals with very physical jobs at a higher risk for illness. A recent study found that taking a supplement of baker’s yeast beta glucan lowered the amount of cold and flu symptoms in runners by 37% after a marathon.

Another study by the same researchers suggests that the baker’s yeast beta glucan supplement may result in a 32% increase in salivary immunoglobin (Ig-A). Ig-A protects the upper respiratory tract from infection, and levels often drop dramatically following intense exercise.

Participants in the first study included 182 marathon runners who took either 250 mg of baker’s yeast beta glucan daily or a placebo daily. The researchers tracked the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infections in the participants post marathon. They found that the supplement group had a higher degree of immune support both pre and post marathon than the placebo group. They also noted the 37% reduction in cold and flu symptoms in the supplement group.

In the second study, 60 participants were given either 250 mg of beta glucan or a placebo for 10 days prior to a session on a stationary bicycle in a heat-stress lab. Changes in salivary Ig-A were measured. The beta-glucan group had a 32% increase in Ig-A 2 hours post exercise, compared to placebo.

Researchers from the University of North Texas, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Houston conducted the study. It was published in the September 2013 issue of British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have linked beta-glucan intake with lower cholesterol, managing diabetes, controlling allergies and improving the appearance of skin.

Beta-glucan can be found in dietary sources including yeasts, algae, lichens, oats and barley. A high quality supplement is also a good option if you’re looking to increase your beta-glucan intake.

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