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Beta-Glucan May Reduce Incidence of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Upper respiratory tract infections are more apt to cause complications in mature adults, such as hospitalization, bronchitis, pneumonia and death. A recent study suggests that taking a daily supplement of the baker’s yeast beta-glucan may reduce the number of upper respiratory tract infections as well as shorten the length of illness in mature adults.

Participants in the study included 49 people between the ages of 50 and 70 who were given either 250 mg of a baker’s yeast beta-glucan supplement or a placebo daily for 90 days during the winter.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a “strong trend” toward fewer days with upper respiratory tract infection symptoms in the supplement group, but no change in severity of symptoms. The supplement group also had higher concentrations of interferon-gamma from the beginning of the study to day 45, when their blood was stimulated with lipopolysaccharide. The researchers noted that this change could indicate that the supplement was priming the innate immune cells to an inflammatory status.

Researchers from the University of Southampton in England conducted the study. It was published in the July-August 2017 issue 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 such as 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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