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Beta-Glucan Supplement Could Shorten the Length of Your Cold

There's still no cure for the common cold, but there may be a natural way to ease the symptoms. A study conducted by researchers at The Dove Clinic in the United Kingdom suggests that a supplement containing beta-glucan could decrease the number of days that you suffer from symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs).

Beta-glucan is a fiber-type polysaccharide that aids the immune system by triggering a cascade of events that regulate it and make it more efficient.

The study results were published March 30, 2010 in the journal Nutrition.

Over the course of 90 days, 97 healthy medical students were assigned either a placebo or 250 milligrams of the beta-glucan supplement. At the end of the study, the supplement group self-reported 18% fewer days with symptoms compared to the placebo group. In particular, the ability to “breathe easily" was significantly improved.

The researchers warned that more investigation needs to be undertaken to determine the exact effect of beta-glucan on URTI symptoms, as a limited number of URTI instances occurred during the study period.

Previous studies have linked beta-glucan intake with lower cholesterol, managing diabetes, boosting the immune system, fighting allergies, fighting Lyme disease, and improving the appearance of skin.

Beta-glucans can be found in dietary sources including yeasts, algaes, lichens, oats and barley. These foods aren't part of the common Western diet, however. If you're looking to increase your beta-glucan intake, consider a high quality supplement.

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