Yeast beta-glucans ease symptoms of virus infection
Mushroom beta-glucans appear to reduce the risk of viral infections, this website reported several times. Yeast beta-glucans may also have a positive effect on the immune system. They may not reduce the risk of infection, but they do seem to ease the symptoms of an infection with cold or flu viruses.
Beta-glucans are chains of glucose units. They are polysaccharides, which according to an impressive pile of fundamental research and a somewhat less impressive pile of human studies activate the immune system.
Although we don’t know much about the interaction between the immune system and beta-glucans yet, it is clear that beta-glucans come in all shapes and sizes. The beta-glucans from cereals such as oats have a different structure than the beta-glucans from mushrooms or yeasts.
In 2012, researchers at SupplementWatch published a human study involving 77 women aged 18-65 as a test subject. [J Am Coll Nutr. 2012;31(4):295-300.] During the 3 months that the study lasted, half of the women received a placebo, while the other half received a supplement containing 250 milligrams of yeast beta-glucans daily.
The researchers used a product from the American Wellmune, Wellmune WGP. [wellmune.com] You’ll find Wellmune’s beta-glucans in multiple immunomodulatory supplements. [Example] The study was not funded by Wellmune, but by Biothera. [biothera.com] Biothera is a pharmaceutical company that develops immunotherapies, among other things.
The women who took beta-glucans were less likely to experience flu and colds during the supplement. They less often reported a runny nose, cough, sore throat, or other upper respiratory symptoms. Moreover, supplementation with beta-glucans made the women feel stronger and fitter.
A similar study appeared in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2019. It was carried out by the German research agency BioTeSys [[biotesys.de] on behalf of Leiber, [leibergmbh.de] a producer of yeast extracts.
The researchers divided 299 women aged 18-70 into 2 groups. For 16 weeks, the researchers gave half of the women a placebo every day, and the other half 900 milligrams of yeast beta-glucans. The researchers used Yestimun, a Leiber product.
The supplement did not affect the chance of women becoming ill. However, it did reduce the severity of the symptoms in the first seven days of the cold or flu. The two figures below tell that.
As was the case in the American study, beta-glucans improved the mood of the women. In addition, the supplement lowered blood pressure.
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