Daily supplements of the beta-glucan based ingredient Wellmune WGP may alter immune function after strenuous exercise, says a new study from the University of Houston.
Strenuous exercise is known to weaken or suppress the immune function, making some athletes more prone to infection and illness. New data published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that ten days of supplementation with Wellmune WGP may increase levels of total and pro-inflammatory white blood cells (monocytes) after exercise.
“These findings support the notion that supplementation with the Wellmune WGP form of baker’s yeast beta-glucan before exercise altered the typical post-exercise innate immune response,” wrote the researchers, led by Dr Brian McFarlin.
“More research is needed to understand what the clinical implications of the observed changes are.”
Wellmune WGP, derived from the cell walls of a proprietary strain of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) via a patented manufacturing process, is a natural carbohydrate that activates key immune cells.
Designed for use with foods, beverages and premium supplements, Wellmune can be used in a large number of subcategories in each segment. For example, beverages example, may include dairy, waters, teas, juices, sports drinks and other functional beverages, as well as powdered beverages.
Dr McFarlin and his co-workers evaluated the effects of 10 days of supplementation with Wellmune WGP on post-exercise immunosuppression. They recruited 60 active men and women and assigned them to receive either the beta-glucan ingredient or placebo (rice flour) for 10 days. The participants then crossed over to the other intervention after a seven-day washout period in between.
The participants were asked to complete bouts of strenuous exercise by cycling for about 50 minutes in hot and humid conditions.
Results showed that total and pro-inflammatory monocyte levels were “significantly greater” two hours after exercise following the Wellmune phase, compared with the placebo phase.
“The key findings of the present study demonstrate that beta-glucan may have potential to alter immunity following a strenuous exercise session,” wrote the researchers.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1017/S0007114512001407
“Baker's yeast β-glucan supplementation increases monocytes and cytokines post-exercise: implications for infection risk?”
Authors: K. C. Carpenter, W. L. Breslin, T. Davidson, A. Adams and B. K. McFarlin