Daily supplements of the baker’s yeast beta glucan ingredient Wellmune may reduce the number of cold/flu symptom days that runners experience post-marathon by 37%, says a new study.
The study’s findings, published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements , add to the body of science supporting the immune-boosting benefits of Wellmune, particularly for athletes.
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.
The ingredient’s potential for sports nutrition was supported by another trial, published in the peer-reviewed British Journal of Nutrition . Daily supplements of the beta-glucan based ingredient were associated with an increase in levels of total and pro-inflammatory white blood cells (monocytes) after exercise.
Brian McFarlin, PhD, assistant professor at the University of North Texas and lead investigator of the new study, said: “While many dietary interventions have been used to combat post-exercise immune suppression and are largely ineffective, the clinical research results with Wellmune demonstrate that its use can positively impact the immune system and help athletes to stay well.”
‘Not just for athletes’
Dr McFarlin and his co-workers from the University of North Texas, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Houston noted that strenuous exercise is known to disrupt the immune system for about 24 hours, thereby increasing the risk of developing an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) like the cold or flu.
The result of this is a loss of practice days, reductions in performance, and lost working days.
“In the case of athletes, physical laborers, police officers, firefighters, and soldiers, such illness may increase the risk of job-related injuries and fatalities due to fatigue,” they added.
Richard Mueller, CEO of Biothera, added that it was no longer a foregone conclusion that athletes would lose precious post-competition recovery and training days because they gave the competition their all. “Coaches, trainers, sports dietitians and athletes now have a clinically proven way to support everyday immune health. This means athletes can stay well so they can play well.
“The immune-boosting benefits of Wellmune are not just for athletes,” he said. “These results are consistent with previous clinical studies demonstrating that Wellmune helps keep ordinary people experiencing life’s daily stresses healthy.”
Dr McFarlin and his co-workers performed two clinical studies using the baker’s yeast extract. The first was included 182 marathon runners and found that in contrast to the placebo group, those taking Wellmune (250 milligrams per day) had a higher degree of immune support before and after exercise as measured by the incidence of URTI symptoms for 28 days post marathon. In addition, runners taking Wellmune for four weeks post-race reported a 37% reduction in the number of cold/flu symptom days post marathon, said the researchers.
The other study, conducted among 60 stationary cyclists exercising in a heat-stress lab, measured changes in mucosal immunity. Subjects had been supplemented for 10 days with either Wellmune (250 mg per day) or placebo. It found that subjects taking Wellmune had a 32% increase in salivary immunoglobulin (Ig-A) at two hours post exercise.
“The present study provides confirmation of the observations from other investigators that this commercially available source of baker’s yeast beta-glucan ecreases URTI symptom prevalence postmarathon,” wrote the researchers. “Here we add the novel insight that salivary IgA concentration following a strenuous exercise session is improved in subjects supplementing with beta-glucan.”
The study was funded by Biothera.
Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
September 2013, Volume 10, Number 3, Pages 171–183, doi: 10.3109/19390211.2013.820248
“Baker's Yeast Beta Glucan Supplementation Increases Salivary IgA and Decreases Cold/Flu Symptomatic Days After Intense Exercise”
Authors: B.K. McFarlin, K.C. Carpenter, T. Davidson, M.A. McFarlin