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Boosting immunity with Beta Glucan

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Boosting immunity with Beta Glucan

Beta Glucan is a powerhouse when it comes to boosting immunity against viral infection. Daily use may help reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, especially when due to increased mental and physical stress. The active compound naturally occurs in plants such as mushrooms, they form a natural component of the cell walls of fungi, yeast, and cereals such as oat and barley.

Beta Glucan works by interacting with macrophages to activate immune function. 1,3-1,6 beta glucan cluster around receptors on immune cells (e.g. macrophages and neutrophils) and “prime” them for defence. Cleverly though, the immune cells aren’t activated until they come into contact with microbes meaning there isn’t the complication of the immune system being stimulated which may be problematic in those with auto-immune conditions.

Several studies suggest daily use of 1,3-1,6 beta glucan can help reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) which are typically caused by viruses. In a group of stressed women, supplementation with 250 mg per day of 1,3-1,6 beta glucan for 12-weeks reduced upper respiratory symptoms compared to placebo (10% vs 29%) and also resulted in better overall well-being, mood, higher mental and physical energy levels.1

Another study in moderate to highly stressed men and women found that 250 mg daily of 1,3-1,6 beta glucan for 4-weeks resulted in fewer upper respiratory tract infection symptoms, better overall health and increased vigour, and decreased tension and fatigue.2

Daily supplementation with 1,3-1,6 beta glucan has also been shown to reduce risk of infection in people under physical stress from high-level exercise. Compared to placebo, daily supplementation with 250 mg of 1,3-1,6 beta glucan was shown to reduce the number of colds and flu symptom days by 37% after a marathon.3

Beta Glucan is a great way to naturally boost your immune system and enable the body to react quicker to microbes.

  • 1. Talbott SM, Talbott JA. Baker's yeast beta-glucan supplement reduces upper respiratory symptoms and improves mood state in stressed women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012 Aug;31(4):295-300.
  • 2. Talbott S, Talbott J: Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan decreases upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and improves psychological well-being in moderate to highly stressed subjects. Agro Food Ind Hi Tech 21:21–24, 2010.
  • 3. McFarlin BK, Carpenter KC, Davidson T, McFarlin MA. Baker's yeast beta glucan supplementation increases salivary IgA and decreases cold/flu symptomatic days after intense exercise. J Diet Suppl. 2013 Sep;10(3):171-83.

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.