Baker’s Yeast Beta Glucan Supplementation Reduces the Number of Cold/Flu Symptomatic Days After Completing a Marathon
American College of Sports Medicine 59th Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA
May 30, 2012
James A. Navalta1, Katie C. Carpenter2, Whitney L. Breslin2, Tiffany Davidson2, Brian K. McFarlin, FACSM2.
1Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY.
2University of Houston, Houston, TX.
Purpose: Marathon running places a profound stress on one’s body. Such stress manifests itself in the form of muscle soreness, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. It is common for marathon runners to develop an upper respiratory tract infection in the days and weeks following completion of a marathon. The present study sought to examine a commercially available form of Baker’s yeast β-glucan (BG); this form of BG has been previously demonstrated to boost immune system function in marathon runners and in laboratory studies where subjects completed a defined exercise stimulus.
Methods: We recruited 324 subjects who were completing in the 2011 Austin Livestrong Marathon (Austin, TX). Upon enrolling in the study, subjects completed a demographics question designed to provide information about their exercise training patterns and health status. Subjects were also provided either a BG (250 mg/d) or placebo (sugar pill, PL) supplement. Double-blind administration of the supplement was used to reduce bias. Subjects were also given 2 packets of surveys that were returned at 2 and 4 weeks post marathon. Of the 324 enrolled, only 182 subjects completed and returned both sets of surveys. The set of surveys included were the Profile of Mood States (POMS), the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Tract Symptom Survey (WURSS), and a daily health/exercise log. Survey data was entered into a database using a custom scanning solution. Data were analyzed for significance using separate repeated measures ANOVAs with a P<0.05.
Results: BG supplementation significantly reduced both the number of days that subjects reported both general health problems as well as cold/flu symptoms. We did not find any significant differences in either POMS or WURSS scores between groups.
Conclusions: The key finding of the present study was that BG supplementation post-marathon reduced the number of symptomatic days experienced by a subject. Based on previous studies from our lab and others, it is reasonable to speculate that the improvements associated with BG were likely due to alterations in monocytes, plasma cytokines, and improved mucosal immunity. This study was funded by Biothera, the immune health company.