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Effect of BETA 1, 3/1, 6 GLUCAN on Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms and Mood State in Marathon Athletes

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This was a placebo-controlled, double-blind study designed to evaluate the effect of a commercially available dietary supplement on upper-respiratory tract symptoms (URTI) and mood state. Seventy-five marathon runners (35 men, 40 women) ranging in age from 18-53 years, mean age: 36 ± 9, self-administered placebo, 250 mg or 500 mg of BETA 1,3/1,6 GLUCAN (commercial name Wellmune WGP®) daily during the 4 week post-marathon trial period following the 2007 Carlsbad Marathon. Subjects filled out the profile of mood state (POMS) assessment and a questionnaire style health log measuring health status and URTI symptoms after 2- and 4-week treatment administrations. During the course of the 4-week study, subjects in the treatment groups (250 mg and 500 mg BETA-GLUCAN per day) reported significantly fewer URTI symptoms, better overall health and decreased confusion, fatigue, tension, and anger, and increased vigor based on the POMS survey compared to placebo. BETA-GLUCAN may prevent URTI symptoms, and improve overall health and mood following a competitive marathon
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2009) 8, 509-515
Received: 02 April 2009 / Accepted: 14 July 2009 / Published (online): 01 December 2009
Effect of BETA 1, 3/1, 6 GLUCAN on upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and mood
state in marathon athletes
Shawn Talbott and Julie Talbott
SupplementWatch & GLH Nutrition, LLC, Draper, UT, USA
This was a placebo-controlled, double-blind study designed to
evaluate the effect of a commercially available dietary supple-
ment on upper-respiratory tract symptoms (URTI) and mood
state. Seventy-five marathon runners (35 men, 40 women) rang-
ing in age from 18–53 years, mean age: 36 ± 9, self-
administered placebo, 250 mg or 500 mg of BETA 1,3/1,6
GLUCAN (commercial name Wellmune WGP®) daily during
the 4 week post-marathon trial period following the 2007 Carls-
bad Marathon. Subjects filled out the profile of mood state
(POMS) assessment and a questionnaire style health log measur-
ing health status and URTI symptoms after 2- and 4-week
treatment administrations. During the course of the 4-week
study, subjects in the treatment groups (250 mg and 500 mg
BETA-GLUCAN per day) reported significantly fewer URTI
symptoms, better overall health and decreased confusion, fa-
tigue, tension, and anger, and increased vigor based on the
POMS survey compared to placebo. BETA-GLUCAN may
prevent URTI symptoms, and improve overall health and mood
following a competitive marathon.
Key words: Dietary supplements, exercise, beta-Glucans, respi-
ratory tract infections.
Heavy exercise or elite training may lead to increased
susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (URTI)
(Nieman et al., 1990; Peters and Bateman, 1983; Spence
et al., 2007). Heavy exercise is a physical stressor that
results in measurable immune challenges with reductions
in key immune system components such as neutrophils,
natural killer cells, T cells and B cells (Mackinnon and
Hooper, 1994; Nieman et al., 1995; Ostrowski et al.,
1998). Athletes are particularly susceptible in the 2 week
recovery period after competitive marathons or ultra-
marathons partially due to elevations in hormones that
coordinate the stress response (Peters and Bateman,
1983). The net effect of an ongoing immune challenge is
a weakened immune system, which often results in URTI.
Exercise stress is similar to other stressors, such as
psychological stress, which can lead to a weakened im-
mune system and increased susceptibility to URTI and
other disease states (Mackinnon, 1997). Psychological
stress can also result from prolonged training and compe-
tition at the elite level. Elite athletes have deterioration in
mood state during intense training periods, and before and
after a marathon race (Achten et al., 2004; Hassmen and
Blomstrand, 1991). Lifestyle factors, such as coping with
daily stress, may influence the immune response to exer-
cise (Konig et al., 2000). Reductions in immune cell
populations, lowered antibody production and altered
cytokine response have been observed due to psychologi-
cal stress (Cohen et al., 1999; Glaser et al., 1999).
A variety of intervention techniques can be used to
ameliorate psychological and physical stress, such as
administering selective dietary supplements containing
immune modulating compounds (Akerstrom and Peder-
sen, 2007; Nieman and Bishop, 2006; Peters et al., 1993).
In ultra-marathon runners, 600mg of vitamin C, taken 21
days before and 14 days after a 90 km race, reduced URTI
symptoms (Peters et al., 1993). Biological response modi-
fiers, for example BETA-GLUCAN, enhance the innate
immune response (Luhm et al., 2006; Niederman et al.,
2002). BETA-GLUCANS are glucose polymers derived
from a variety of sources including yeast, grain, or fun-
gus. In vitro, BETA-GLUCAN enhanced the microbicidal
activity of neutrophils, macrophages and natural killer
cells against a variety of pathogens (Bedirli et al., 2007;
Ikewaki et al., 2007; Liang et al., 1998). In vivo, oat-
derived BETA-GLUCAN, prevented increased risk of
URTI after stressful exercise in mice (Davis et al.,
2004;Murphy et al., 2008). In human clinical trials,
BETA-GLUCAN reduced postoperative infection rates
and shortens intensive care unit stay duration (Babineau et
al., 1994a; 1994b; Dellinger et al., 1999).
In this study, we report the effect of using BETA-
GLUCAN on the physical and psychological well-being
of marathon runners who participated in the 2007 Carls-
bad Marathon. The current study employed a series of
subject self-assessment questionnaires that addressed
overall health status and URTI symptoms. In addition to
evaluation of subjects for physical health, a psychological
assessment known as the Profile of Mood States (POMS)
was conducted to assess mood state. A key objective of
the study was to explore how BETA-GLUCAN affected
various moods, URTI symptoms, and overall health status
4 weeks following a marathon competition.
This study was done in accordance with the Helsinki
Declaration, as revised in 1983, for clinical research in-
volving humans. Subjects signed informed consent docu-
ments after the study details were explained. Seventy-five
healthy men (n = 35) and women (n = 40) ranging in age
from 18–53 years (mean age: 36 ± 9) participated in this
study. Enrollment took place through a recruitment table
in the runner registration area for the Carlsbad Marathon
(Carlsbad, California, USA) on January 20, 2007. The
marathon race took place on January 21, 2007. Inclusion
Research article
BETA-GLUCAN and immunity in marathoners
criteria included healthy, asymptomatic adults who were
marathon participants, and a completed informed consent
form. Exclusion criteria included those with current URTI
symptoms, injury, and inability to complete all question-
naires and current use of antibiotics or other “immune”
support products.
Dietary supplement
A placebo-controlled, double-blind design was employed
for this study. Each subject was evaluated for inclusion
and exclusion criteria, and included in the study only if
they met the appropriate criteria. Subjects began treat-
ment the day following the marathon race. Subjects were
randomly assigned, through a random number generator,
to either BETA-GLUCAN (250 mg, 500 mg; BETA
1,3/1,6 GLUCAN; commercial name Wellmune WGP®)
or a placebo group, immediately after enrolling in the
study. Placebo capsules were 250 mg of rice flour;
BETA-GLUCAN capsules were 250 mg of BETA 1,3/1,6
GLUCAN isolated from the yeast Saccharomyces cere-
visiae. Participants completed a baseline POMS and
health log questionnaire on the first day of the study.
Dosing was placebo, 250 mg or 500 mg BETA-GLUCAN
per day for 4 weeks. Subjects were instructed to self-
administer the allotted dose once daily in the morning, at
least 30 minutes prior to breakfast for a period of 4 weeks.
Following the 2- and 4-week administration periods,
subjects filled out the POMS test and a questionnaire style
health log. Subjects were instructed to maintain their
normal activity levels following the marathon.
Mood assessment
The Profile of Mood States is a validated psychometric
test, a sensitive measurement of mood in normal healthy
subjects, and has been employed in over 2,900 health
studies (McNair et al., 1971; 2003). The POMS profile
uses 65 adjective-based intensity scales that measures 6
mood factors: tension, depression, anger, fatigue, vigor
and confusion (McNair et al., 1971). The adjective re-
sponses and scores were measured on a 0–4 scale (0 = not
at all, 4 = extremely). Individual mood state factors were
assessed using specific adjective scales. For example, the
tension factor was assembled using responses to adjective
scales 2, 10, 16, 20, 22, 26, 27, 34 and 41 in conjunction
with the specified analysis. Other mood state factors used
responses to other adjectives including depression (15
adjectives), anger (12 adjectives), vigor (8 adjectives),
fatigue (7 adjectives) and confusion (7 adjectives). The
output of the POMS questionnaire is an assessment of the
positive and negative moods of each subject at the base-
line assessment, 2- and 4-week intervals of the study.
Combining the scores of all 6 mood state factors created a
global mood state. Data is reported for each mood state
and the global mood state.
Health log
Subjects completed a physical health questionnaire at
baseline, 2- and 4-week assessment periods. The health
log was a daily health perception log containing questions
related to overall health status and specific URTI symp-
toms. The URTI-related symptoms measured included
nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing,
cough, fatigue, headache, general malaise and body aches.
Subjects also responded to a supplement effectiveness
question: “During the course of the supplement regimen,
my health has been…:” Scores for the question were
based on a scale of 0–10 with 0 being worse, 5 being
same and 10 being better health. Subjects were also asked
to record various health codes in a daily log using a nu-
merical system ranging from no health problems to spe-
cific symptoms and rating for severity of the symptoms
(A = mild, B = moderate and C = severe). In addition to
the scaled questions, there were questions that evaluated
the annual number of illness episodes; e.g., Compared to
this time last year, do you feel that you generally have
____ episodes with the common cold or flu? Choices
were fewer, about the same or a greater number.
Data analysis
All questionnaires were mailed to a central location and
transcribed to a central database. Data was identified by
subject number and examined for accuracy and complete-
ness. Tabulated data was analyzed with StatView (SAS
Institute) using standard parametric statistical tests (paired
t-tests). Significance was set at p < 0.05.
All descriptive data is expressed as mean ± SD. Seventy-
five total subjects (35 male, 40 female; mean age 36
years, range 18–53 years) completed and returned all
questionnaires. Marathon runners in both BETA-
GLUCAN groups had statistically significant (p < 0.05)
improvements in measurements of physical health, in-
cluding reported URTI symptoms and overall health
Plac ebo 250mg BE TA-
500mg BE TA-
Subj ects reportin g URTI sym ptoms
Week 2
Week 4
Figure 1. Total number of subjects reporting any of 11 pre-
selected upper-respiratory tract infection symptoms. Sub-
jects orally administered placebo, 250 mg or 500 mg BETA-
GLUCAN. Data analysis was by paired t-tests. * p 0.05
URTI symptoms
Figure 1 shows data for subjects reporting URTI symp-
toms at 2- and 4 weeks post-marathon. There was a sig-
nificant (p < 0.05) decrease in URTI symptoms in both
BETA-GLUCAN treatment groups after 2- and 4-weeks.
After 2 weeks, 68% of subjects in the placebo group re-
ported symptoms associated with URTI, while only 32%
(250 mg) and 24% (500 mg) of the BETA-GLUCAN
Talbott and Talbott
groups reported similar URTI symptoms. Upper respira-
tory tract infections were reported by only 8% of subjects
in both treatment groups at week 4 versus 24% of placebo
subjects. The most common URTI symptoms reported by
subjects were sore throat, stuffy or runny nose and cough.
Compliance in completing the daily health log was not
sufficient to allow analysis of individual symptom scores.
Placebo 250mg B ETA-
500mg BETA-
Hedonic scale
Week 2
Week 4
Figure 2. Health score during BETA-GLUCAN administra-
tion. Subjects responded to 2 and 4 week supplement effec-
tiveness question: “During the course of the supplement
regimen, my health has been…:” Scores for the question
were based on a scale of 0–10 with 0 being worse, 5 being
same and 10 being better health. Data analysis was by paired t-
test. *p 0.05.
Health perception
When asked how the supplement regimen was affecting
their overall health, subjects taking 250 mg BETA-
GLUCAN reported 38% higher scores and subjects
administering 500 mg BETA-GLUCAN reported 58%
higher health scores compared to placebo (p < 0.05) Fig-
ure 2. Subjects were asked to rate how their health was
affected by the supplement (BETA-GLUCAN or placebo)
and asked to compare their current health status to their
typical health history, see Figure 3. Participants taking
250 mg BETA-GLUCAN rated their health 15% higher
versus placebo; subjects taking 500 mg BETA-GLUCAN
rated their health 44% higher as compared to placebo, p <
0.05. In addition to the scaled questions, there were ques-
tions that evaluated the annual number of illness episodes,
but compliance to these questions was poor and the data
obtained was not meaningful.
POMS assessment
The data analysis included an assessment of mood state at
baseline (day 0), 2-, and 4 weeks after treatment. As de-
scribed, the POMS survey consists of a number of adjec-
tive based scales. Significant mood state responses for
confusion (reduced), fatigue (reduced), vigor (increased),
and tension (reduced) were observed (Figure 4), p < 0.05.
BETA-GLUCAN generated a statistically significant
reduction in anger, p < 0.05, after 2 weeks on 500 mg.
There were no changes in depression after treatment.
Observed improvements included a 48% reduction
in fatigue for the 250 mg dose and 59% for the 500 mg
doses of BETA-GLUCAN compared to placebo after 4
weeks of treatment. Vigor increased after 2 and 4 weeks
of 500mg BETA GLUCAN, but no change in vigor oc-
curred in the 250 mg dose group. Subjects reported a
38% and 47% reduction in tension (250 mg and 500 mg
respectively) over the 4-week study period. Subjects also
reported a 38% and 45% reduction in confusion (250 mg
and 500 mg) respectively over the 4-week study period
compared to placebo. After 4 weeks, both the 250 mg and
500 mg doses reduced tension (p < 0.05), but only the 500
mg dose reduced tension after week 2 (p < 0.05). Anger
was only reduced after 2 weeks of treatment with the
500mg dose (p < 0.05).
Place bo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
Hedonic Scale
Week 2
Week 4
Figure 3. Overall health-score. Subjects responded to a 2-
and 4-week health status question: “At the end of this 2-
week period, how would you rate your overall health...?”
Scores for the question were based on a scale of 0-10 with 0
being worse, 5 being same and 10 being better health. Data
analysis was by paired t-test. *p 0.05.
The global mood state, a combination of 6 main
factors, improved after both the 250 mg dose at 4-weeks
and both 2- and 4-weeks in the 500 mg treatment groups
compared to placebo (Figure 5). The global mood state
improved by 11% for subjects taking 250 mg and 13% for
subjects taking 500 mg per day versus placebo, p < 0.05.
During the course of the 4-week treatment period, sub-
jects in both treatment groups, 250 mg and 500 mg
BETA-GLUCAN, reported fewer URTI symptoms, better
overall health and a more positive mood state compared
to placebo 4 weeks after completing a marathon.
Marathon runners and other athletes, whose ath-
letic activities cause significant physical stress, are more
susceptible to URTI (Nieman et al., 1990; Peters and
Bateman, 1983; Spence et al., 2007). Previous research
reported that nutritional supplementation can modulate
the health status of these high-performance athletes (Nie-
man and Bishop, 2006; Peters et al., 1993). In this study,
BETA-GLUCAN, a commercially available dietary sup-
plement, reduced the incidence of URTI symptoms and
had a positive impact on mood state as measured by the
POMS assessment. BETA-GLUCAN participants re-
ported both fewer URTI symptoms and a better overall
health status. The URTI symptoms reported by subjects
are typical of cold and flu symptoms, and analogous to
symptoms reported in other studies (Cohen et al., 1999;
Konig et al., 2000). Total URTI symptoms were summed
by subject, but individual symptoms could not be
BETA-GLUCAN and immunity in marathoners
Figure 4. Data analysis for specific POMS factors calculated from POMS score sheet. Data analysis was by paired t-test. Each factor
was determined using answers to specific adjective based scales as described in the Profile of Mood States manual by McNair et al., 1971.. A value of
p 0.05 was considered significant *p 0.05.
analyzed due to a lack of data. Well-established and clini-
cally valid techniques (POMS survey, URTI symptoms)
were used during the course of this study, while exploring
more subjective techniques such as the health status ques-
tions. Therefore, the results of the health status questions
(Figures 2 and 3) are valid and will be employed in future
Physical and psychological factors of subjects un-
dergoing stressful situations are reported to increase
URTI (Cohen et al., 1999; Konig et al., 2000). In all
cases, the subjects on BETA-GLUCAN experienced bet-
ter physical health and a significantly improved psycho-
logical status, including more positive feelings, than those
in the placebo group. The results of the POMS survey
suggest that subjects self-administering BETA-GLUCAN
(250 mg and 500 mg per day) reported reduced fatigue
and tension after 4 weeks and increased vigor for subjects
on the 500 mg dose. The confusion factor was reduced for
both treatment groups at 2- and 4-week intervals. In con-
trast, the anger and depression factors did not show statis-
tical significance at the 4-week reporting period, although
anger was reduced after 2 weeks in the 500 mg BETA-
GLUCAN treatment group. Previous research reported
that elite athletes training for a marathon experience a
non-significant deterioration in global mood state and
significantly decreased vigor and increased fatigue (Ach-
ten et al., 2004; Hassmen and Blomstrand, 1991). Al-
though there is little evidence that mood changes occur
after a strenuous exercise event, the global mood state
score continued to be elevated 4 weeks post-marathon in
the placebo group; while there were statistically signifi-
cant improvements in both BETA-GLUCAN groups at
the same time point. Our results suggest that BETA-
GLUCAN may ameliorate mood changes occurring after
heavy exercise exertion.
The POMS assessment for psychological health
strongly supported and mirrored the physical health as-
sessment. Illness and stress impact the immune system in
Placebo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
POMS score
Bas eline
Week 2
Week 4
Placebo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
POMS s core
Bas eline
Week 2
Week 4
Ange r
Placebo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
POMS s core
Bas eline
Week 2
Week 4
Placebo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
POMS s core
Bas eline
Week 2
Week 4
Fat ig ue
Placebo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
POMS s core
Base line
Week 2
Week 4
Confus ion
Placebo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
POMS score
Bas eline
Week 2
Week 4
Talbott and Talbott
both physical and psychological ways (Konig et al., 2000;
Strasner et al., 2001). The POMS methodology has been
used in more that 2,900 studies (McNair et al., 1971); thus
it has well-established validity. The survey instrument
employs 65 adjective based scales that are scored by sub-
jects without knowledge of how the scale scoring will be
analyzed. The POMS survey instrument assesses the
overall global mood state of subjects and provides feed-
back on specific moods and feelings such as tension,
depression, fatigue, vigor, confusion and anger.
Placebo 250mg BETA-
500mg BETA-
POMS score
Week 2
Week 4
Figure 5. The global mood state was calculated based on
scoring (0-4 with 0 = not at all, 2 = moderately and 4 = ex-
tremely) answers to 58 of the 65 adjectives. Data analysis was
by paired t-test. *p 0.05
BETA-GLUCAN improves immune function in a
variety of animal models (Hetland et al., 1998; Hong et
al., 2004;Kernodle et al., 1998; Vetvicka et al., 2002;
2008). Research by Vetvicka et al. (2002) demonstrated
that BETA-GLUCAN helped prevent anthrax infection
and mortality in mice. Additional studies support further
antibacterial (Kernodle et al., 1998) and anti-tumor prop-
erties (Hong et al., 2004; Vetvicka et al., 2008). Other
dietary supplements may reduce URTI symptoms (Cox et
al., 2008; Kekkonen et al., 2007; Peters et al., 1993), i.e.,
zinc treatment reduced duration and severity of cold
symptoms (Prasad et al., 2000). Probiotics (Lactobacillus
rhamnosus) given 3 months prior to a marathon race had
no effect on URTI symptoms or duration (Kekkonen et
al., 2007). However a different probiotic (Lactobacillus
fermentum) reduced the severity and duration of URTI in
elite athletes (Cox et al., 2008). Vitamin C supplementa-
tion in ultramarathoners reduced the duration and severity
of URTI when taken 21 days before an ultramarathon (90
km) (Peters et al., 1993).
A recent study reported no change in self-reported
URTI symptoms in endurance athletes given a BETA-
GLUCAN supplement for 18 days (Nieman et al., 2008).
Beta-glucan was administered at 5.6 g·day-1 in a 600 ml
beverage containing Gatorade® and Oatvantage®, a 54%
oat BETA-GTLUCAN concentrate. Subjects ingested the
supplements in two 300 ml doses each day before their
first and last meals on an empty stomach. Nieman, et al.,
2008 reported no changes in natural killer cell activity,
polymorphonuclear respiratory burst activity, phytohe-
magglutinin-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation, plasma
interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-10, IL-1 receptor agonist (IL-1ra),
and IL-8, and blood leukocyte IL-10, IL-8, and IL-1ra
mRNA expression. This study is different from the pre-
sent study in timing, chemical composition, and dosing
making direct comparisons difficult. The current study
administered the supplement after a marathon, whereas
Nieman, et al., 2008 gave the supplement before strenu-
ous exercise. Nieman, et al., 2008 gave a 600 ml beverage
supplement, containing Gatorade® and Oatvantage®
(soluble oat derived beta-glucan), whereas the current
study administered 2 different doses (250 mg and 500mg)
insoluble yeast-derived beta-glucan supplement (WGP®3-
6). Soluble and insoluble BETA-GLUCANS may stimu-
late the immune system differently (Rice et al., 2005).
The current study suggests that yeast derived BETA-
GLUCAN may be effective in preventing URTI in ath-
letes, while oat derived BETA-GLUCAN is not.
In this study, BETA-GLUCAN significantly decreased
URTI incidence and improve mood state compared to
placebo. Daily supplementation with BETA-GLUCAN
reduced the incidence of symptoms associated with upper
respiratory tract infections and improved the psychologi-
cal well being of participants. Additional research is
needed to investigate the ability of BETA-GLUCAN to
reduce the incidence of URTI in high-performance ath-
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Key points
Beta-Glucan supplementation maintains immune
function in endurance athletes.
Beta-Glucan supplementation reduces post-exercise
URTIs in marathon runners.
Maintenance of post-exercise immune function is
associated with improved mood state, including re-
duced fatigue and increased vigor in athletes.
Research Director for SupplementWatch /
GLH Nutrition, based near Salt Lake City,
Research interests
Dietary supplements.
Talbott and Talbott
Director of Operations for SupplementWatch / GLH Nutri-
Research interests
Dietary supplements.
Shawn Talbott
SupplementWatch / GLH Nutrition, LLC, 648 Rocky Knoll,
Draper, UT 84020, USA
... When ingested, ßglucan serves as a mimetic of microbial surface structures that activate pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) present in immune cells, such as fungal ß-glucan that activates C-type-Lectin-like receptor (Dectin 1) [24], and subsequently results in enhanced immunity should these cells subsequently encounter with invading pathogens. This "priming" effect works well for individuals who are immune-compromised and/or those who are facing immune challenges, such as athletes who are going through high intensity training [25][26][27][28][29], people with repeated upper respiratory tract infections [30,31], surgical patients [32,33], and mentally stressed [34] and older [35] individuals. Nonetheless, assuming the infection has already taken place, immune cell stimulation by pathogens will preclude or decrease the mimicry effect of ß-glucan. ...
... Nevertheless, research surrounding the prophylactic use of these TUMHS is sparse. To the best of our knowledge, only a few clinical trials of this kind are available in the literature, including those on the use of β-glucan to forestall infections [25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35], GLP1R [118][119][120] and AMPK [121] inducers to decrease postprandial hyperglycemia, PPARα agonist (bezafibrate) to prevent type 2 diabetes [122], and Nrf2 inducers to protects against stresses such as chemotherapy [123], air pollution [124], and intense exercise [125] in relevant at-risk individuals. This is unfortunate since if one considers the fundamental mechanism that these drugs depend on, i.e., by eliciting an adaptive response that is ordinarily induced by a stress signal, these drugs would be less effective, or ineffective, in situations where the stress is already in place and has progressed to a disease stage. ...
Homeostasis was initially conceptualized by Bernard and Cannon around a century ago as a steady state of physiological parameters that vary within a certain range, such as blood pH, body temperature, and heart rate1,2. The underlying mechanisms that maintain homeostasis are explained by negative feedbacks that are executed by the neuronal, endocrine, and immune systems. At the cellular level, homeostasis, such as that of redox and energy steady state, also exists and is regulated by various cell signaling pathways. The induction of homeostatic mechanism is critical for human to adapt to various disruptive insults (stressors); while on the other hand, adaptation occurs at the expense of other physiological processes and thus runs the risk of collateral damages, particularly under conditions of chronic stress. Conceivably, anti-stress protection can be achieved by stressor-mimicking medicinals that elicit adaptive responses prior to an insult and thereby serve as health risk countermeasures; and in situations where maladaptation may occur, downregulating medicinals could be used to suppress the responses and prevent subsequent pathogenesis. Both strategies are preemptive interventions particularly suited for individuals who carry certain lifestyle, environmental, or genetic risk factors. In this article, we will define and characterize a new modality of prophylactic intervention that forestalls diseases via modulating homeostatic signaling. Moreover, we will provide evidence from the literature that support this concept and distinguish it from other homeostasis-related interventions such as adaptogen, hormesis, and xenohormesis.
... Clinical trials, including baker's yeast β-glucan, indicated favourable benefits for upper respiratory tract infections [71,72]. Administration of β-glucan from brewer's yeast in two randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials reduced the incidence of common cold episodes in healthy subjects. ...
... Results demonstrated that supplementation with β-glucan over 16 weeks reduced the severity of physical URTI symptoms during the first week of an episode [4]. When yeast β-glucans were distributed to the older population to observe their effects on upper respiratory tract infections, fewer illness episodes in treatment groups than in the control were observed [71,76]. ...
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β-glucans are a large class of complex polysaccharides with bioactive properties, including immune modulation. Natural sources of these compounds include yeast, oats, barley, mushrooms, and algae. Yeast is abundant in various processes, including fermentation, and they are often discarded as waste products. The production of biomolecules from waste resources is a growing trend worldwide with novel waste resources being constantly identified. Yeast-derived β-glucans may assist the host’s defence against infections by influencing neutrophil and macrophage inflammatory and antibacterial activities. β-glucans were long regarded as an essential anti-cancer therapy and were licensed in Japan as immune-adjuvant therapy for cancer in 1980 and new mechanisms of action of these molecules are constantly emerging. This paper outlines yeast β-glucans’ immune-modulatory and anti-cancer effects, production and extraction, and their availability in waste streams.
... Pectic polysaccharide consumption is also associated with improved intestinal barrier function resulting in prevention of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) entry into the circulation and reduction of influence of systemic inflammation on the brain. Supplementation with a Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan (250 mg, commercially available as Wellmune WGP ® ) for 4 weeks improved overall health, increased vigour, and reduced fatigue, tension, anger, and confusion, compared to 250 mg of rice flour placebo (Talbott and Talbott 2009). ...
... The total severity of URTI symptoms over the test period was significantly lower for the subjects provided with the insoluble ß-glucan. A final study involving athletes also investigated the administration of insoluble ß-glucan from yeast (216). The ß-glucan was provided in capsules, as was the rice flour placebo, at a dose of 250 or 500 mg per day for four weeks; a significantly reduced number of subjects reported URTI symptoms after two and four weeks of b-glucan when compared to the control group. ...
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Respiratory infections place a heavy burden on the health care system, particularly in the winter months. Individuals with a vulnerable immune system, such as very young children and the elderly, and those with an immune deficiency, are at increased risk of contracting a respiratory infection. Most respiratory infections are relatively mild and affect the upper respiratory tract only, but other infections can be more serious. These can lead to pneumonia and be life-threatening in vulnerable groups. Rather than focus entirely on treating the symptoms of infectious disease, optimizing immune responsiveness to the pathogens causing these infections may help steer towards a more favorable outcome. Nutrition may have a role in such prevention through different immune supporting mechanisms. Nutrition contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, with various nutrients acting as energy sources and building blocks during the immune response. Many micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) act as regulators of molecular responses of immune cells to infection. It is well described that chronic undernutrition as well as specific micronutrient deficiencies impair many aspects of the immune response and make individuals more susceptible to infectious diseases, especially in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. In addition, other dietary components such as proteins, pre-, pro- and synbiotics, and also animal- and plant-derived bioactive components can further support the immune system. Both the innate and adaptive defense systems contribute to active antiviral respiratory tract immunity. The initial response to viral airway infections is through recognition by the innate immune system of viral components leading to activation of adaptive immune cells in the form of cytotoxic T cells, the production of neutralizing antibodies and the induction of memory T and B cell responses. The aim of this review is to describe the effects of a range different dietary components on anti-infective innate as well as adaptive immune responses and to propose mechanisms by which they may interact with the immune system in the respiratory tract.
... Administration of b-glucan has been shown to correlate with improved respiratory symptoms (105,106). For example, a study demonstrated that marathon runners who received b-glucan postmarathon reported fewer respiratory symptoms (107). Currently, one clinical trial is investigating ABBC1, a b-glucan dietary supplement, as a potential supplement for improving the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination ( Table 2). ...
Full-text available
Effectively treating infectious diseases often requires a multi-step approach to target different components involved in disease pathogenesis. Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global health crisis that requires a comprehensive understanding of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection to develop effective therapeutics. One potential strategy to instill greater immune protection against COVID-19 is boosting the innate immune system. This boosting, termed trained immunity, employs immune system modulators to train innate immune cells to produce an enhanced, non-specific immune response upon reactivation following exposure to pathogens, a process that has been studied in the context of in vitro and in vivo clinical studies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evaluation of the underlying pathways that are essential to inducing protective trained immunity will provide insight into identifying potential therapeutic targets that may alleviate the COVID-19 crisis. Here we review multiple immune training agents, including Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), β-glucan, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and the two most popular cell types involved in trained immunity, monocytes and natural killer (NK) cells, and compare the signaling pathways involved in innate immunity. Additionally, we discuss COVID-19 trained immunity clinical trials, emphasizing the potential of trained immunity to fight SARS-CoV-2 infection. Understanding the mechanisms by which training agents activate innate immune cells to reprogram immune responses may prove beneficial in developing preventive and therapeutic targets against COVID-19.
... In another study, Mah et al. had found that consumption of dairy-based beverages containing b-glucan had decreased URTI symptomatic days, the severity of specific URTI symptoms, and missed post-marathon workout days caused by URTI after intense exercise training . Talbott et al. had similarly illustrated that b-glucan supplementation could maintain the immune system function and consequently reduce post-exercise URTIs in marathon runners (Talbott & Talbott, 2009). ...
Use of some sports supplements can inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2), a receptor for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), as reviewed through molecular docking and sequent molecular dynamics (MD) simulations against this condition. The crystal structures of ACE2 receptors of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, applied in docking analysis, were taken from the Protein Data Bank (PDB). The receptors were then prepared using the Molecular Operating Environment (MOE), as a drug-discovery software platform for docking. Supplements such as quercetin and beta glucan (β-glucan) were the top docked compounds to ACE2 receptor though they strongly interacted with CoV target protein. The study data showed that immune responses to immunonutrient-based sports compounds (viz. quercetin and β-glucan) in Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were essential in mounting successful immune responses by athletes. While awaiting the development of an effective vaccine, there is a need to focus on immunonutrient-based sports supplements as preventive and therapeutic options that can be implemented in a safe and quick manner to bolster immune responses in athletes. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma
... Other studies provide supporting evidence that prebiotics modulate brain function in a manner that would be consistent with desired improvements in symptoms of AD but were not necessarily linked with or did not examine gut microbiome composition. Beta-glucans from yeasts, plants or cereals have been shown to have beneficial health effects on the profile of mood state in healthy individuals [181,182]. Plant polysaccharides, which mainly consist of non-starch polysaccharides found in foods were shown to have effect on healthy adults, improving their recognition and memory performance [183,184]. Polydextrose, which is a synthesized prebiotic, was supplemented in healthy females and showed moderate improvement in cognition as well as significant change in abundance of Ruminiclostridium 5 compared to the placebo group [185]. ...
Full-text available
The gut microbiome has recently emerged as a critical modulator of brain function, with the so-called gut-brain axis having multiple links with a variety of neurodegenerative and mental health conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Various approaches for modulating the gut microbiome toward compositional and functional states that are consistent with improved cognitive health outcomes have been documented, including probiotics and prebiotics. While probiotics are live microorganisms that directly confer beneficial health effects, prebiotics are oligosaccharide and polysaccharide structures that can beneficially modulate the gut microbiome by enhancing the growth, survival, and/or function of gut microbes that in turn have beneficial effects on the human host. In this review, we discuss evidence showing the potential link between gut microbiome composition and AD onset or development, provide an overview of prebiotic types and their roles in altering gut microbial composition, discuss the effectiveness of prebiotics in regulating gut microbiome composition and microbially derived metabolites, and discuss the current evidence linking prebiotics with health outcomes related to AD in both animal models and human trials. Though there is a paucity of human clinical trials demonstrating the effectiveness of prebiotics in altering gut microbiome-mediated health outcomes in AD, current evidence highlights the potential of various prebiotic approaches for beneficially altering the gut microbiota or gut physiology by promoting the production of butyrate, indoles, and secondary bile acid profiles that further regulate gut immunity and mucosal homeostasis, which are associated with beneficial effects on the central immune system and brain functionality.
... Included in this category of prebiotics are garlic, onion, leaks, chicory root, jicama, asparagus, The representatives of commercially available prebiotics as nutritional supplements are inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) [63]. Prebiotics promote the growth and health of gut microbiota and significantly improved cognitive function and mood in healthy middle-aged adults [64]. FOS and GOS increase the expression of hippocampal neurotrophic factor and NMDA receptor subunits [65]. ...
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Eukaryotes and microbiota produce H2S, using the same substrates and enzymes which constitute the reverse-trans-sulfuration and transsulfuration pathways. The homeostasis of gut microbiota impacts on the structural and functional integrity of gut epithelial barrier. Microbiota also serve as signalling sources to inform the host of the metabolism and functional changes. Microbiota dysbiosis negatively affect human health, contributing to diseases like obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, and asthma. Not by coincidence, these pathological conditions are also closely related to the abnormal metabolism and function of H2S signalling.H2S serves as a bacterial signal to the host and the host-produced H2S impacts on the population and size of microbiota. These bi-directional interactions become especially important for the digestion and utilization of sulfur amino acid in diet. Dietary restriction of sulfur amino acid increases the endogenous production of H2S by the host and consequently offers many health benefits. It, on the other hand, decreases the nutritional supply to the microbiota, which could be remedied by the co-application of prebiotics and probiotics. It is strategically sound to target the expression of H2S-producing enzymes in different organs to slow aging processes in our body and promote better health.
The bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract which forms the gut microbiome plays a vital role in maintaining body homeostasis and health of the host. Any change in the normal gut microbiome composition and function imposes gut dysbiosis, defined as an imbalance of the bacteria in the gut. The central nervous system (CNS) and the gut microbiome are in constant bidirectional communication involving endocrine, neuronal, and immunological mechanisms forming the gut–brain axis (GBA). Emerging preclinical studies suggest that gut dysbiosis may result in GBA dysfunction leading to neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases, as well as age-related cognitive decline. Therefore, modulation of gut microbiota composition and functionality offers a promising tool for treating or managing gut dysbiosis and in turn achieving a healthy gut–brain axis. Use of prebiotics is gaining attention as the most robust and safe method of achieving such modulation. Prebiotics refer to non-digestible food ingredients predominately some fermentable carbohydrates that can selectively modulate the composition and/or activity of the microbiota of the gut, thus conferring beneficial physiological effects on the host. The metabolism of prebiotics by the gut microbiome induces changes in the gut barrier integrity and promotes the release of metabolites (mainly SCFAs) contributing to the improvement of host health, particularly in the context of GBA. In this chapter, we discuss the concept of prebiotics, microbiota modulation by prebiotics, and the impact prebiotics on GBA.
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The task in treating acute nasopharyngitis (ANP) deals with reducing the disease symptoms and the risk of complications. The lack of reliable antiviral drugs makes it important to search for appropriate medicines among other pharmacotherapeutic groups. The study involves a comparative analysis of the efficiency and estimates potential: the recombinant interferon α2b and the compound containing fungal β-D-glucans used in treat ANP The studies involved patients with ANP from 18 to 55 years old. As many as 152 people were examined including the following: 38 were practically healthy people (group 1); and 114 patients wuth ANP: 38 people (group 2) was subject to a standard therapy (vasoconstrictor nasal drops, nasal cavity irrigation using 0.1% Miramistine solution, gargling using the Furacilin solution); forty people (group 3) were administered application of intranasal interferon α2b of 10 ⁵ IU, it was delivered with a spray into each nasal passage twice a day; 36 people (group 4) were administered an immunotropic drug containing β-D-glucans orally twice a day. The duration of drug administration lasted 7 days. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to identify the ANP etiological factor. Concentrations of cytokines IL-1β, IL-1ra were estimated using enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) technique. Clinical efficiency was assessed through score approach. The following symptoms were taken into account: general malaise, sore throat, character of nasal discharge, and the difficulty of nasal breathing. The results of the study were analyzed using parametric and nonparametric statistical methods. In 60.0% the nasal secretions of patients revealed RV. The distribution of cytokine concentrations in nasal secretions in group 1 indicated that the concentration of IL-1β was in the range of 20.0-25.0 pg/ml, and the concentration of IL-1ra was about 1250.0-2500.0 pg/ml. Developing ANP stimulated an increase in IL-1β concentration up to 30.0-70.0 pg/ml in nasal secretions of patients without affecting IL-1ra concentrations. On day 7 of treatment, the cytokine concentrations among the patients treated using the immunotropic drugs were the same as in the group of healthy individuals. There were no significant changes in cytokine production on day 7 in the group of patients undergoing the standard treatment. Application of proposed immunobiological medicines to ANP does not result in overproduction of proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β in nasal secretion. This confirms that these drugs are promising in the treating strategy including reduction of the risk of developing complications.
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Glucans have a long history as nonspecific biological modulators. We compared the effects of three different glucans on immune reactions. Using two different administrations (intraperitoneal and oral) and two different animal models, we showed that yeast-derived Betamune (Biorigin, São Paulo, Brazil) caused significant stimulation of phagocytic activity as well as potentiation of synthesis and release of interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-13, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. In addition, Betamune inhibited growth of tumor cells in vivo and affected expression of several important genes in breast cancer cells. Compared to adult mice, young animals showed different sensitivity to glucan action.
Objective: The purpose of this study is to assess the role of psychological stress in the expression of illness among infected subjects and to test the plausibility of local proinflammatory cytokine production as a pathway linking stress to illness. Methods: After completing a measure of psychological stress, 55 subjects were experimentally infected with an influenza A virus. Subjects were monitored in quarantine daily for upper respiratory symptoms, mucus production, and nasal lavage levels of interleukin (IL)-6. Results: Higher psychological stress assessed before the viral challenge was associated with greater symptom scores, greater mucus weights, and higher IL-6 lavage concentrations in response to infection. The IL-6 response was temporally related to the two markers of illness severity, and mediation analyses indicated that these data were consistent with IL-6 acting as a major pathway through which stress was associated with increased symptoms of illness. However, this pattern of data is also consistent with increases in IL-6 occurring in response to tissue damage associated with illness symptoms. Conclusions: Psychological stress predicts a greater expression of illness and an increased production of IL-6 in response to an upper respiratory infection.
Background Postoperative infections remain common after high-risk gastrointestinal procedures. PGG-glucan (Betafectin; Alpha Beta Technology Inc, Worcester, Mass), derived from yeast cell walls, promotes phagocytosis and intracellular killing of bacterial pathogens by leukocytes, prevents infection in an animal model of wound infection, and acts synergistically with antibiotics to reduce mortality in rat peritonitis.Hypothesis We hypothesized that infectious complications in these patients might be reduced by the administration of a nonspecific immune-enhancing agent.Design Multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 1249 patients prospectively stratified into colorectal or noncolorectal strata.Setting Thirty-nine medical centers throughout the United States.Patients Aged 18 years or older, scheduled for gastrointestinal procedure lasting 2 to 8 hours, with 2 or more defined risk factors.Interventions PGG-glucan, 0.5 mg/kg or 1.0 mg/kg, or placebo once preoperatively and 3 times postoperatively. All patients received standardized antibiotic prophylaxis.Main Outcome Measures Serious infection or death within 30 days.Results All randomized patients revealed no difference in serious infections and deaths in the treated groups compared with placebo groups (15% vs 14%, P>.90). In the prospectively defined noncolorectal stratum (n=391), PGG-glucan administration was associated with a statistically significant relative reduction (39%) in serious infections and death (placebo, 46 [36%] of 129 vs either PGG-glucan group, 29 [21%] of 132 and 28 [22%] of 130, P<.02). PGG-glucan reduced postoperative infection or death in malnourished patients having noncolorectal procedures (31 [44%] of 70, placebo group; 16 [24%] of 68, 0.5-mg/kg PGG-glucan group; 12 [17%] of 72, 1.0-mg/kg PGG-glucan group; P<.001). Study drug was stopped owing to adverse effects more frequently for patients receiving PGG-glucan than placebo (2%, 4%, and 7% for the placebo group, 0.5-mg/kg PGG-glucan group, and 1.0-mg/kg PGG-glucan group, respectively, P<.003).Conclusion Perioperative administration of PGG-glucan reduced serious postoperative infections or death by 39% after high-risk noncolorectal operations.
Exhaustive exercise has been associated with an increased risk for URTI. Oat beta-glucan is a mild immune system enhancer and may offset immune suppression associated with exercise stress. Purpose: To test the effects of oat beta-glucan (ObetaG) on respiratory infection, macrophage antiviral resistance, and NK cytotoxicity. Methods: Mice were randomly assigned to one of four groups: Ex-H2O, Ex-ObetaG, Con-H2O, or Con-ObetaG. ObetaG was fed in the drinking water for 10 d before intranasal inoculation of HSV-1 or sacrifice. Exercise consisted of treadmill running to volitional fatigue (similar to140 min) for three consecutive days. Fifteen minutes after the last bout of exercise or rest, mice (N = 24) were intranasally inoculated with a standardized dose of HSV-1. Mice were monitored twice daily for morbidity and mortality. Additional mice were sacrificed after exercise, peritoneal macrophages were obtained via i.p. lavage and assayed for antiviral resistance to HSV-1 (N = 18), and spleens were harvested and assayed for NK cell cytotoxicity (N = 12). Results: Exercise stress was associated with a 28% increase in morbidity (P = 0.036) and 18% increase in mortality (P = 0.15). Ingestion of ObetaG before infection prevented this increase in morbidity (P = 0.048) and mortality (P = 0.05). Exercise stress was associated with a decrease in macrophage antiviral resistance (P = 0.007), which was blocked by ingestion of ObetaG (P < 0.001). There were no effects of exercise or ObetaG on NK cytotoxicity. Conclusion: These data suggest that daily ingestion of ObetaG may offset the increased risk of URTI associated with exercise stress, which may be mediated, at least in part, by an increase in macrophage antiviral resistance.
The judicious use of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis reduces the infectious complications of surgery. However, increased bacterial resistance within hospitals may make antibiotic prophylaxis less effective in the future and alternative strategies are needed. New immunomodulatory agents might prevent wound infections by stimulation of the host immune system. To test this hypothesis, we administered poly-[1-6]-beta-D-glucopyranosyl- [1-3] -beta-D-glucopyranose glucan (PGG glucan), which enhances neutrophil microbicidal activity, intravenously to guinea pigs in doses ranging from 0.015 to 4 mg/kg of body weight on the day before, on the day of, and on the day after intermuscular inoculation with methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Abscesses were identified at 72 h, and median infective doses (ID50) and statistical significance were determined by logistic regression. Guinea pigs receiving PGG glucan and inoculated with methicillin-resistant S. aureus and S. epidermidis exhibited ID50 of as much as 2.5- and 60-fold higher, respectively, than those of control guinea pigs not receiving PGG glucan. Maximal protection was observed with a dose of 1 mg of PGG glucan per kg, and efficacy was reduced at higher as well as at lower PGG glucan doses. Furthermore, a single dose of PGG glucan given 24 h following bacterial inoculation was found to be effective in preventing infection. We conclude that PGG glucan reduces the risk of staphylococcal abscess formation. Neutrophil-activating agents are a novel means of prophylaxis against surgical infection and may be less likely than antibiotics to be affected adversely by the increasing antibiotic resistance of nosocomial pathogens.
Regular exercise is said to have positive effects on mood, especially if the exercise intensity is low to moderate. However, the acute effects resulting from participation in a strenuous competition, such as a marathon race, have been studied less. The present investigation used the Profile of Mood States (POMS) test to measure mood, before and after the 1989 Stockholm Marathon. A total of 106 male runners (mean age 40.0 years), with finishing times between 3h and 3h 45 min participated as subjects. Results showed great changes between pre- and post-marathon scores, most of them significant at the p less than 0.001 level. Furthermore, differences between a faster and a slower group of runners were demonstrated with regard to mood states, even though plasma glucose levels were comparable. It is concluded that participation in a marathon race greatly effects mood, mainly in a more negative way than low to moderately intense exercise does.