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Yeast beta-glucan shows benefits for ragweed allergy sufferers

By Stephen DANIELLS , 04-Jan-2013
Last updated on 07-Feb-2013 at 22:37 GMT

Yeast beta-glucan shows benefits for ragweed allergy sufferers

Supplements of the beta-glucan based ingredient Wellmune WGP may reduce symptoms and severity of ragweed allergy, and boost overall ‘quality of life’, says a new study.

Four weeks of supplementation with Biothera’s branded ingredient were associated with a 28% and 52% reduction in total allergy symptoms and symptom severity, respectively, according to findings published in Food Science & Nutrition .

The supplement was also associated with improved sleep, reduced nasal and eye symptoms, better mood, and increased vigor, report researchers from Utah-based GLH Nutrition, LLC.

“The potential usefulness of beta-glucan as a food additive is supported by work showing that yeast beta-glucan exhibits immune-modulating function; however, our study is one of few that have investigated whether beta-glucan can alleviate the symptoms of allergic disease,” wrote the researchers, led by Shawn Talbott, PhD.

The ingredient

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.

“Beta-glucans can be given orally, are typically less costly than immunotherapies, and have fewer side effects than immunotherapies,” explained Dr Talbott and his co-workers. “Furthermore, they occur naturally, and are effective.”

The new study, funded by Biothera, tested the effects of the ingredient in people with self-described ‘moderate’ ragweed allergy. Forty-eight participants with an average age of 36 were randomly assigned to receive either 250 milligrams per day of Wellmune WGP or 250 mg per day of rice flour (placebo) for four weeks.

While the supplements had no effect on IgE levels, allergy symptoms and severity decreased significantly, as measured by the Visual Analog Scale, for the Wellmune group, compared with placebo.

In addition, measures of quality of life improved by 56% in the beta-glucan group, compared with placebo, while

Study participants given WGP reported increased physical health (11%), energy (19%), and emotional well-being (7%) compared with study participants given the placebo (RAND SF-36 Medical Outcomes Study). The WGP group also reported decreased sleep problems (53%), reduced nasal symptoms (59%), eye symptoms (57%), non-nasal symptoms (50%), activities (53%), emotions (57%), and improved quality of life (QOL) (56%), as well as improved global mood state (13%).

Encouraging

“The findings suggest that Wellmune WGP can play an effective role in reducing seasonal allergy symptoms among ragweed allergy sufferers,” said Dr Talbott. “While these results are encouraging, additional studies including more study participants should be conducted.”

The results were welcomed by Biothera CEO Richard Mueller. “A daily regimen including all-natural Wellmune WGP is well-documented to safely support immune health, a key contributor to overall health and well-being,” he said.

“Given the important role immune modulation plays in managing symptoms, allergy sufferers who choose foods, beverages and supplements with clinically proven immune support can help ease their discomfort during allergy season.”

Source: Food Science & Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/fsn3.11
“β-Glucan supplementation, allergy symptoms, and quality of life in self-described ragweed allergy sufferers”
Authors: S.M. Talbott, J.A. Talbott, T.L. Talbott, E. Dingler

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