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Study: Yeast beta-glucan boosts cold-fighting potential 25%

By Shane Starling , 30-Jan-2013
Last updated on 31-Jan-2013 at 11:27 GMT2013-01-31T11:27:04Z

Study sponsor Leiber is hoping this study and others will convince EFSA that yeast beta-glucans can reduce the incidence of colds
Study sponsor Leiber is hoping this study and others will convince EFSA that yeast beta-glucans can reduce the incidence of colds

Yeast beta-glucan increases the body’s ability to fight pathogens, and showed a 25% better record of cold-fighting compared to placebo in a new German study.

Using 162 healthy patients split into control and study groups, the study noted efficacy was rated better than placebo by participants and physicians.

The study, published in European Journal of Nutrition, was funded by German firm Leiber which has a European Union health claim for the ingredient in process at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Leiber’s EFSA submission for its Yestimun yeast beta-glucan includes the present study and builds on an earlier article 13.5 submission EFSA’s health claims panel rejected in 2010.

On that occasion, EFSA said mechanisms of action had not been adequately demonstrated under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR), and that an ad-hoc analysis that adjusted for seasonality variables did not in fact remove potential diagnostic error.

Leiber said it has learnt from that rejection and commissioning this trial with leading contract research organisation and consultancy, analyse & realize, was part of its strategy to change the EFSA ruling.  

Study details

The study took place during the winter of 2010-2011 and used people of all ages (from 18 to 70) but they must have had a susceptibility to cold infections – at least three in the past six months. Those with acute conditions like chronic coughs or asthma were excluded.

At seven different study centres in Germany the study group received two 900mg tablets of Yestimun per day, while the placebo group received a 900mg maltodextrin supplement.

They were checked at baseline, eight and then 16 weeks as well as on the 5th day of reported cold episodes.

As well as the 25% lower number of infections in the study group, the severity of infections was also reduced.

A cold episode was defined by the occurrence of at least two of the following cold symptoms: sore throat, feeling of lump in the throat/difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, cough, rhinorrhea or nasal congestion.

In referencing the previous study as well as the current one, the researchers concluded that, "a reduction in common cold episodes by 20–25 % was independently demonstrated for two independent study populations in two different winter seasons, which underlines the robustness of the effect and biological relevance of this yeast (1,3)-(1,6)-beta-glucan preparation."

Source: European Journal of Nutrition

DOI 10.1007/s00394-013-0492-z

‘Yeast (1,3)-(1,6)-beta-glucan helps to maintain the body’s defence against pathogens’

Authors: Linda Riede, Gordana Bothe, Regina Busch, Joerg Gruenwald

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