A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Nutritional Study Using an Insoluble Yeast Beta-Glucan to Improve the Immune Defense System


Purpose: In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial, the effect of an insoluble yeast beta-glucan preparation on the incidences of common colds and its effect on common cold symptoms were compared to placebo. Methods: 100 healthy participants with recurring infections were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or yeast beta-glucan (Yestimun?; n = 50 each group) over a period of 26 weeks. The subjects had to document each common cold episode in a diary, and rate 6 predefined infections symptoms on a 3-point rating scale during an infection period, resulting in an infection score. The common cold episodes were confirmed by the investigators. Results: A total of 171 common cold episodes were documented. Of these, 76 were experienced by 38 subjects in the beta-glucan group and 96 were experienced by 48 subjects in the placebo group (p = 0.406). The beta-glucan group had significantly more subjects without incidences of common cold than the placebo group (15.6% vs 2.0%; p = 0.019). During the most intense infection season (first 13 weeks of the study), the beta-glucan group had significantly less infections compared to placebo (p = 0.02). Beta-glucan significantly reduced the typical cold symptoms (“sore throat and/or difficulty swallowing”, “hoarseness and/or cough” and “runny nose”) as opposed to placebo. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates a prophylactic effect of yeast beta-glucan on the occurrence of common colds as opposed to placebo. In addition, when these episodes occurred, they were from the beginning less pronounced and subsided faster.

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H. Graubaum, R. Busch, H. Stier and J. Gruenwald, "A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Nutritional Study Using an Insoluble Yeast Beta-Glucan to Improve the Immune Defense System," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 6, 2012, pp. 738-746. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.36100.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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