Results of a human trial soon to be published in the clinical journal Nutrition1 suggest that Wellmune (Beloit, WI), a natural beta 1,3/1,6 glucan dietary supplement ingredient derived from a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast, leads to fewer upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and shorter duration of URTI symptoms in older adults. The ingredient is supplied by Kerry (Beloit, WI).
Researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom conducted the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the height of cold and flu season, working with a subject pool of 100 healthy adults aged 50 to 70 years. The subjects consumed 250 mg of Wellmune or a placebo daily for 90 days, and evaluations at the end of that period showed that the supplementation regime both protected the elderly subjects against URTIs and reduced the duration of any URTIs that did occur.
With the world’s population rapidly aging, a host of accompanying health concerns are placing a burden on healthcare systems—and offering supplement manufacturers an opportunity for product innovation. As Donald Cox, PhD, Wellmune’s director of R&D, notes in a company press release, “As we age, our immune system slows and impacts the body’s ability to fight off health challenges such as respiratory infections.”
The current study, he says, “not only demonstrates the immune-health benefits Wellmune can provide older adults but builds upon on a body of published research showing Wellmune can improve general immune health.” What’s more, it enables developers in the supplement field to create products “that meet the demands of a growing consumer segment, so seniors can be well and stay well,” he says.
The study’s authors surmise that the supplement’s benefits may be associated with its effect on innate immune function, but they call for larger studies to further confirm the results.
Fuller R et al. “Yeast-derived beta 1,3/1,6 glucan, upper respiratory tract infection and innate immunity in older adults.” Nutrition. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2017.03.003.