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Study: Baker’s yeast beta glucan decreases episodes of common childhood illness in children of 1 to 4 years old during cold-season

Infections, especially infections in the upper respiratory tracts (URTI) are common with young children because of their narrow airways and developing lungs and immune systems (1). The overall incidence of acute respiratory infection with children younger than 5 years appeared to be 2.5 episodes per child per year, of which 2.2 per child per year took place in the upper respiratory tracts (2). According to a survey conducted in China, there were 3.1 episodes of a normal cold per year per child younger than 7 years and most occurred during the autumn and winter months (3). In addition to vaccines and drugs, there are a lot of foods and nutritional supplements intended to improve the immune system of children and lower the chance of getting common childhood illness (4).
Baker’s yeast beta glucan (BYBG) has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects and that it decreases the number of URTI symptoms at adults (5-8). Now, a study conducted in China has shown that when children use BYBG, they have a lower chance at a common childhood illness.
This study is conducted by the pediatric department of the Chang Ping women and children’s hospital in Beijing. In this study, 174 children between 12 and 48 months old were analyzed. All of these children had a history with URTIs, but were healthy on the moment the research started. For 12 weeks long all of these children were given a glass of water with 5 grams of dissolved powder each day. One half of these children were given BYBG and the other half were given a placebo.
Subsequently, the children were observed for symptoms in the following categories: respiratory system; urinary system; digestive system; aches; general symptom; any other symptoms. The number of URTI and other common infectious diseases episodes were also kept track off.
During the study, 18 children stopped prematurely, therefore the results cover the observation of the other 156 children. After the 12-week study the following results came forward. During the 12 weeks, 85% of the children who were served a placebo, experienced one or more episodes of an infectious disease. Of the children that were given BYBG, on the other hand, only 39.5% experienced one or more infectious diseases.
In the three months prior to the study, the number of URTI episodes under the participants was similar. During the study, the average number of URTI episodes in the placebo group was 1.5 per child. With the children that were given BYBG this number was 0.6 episodes per child. A significant difference.
Of all the common childhood illnesses, 1.6 episodes per child was observed in the placebo group. In the BYBG-group this number was 0.7 episodes per child. Also the duration of the episodes was with the BYBG-group a lot shorter than with the placebo-group. On average, the episodes of the children that were given a placebo were 5.75 days longer than with the group who got the Baker’s yeast beta glucan.
Therefore, you could conclude that Baker’s yeast beta glucan supplementation with children can decrease the incidence and severity of infectious diseases, especially in the cold/flu season. This is not only good for the children, but also reduces the burden on parents who have to take care of a sick child.
This article is extracted from: Meng F (2016) Baker’s Yeast Beta-Glucan Decreases Episodes of Common Childhood Illness In 1 to 4 Year Old Children during Cold Season in China. J Nutr Food Sci 6: 518.

References: :
(1): Darrow LA, Klein M, Flanders WD (2014) Air pollution and acute respiratory infections among children 0-4 years of age: an 18-year time-series study. Am J Epidemiol 180: 968-977.
(2): Jain N, Lodha R, Kabra SK (2001) Upper respiratory tract infections. Indian J Pediatr 68: 1135-1138.
(3): Sun Y, Gong GS (2002) Survey on the surveillance of cold under 7 years old. MJCCA 14: 213-215.
(4:) Allan GM, Arroll B (2014) Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. CMAJ 186: 190-199.
(5): Feldman S, Schwartz H, Kalman D (2009) Randomized phase II clinical trials of Wellmune WGP® for immune support during cold and flu season. J Appl Res Clin Expt Ther 9: 30-42.
(6): Fuller R, Butt H, Noakes PS (2012) Influence of yeast-derived 1,3/1,6 glucopolysaccharide on circulating cytokines and chemokines with respect to upper respiratory tract infections. Nutrition 28: 665-669.
(7): Talbott S, Talbott J (2009) Effect of BETA 1, 3/1, 6 GLUCAN on Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms and Mood State in Marathon Athletes. J Sports Sci Med 8: 509-515.
(8): Talbott S, Talbott J (2010) Beta 1,3/1,6 Glucan Decreases Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms and Improves Psychological Well-Being in Moderate to Highly-Stressed Subjects. Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech 21: 21-24.

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