STUDY: Endurance sport, The Immune system & Beta glucan.
More and more research shows that there is a positive connection but also an effect between moderate and regular exercise and a strong immune system. On the other hand, there is also evidence that training too much and too intensively can actually reduce your resistance and even cause you to become ill.
Often it is said that to improve your resistance, moving is a good contribution. Regular physical exercise is just one of the pillars for a healthy lifestyle in general: it promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, is necessary for a healthy weight and offers protection against various diseases.
A Healthy immune system by moving.
The next question is then: does physical activity also help to increase your resistance? Just like a healthy diet, physical exercise can contribute to good health in general, including a healthy immune system. Intensive exercise immediately contributes to your immune system by promoting good blood circulation. This allows cells and substances that are involved in your immune system to circulate well throughout the body and do their work.
Do you also enjoy benefits?
Hell yes! In various studies, the question asked whether physical activity directly contributes to your susceptibility to infections.
So in other words: do athletes have a better defense? For example, it has been investigated whether a great deal of intensive physical exercise can lead to athletes being sick more often or in some way blocking their immune system.
To perform such research, athletes were trained intensively. Blood and urine samples from before and after where tested to see if changes occur in parts of the immune system, such as cytokines, white blood cells and certain antibodies. Moderate movement creates a positive immune response and a temporary increase in the production of macrophages (a type of white blood cell). These are the cells that attack bacteria. It is thought that regular and faithful exercise can have substantial benefits for your immune system. Recent studies have shown that changes in the immune system occur in response to physical activity. Especially the better circulation of the immune cells. Only a few hours after training this is back to normal.
Do you exercise regularly? Then it seems that the change gets a permanent character and your defense improves.
Long-term sports? Caution!
There is also evidence that too intensive training can actually weaken your immune system. More than 90 minutes of training can reduce your resistance up to 3 days afterwards. In particular, marathon and triathlon athletes must take this into account and ensure that they maintain their resistance in other ways. The temporary reduction of your resistance is, according to research, caused by the production of different hormones that negatively affect your immunity.The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and suppress the immune system. This effect is associated with an increased susceptibility to infections in endurance athletes. When you are training for extreme endurance sports competitions, you should include – with this in mind – rest and recovery as part of your training program. This allows your body (immune system) to recover.
Faster better by exercising?
If you are already unwell, you have to be careful with too strenuous activities. Your immune system is already under pressure because of the infection and extra stress can hinder your recovery. In general, if you have cold complaints, but no fever, you can sometimes even feel better by exercising because your immune system of movement gets a boost. Heavy training will only make it worse.
We can therefore conclude that regular exercise is one way to keep cold and other infections out and even reduce them. However, you can do more and that is food or supplements.
Yeast Beta glucan
Beta glucan from baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisia) is a natural bioactive ingredient that helps to make the immune system of athletes less vulnerable during periods of intensive training. In its purified form, this beta glucan helps the innate immune system and prepares to respond quickly and adequately to infections. Yeast beta-1,3 / 1,6-glucans have been investigated by independent research groups worldwide as well as by commercial companies. It is recognized as safe and effective. Various clinical, in-vitro and animal studies have been carried out and this has provided useful insights into the effect of beta glucans on the immune system. Some of these studies have shown that people who are physically overloaded or susceptible to inflammation in the upper respiratory tract are less likely to develop inflammation after ingestion of yeast beta glucan. (1) This indicates that yeast beta glucan strengthens the immune system for these groups of people.
Studies with athletes have shown that the probability of inflammation in the upper respiratory tract after exhaustive exercise is reduced after beta glucan intake, (2) suggesting that the use of yeast beta glucan athletes makes them more resistant to inflammation. Studies have also shown that the use of yeast beta glucan results in more secretion of IgA in athletes (3). This again indicates an enhanced immunity of the mucous membranes. Yeast beta glucan has many benefits for athletes, but there are many different types of beta glucans. Only a few of these species help to strengthen the immune system and the beta-1,3 / 1,6-glucan of baker’s yeast is the most researched on the effects on the immune system, working method and safety. That is why this strain is considered the best beta glucan out there.
Want to know more about this subject or about yeast beta glucan? Fill in the form below and we will send you an E-mail with additional information.
- (1): Samuelsen, A. B., Schrezenmeir, J. and Knutsen, S. H., 2014. Effects of orally administered yeast-derived beta-glucans: a review. Mol Nutr Food Res 58(1): 183-193.
- (2): Talbott & Talbott, 2009
- (3); McFarlin, B. K., Carpenter, K. C., Davidson, T. and McFarlin, M. A., 2013. Baker’s yeast beta glucan supplementation increases salivary IgA and decreases cold/flu symptomatic days after intense exercise. J Diet Suppl 10(3): 171-183