Baker’s yeast β-glucan supplementation increases monocytes and cytokines post-exercise: implications for infection risk?
K. C. Carpenter, W. L. Breslin, T. Davidson, A. Adams and B. K. McFarlin
Laboratory of Integrated Physiology, University of Houston, 3855 Holman Street, Houston, TX 77204, USA
British Journal of Nutrition, FirstView Article : pp 1-9 Copyright © The Authors 2012
Strenuous aerobic exercise is known to weaken the immune system, and while many nutritional supplements have been proposed to boost post-exercise immunity, few are known to be effective. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether 10 d of supplementation with a defined source of baker’s yeast β-glucan (BG, Wellmune WGP®) could minimise post-exercise immunosuppression. Recreationally active men and women (n 60) completed two 10 d trial conditions using a cross-over design with a 7 d washout period: placebo (rice flour) and baker’s yeast BG (250 mg/d of β-1,3/1,6-glucans derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae) before a bout of cycling (49 ± 6 min) in a hot (38 ± 2°C), humid (45 ± 2 % relative humidity) environment. Blood was collected at baseline (before supplement), pre- (PRE), post- (POST) and 2 h (2H) post-exercise. Total and subset monocyte concentration was measured by four-colour flow cytometry. Plasma cytokine levels and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated cytokine production were measured using separate multiplex assays. Total (CD14+) and pro-inflammatory monocyte concentrations (CD14+/CD16+) were significantly greater at POST and 2H (P < 0·05) with BG supplementation. BG supplementation boosted LPS-stimulated production of IL-2, IL-4, IL-5 and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) at PRE and POST (P < 0·05). Plasma IL-4, IL-5 and IFN-γ concentrations were greater at 2H following BG supplementation. It appears that 10 d of supplementation with BG increased the potential of blood leucocytes for the production of IL-2, IL-4, IL-5 and IFN-γ. The key findings of the present study demonstrate that BG may have potential to alter immunity following a strenuous exercise session.