Yeast Beta-Glucan Supplementation Downregulates Markers of Systemic Inflammation After Heated Treadmill Exercise

Nutrients. 2020 Apr 19;12(4):1144. doi: 10.3390/nu12041144.


Aerobic exercise and thermal stress instigate robust challenges to the immune system. Various attempts to modify or supplement the diet have been proposed to bolster the immune system responses. The purpose of this study was to identify the impact of yeast beta-glucan (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) supplementation on exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation. Healthy, active men (29.6 ± 6.7 years, 178.1 ± 7.2 cm, 83.2 ± 11.2 kg, 49.6 ± 5.1 mL/kg/min, n = 16) and women (30.1 ± 8.9 years, 165.6 ± 4.1 cm, 66.7 ± 10.0 kg, 38.7 ± 5.8 mL/kg/min, n = 15) were randomly assigned in a double-blind and cross-over fashion to supplement for 13 days with either 250 mg/day of yeast beta-glucan (YBG) or a maltodextrin placebo (PLA). Participants arrived fasted and completed a bout of treadmill exercise at 55% peak aerobic capacity (VO2Peak) in a hot (37.2 ± 1.8 °C) and humid (45.2 ± 8.8%) environment. Prior to and 0, 2, and 72 h after completing exercise, changes in white blood cell counts, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, markers of muscle damage, markers of muscle function, soreness, and profile of mood states (POMS) were assessed. In response to exercise and heat, both groups experienced significant increases in white blood cell counts, plasma creatine kinase and myoglobin, and soreness along with reductions in peak torque and total work with no between-group differences. Concentrations of serum pro-inflammatory cytokines in YBG were lower than PLA for macrophage inflammatory protein 1β (MIP-1β) (p = 0.044) and tended to be lower for interleukin 8 (IL-8) (p = 0.079), monocyte chemoattractment protein 1 (MCP-1) (p = 0.095), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) (p = 0.085). Paired samples t-tests using delta values between baseline and 72 h post-exercise revealed significant differences between groups for IL-8 (p = 0.044, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): (0.013, 0.938, d = -0.34), MCP-1 (p = 0.038, 95% CI: 0.087, 2.942, d = -0.33), and MIP-1β (p = 0.010, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.85, d = -0.33). POMS outcomes changed across time with anger scores in PLA exhibiting a sharper decline than YBG (p = 0.04). Vigor scores (p = 0.04) in YBG remained stable while scores in PLA were significantly reduced 72 h after exercise. In conclusion, a 13-day prophylactic period of supplementation with 250 mg of yeast-derived beta-glucans invoked favorable changes in cytokine markers of inflammation after completing a prolonged bout of heated treadmill exercise.

Keywords: carbohydrate; endurance; fiber; hot; humid; immune; immunity; inflammation; muscle damage; prebiotic; recovery; supplementation; yeast; yeast beta-glucan.