Attention Athletes: 5 Ways Beta Glucan Can Help You Be Your Best!

Last updated July 18, 2022

From the outside, athletes appear to be immune to the chronic conditions and regular aches and pains that the rest of the world faces. If you have “gone pro” in your sport or are striving towards that goal, then you know firsthand that this is far from the truth. In fact, some conditions -- such as injury, chronic fatigue, and anxiety/depression—actually occur in higher amounts amongst professional athletes than the rest of the population.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a natural way to up your performance and recover faster from injury and illness? Well, actually there is. It’s called “beta glucan” and more research is discovering that this amazing substance is uniquely designed by nature to help with the unique demands of pro athletes. Read on to learn more about how you can start benefiting from beta glucan today!

Athletes Have Health Risks Too

It is surprising to those who aren’t athletically inclined to hear about people like Venus Williams, who competed in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics with Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disease), or pro snowboarder Shaun White, who opened up about his bouts with physical burnout and debilitating depression in the documentary film The Weight of Gold. (1) (2)

If you are involved in high-level athletic competition, however, then it probably comes as no surprise that those who are in competitive athletics, and even sports megastars, must deal with the same mental and physical ailments as the rest of us. In fact, elite and up-in-coming athletes often contend with more emotional and mental stress, not to mention more intense physical demands on their bodies.

“The stress of competing at the highest level can put enormous strain on the body,” says Dr. Annie Sparrow, professor of Health, Science, and Policy at Icahn School of Medicine, The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. (3)

Other experts point out ongoing pressure to perform intense training protocols and lack of support as additional risk factors for disease. According to statistics gathered by the American College of Sports Medicine, “35% of elite athletes suffer from disordered eating, burnout, depression and/or anxiety.” (4)  And did you know that professional athletics are among the top five occupations that have more than 1,000 injuries per 10,000 workers? (5)


Want to Up Your Game Naturally? Beta Glucans Can Help!

If you are a professional athlete and you want to heal your body as well as improve your focus, there are a lot of natural substances out there that are said to help. No doubt you have probably heard about some of them. You may not be aware of beta glucan, however.

So, what makes beta glucan seemingly tailor-made for athletes? Beta glucans are polysaccharides (i.e., a form of fiber) that grow naturally along the cell walls of many whole foods, such as grains, yeasts, and fungi. When you ingest them, they are able to slip through “Peyer’s Patches” in the gut and go directly to the immune system. Once within this system, they activate macrophages, natural killer cells, and other immune system mechanisms, making immunity more robust and effective.

Of course, according to research at Texas Tech University and countless others, this is a big boon for your resistance to common colds and diseases. (6) As we will see, however, helping immunity also heals the gut, boosts detoxification, aids the repair mechanisms in the body, and strengthens the brain.

Boosting your immune system naturally means that you spend less time recuperating from colds, flus, and viral infections -- and more time doing what you love most. 

Five Ways Beta Glucans Can Help You Up Your Game

Here’s a little bit more about the amazing benefits of beta glucan for athletes:

  • Less Downtime for Colds, Flu, and Infections

Boosting your immune system naturally means that you spend less time recuperating from colds, flu, and viral infections -- and more time doing what you love most. This is especially important for athletes since sports medicine research indicates that extensive workouts can cause the immune system to wane. This can result in lower immune function and more susceptibility to long-lasting infection.

In a 2020 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, marathon runners training for the Austin Marathon were given a beverage containing Baker’s Yeast β-glucan daily 45 days before the race and continuing for 45 days after (the control group was given a calorie-matched placebo beverage). All individuals involved in the study had an ongoing history of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI).

Those who took the beta glucan formula experienced fewer symptoms, including less nasal discharge and sore throat. The beta glucan group also missed fewer post-marathon workout days. (7)

  • Relief from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There is another, more dangerous side to ongoing low immunity that many elite athletes experience. Most pros (maybe even you) are used to just “sucking it up” and playing through the aches and pains of a persistent cold or flu. Infections that aren’t healed can eventually turn into more serious conditions, however.

“Acute viral infection, training or competing when initially ill, emotional stress, and overtraining” are the primary factors for the development of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS, or myalgic encephalomyelitis) amongst athletes, according to a report sponsored in part by the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. (8)

Not only is chronic fatigue painful, but it can also be debilitating. CFS has risen in professional and college-level athletes in recent years (as it has in the population as a whole). (9) The Australian study also discovered that the average time away from practice for those who had acute CFS was roughly 2 years.

So, what can you do? Training schedules won’t change nor will your exposure to pathogens and other stressors.

2015 in vivo investigation conducted at the University of Louisville by pathology researchers Vaclav Vetvicka and Jana Vetvickova found that beta glucan helped boost and restabilize the immune system in the midst of CFS. The researchers also found that Natural Killer cell activity, as well as cytokine and lymphocyte proliferation, all returned to normal after two weeks on yeast-derived beta glucan. Lower production of these particular immune system mechanisms is common in CFS.

In fact, beta glucans were so effective at putting key immune system mechanisms back online that the researchers concluded that “glucan might be considered a potential natural treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome” in general. (10)

In another more recent study conducted in 2020 by the same authors, Drs. Vetvicka and Vetcickova verified their earlier findings regarding beta glucans’ ability to help with oxidative stress and chronic fatigue. In addition, they also discovered that taking beta glucan can boost the process of “phagocytosis” in the immune system. This is the ability of an immune system cell to actively overpower a pathogenic cell, such as a dangerous bacteria or virus, and destroy it. (11)

  • Lower Inflammation for Less Pain

In another 2020 double-blind trial, this time at the University of Texas, beta glucans sourced from Baker’s Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) were given to athletes after they participated in heated treadmill exercises. They found that beta glucans helped to significantly downregulate markers of systemic inflammation by rebalancing immunoglobulin levels, increasing the effectiveness of key T cells, lowering levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and proteins, and downregulating other key substances that are associated with both inflammation and disease.

What’s more, 72 hours after exercise and taking beta glucans, markers for muscle damage and soreness were significantly lower in those who took beta glucans than in the control group. (12)

  • A Boon for Brain Health and Mental Focus

Another prior study done, again, on marathon runners with a history of upper respiratory infection was published in the December 2009 edition of the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. This one, however, zeroed in on the changes in mental state, mood, and cognitive ability that often accompany this kind of infection.

Indeed, a whole body of scientific exploration has proven that a high viral load can affect mental states and can even be the catalyst for serious psychological disorders. (13) (14) In the 2009 study, seventy-five men and women marathon runners aged 18-53 were given 250 mg or 500 mg of beta glucan 1,3/1,6 derived from Baker’s Yeast during the 4-week post-training period after the 2007 Carlsbad Marathon. Based on periodic questionnaires and measurements, the participants reported not only physical improvements in their URTI symptoms, but also “decreased confusion, fatigue, tension, and anger,” more “vigor,” and a more “upbeat mood” in general. (15)

As a side note, other in vivo studies have dived deeper into how beta glucan actually helps cognition and mood. One very impressive study conducted in 2020 was put together by researchers from China and Australia. The international team found that beta glucan positively affected the gut-brain axis by rebalancing hippocampal function, repairing synaptic flow, and repairing tight junction wear in the colon lining. (16) (17)

  • Helps with Stress

When an athlete is under pressure, has tight schedules and constant demands for performance and time, the stress of it all can be overwhelming. Over time, the symptoms of chronic stress can develop. These chemicals of stress, including higher than normal cortisol levels, contribute most to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome, depression/anxiety, and frequent infections.

Beta glucans have been shown to help with stress on all levels. A 2010 study found that certain kinds of beta glucans can actually help modulate the immune system in the face of ongoing stress responses by inhibiting corticosterone levels as well as by stimulating cytokine production in the immune system. (18)

In addition, a 2020 study report published in the Open Biochemistry Journal found that beta glucans can help to improve overall fatigue and also increase body endurance overall. Some measures that the researchers went by to make their determinations were antioxidant glutathione levels, oxidative stress markers, and levels of superoxide dismutase (or SOD) in the body. SOD is an enzyme found in all living cells that helps prevent tissue damage. (19)


Achieve Better Performance and Faster Recovery with Beta Glucans

If you are a professional, semi-professional, or college-level athlete, you rise to the challenge of the game. That means you work your body hard every day. Wouldn’t it be great if there could be a way to bounce back better, stronger, faster, and tougher than ever before?

There is. It’s called beta glucan. Beta glucans are natural substances found in whole foods. As such, there are no side effects to taking them, only better immunity, stronger focus, and faster recovery time from injury.

Why not give beta glucans a try? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain in performance and power for your best game ever.

Still have questions?

Our ACES Team is always there to help.

References

  1. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8311394/
  2. https://www.prevention.com/health/a28446557/venus-williams-sjogren-syndrome/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20210716/olympic-athletes_vulnerable_everyday-health-risks#:~:text=Many%20of%20the%20world's%20elite,chronic%20conditions%20and%20infectious%20disease.
  4. https://www.acsm.org/news-detail/2021/08/09/the-american-college-of-sports-medicine-statement-on-mental-health-challenges-for-athletes#:~:text=Professional%20and%20elite%20athletes%20also,%2C%20depression%20and%2For%20anxiety.
  5. https://www.bls.gov/iif/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5654840/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30380356/
  8. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15438629609512057#:~:text=Chronic%20fatigue%20syndrome%20(CFS)%2C,exhausted%2C%20weak%2C%20and%20debilitated.
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9232560/
  10. chrome-extension://gphandlahdpffmccakmbngmbjnjiiahp/http://www.betaglucandata.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Fatique-2015.pdf
  11. https://openbiochemistryjournal.com/VOLUME/14/PAGE/1/FULLTEXT/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32325856/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7128097/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12359683/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24149590/
  16. https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-020-00920-y
  17. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-021-01032-1
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21048809/
  19. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339357034_b-Glucan_Improves_Conditions_of_Chronic_Fatigue_in_Mice_by_Stimulation_of_Immunity

FAQ

For more information about beta glucan, Better Way Health and more, visit our FAQ page. To speak to an Amazing Customer Experience Specialist, give us a call at 800.746.7640or email us at hello@betterwayhealth.com

Our Beta Glucan goes through a rigorous purification process developed by the creator: AJ Lanigan. Once this purification process takes place, only about 10% of a given “batch” meets our 85% minimum purity standard. The “scraps”, so to speak (the other 90% of the batches), are then sold off and marketed by other companies. In addition, the product has been tested time and time again to prove its efficacy. When compared to other heavily marketed immune system products, our product comes out on top every single time. These comparison studies are conducted by a disinterested third party researcher at the University of Louisville: Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka. In these studies, immune response levels are safely tested on both humans and animals. Our product is also Non-GMO and encased in a Vegan, plant-based capsule.

-Better Way Health

Better Way Health Beta Glucan is certainly one of the most renowned brands out there in the marketplace. In our world of immune system support, when you ask “What’s the best immune system supplement out there?”; well, the Better Way Health name is the most recognized.

Anyone who has spent time reviewing side-by-side comparisons of our product with, again, just about any other kind of immune compound; regardless of the source, you’re going to find that Beta Glucan 500 by Better Way Health outperforms all competitors. This has been the case for years; this is not a new phenomenon that conclusive research done by disinterested third parties in major universities and teaching hospitals all over the world agree that the potency of Glucan 500 makes it 100% the leading immune system product available.

-AJ Lanigan

The immunomodulating aspects of Beta Glucan is what makes it safer and more efficacious than the competition. Studies confirm our Beta Glucan is the most effective immune system product on the market, including even other beta glucans. The patented purification process developed by AJ Lanigan is what makes our Beta Glucan more biologically active and beneficial to consumers.

-Better Way Health

This is rather easy to answer. Glucan 300® has one really big advantage in that it is the most studied natural immonomodulator of them all. The biological studies number in the tens of thousands. For most other products, you may find 10 to 15 studies. If you have 10,000+ papers from all around the world, that cannot be ignored.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

We did a couple of studies and we published them comparing some individual glucans to individual immune-modulators like Echinacea. That is one example, most of the clinical studies on that plant failed because one company is using leaves, one is using roots and each has a different quality inside so you never know what you get.

With the "mixture" type products, it is even worse because some manufacturers are just trying to either increase the price by putting five things together, so it’s not 30 bucks it’s now $50. None of these manufacturers are actually doing any research on the combinations of their ingredients.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

This topic is like comparing Super Bowl Champions (Better Way Health Beta Glucan) to Recreational Sports Teams (the competition). There is practically no comparison; when you look at the average Immune System Product on the market, even an abundance of it may only be able to raise your Immune Response 2 to 3 percent. That increase, however, may be costing you thousands of dollars; thus, I would not consider that to be much of a comparison. For about 1$ a day, with our Glucan 500 product, you can get your immune response up to about 60% (double the innate human immunity): no one can compete with that efficacy.

-AJ Lanigan

Beta Glucan has been studied for over 50 years at major universities and teaching hospitals, all of which are disinterested third party researchers. There are more than 150,000 glucan studies on PubMed.gov and nearly 50,000 studies involving glucans and humans. Our Beta Glucan specifically has been featured in over 20 medical journals, including the prestigious American Journal of Immunology and the Journal of Medicinal Food.

-Better Way Health

There are more than 150,000 studies on Glucan that you can find on Medline and PubMed. Roughly, you can also find 50,000 studies on Glucans and their interaction with Humans. Throughout these studies, there has never been an adverse side effect found with our product, Beta Glucan 500 (Glucan #300®).

-AJ Lanigan

Other than the thousands of studies out there, there is an excellent book by Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka from the University of Louisville entitled, Beta Glucan: Nature’s Secret. It’s about 157 pages and provides a quick, educational read for those interested in everything Beta Glucan: the history, safety, benefits, and mechanism of action of Beta Glucan. The bibliography included in the book provides dozens of other peer-reviewed articles and journals for curious consumers.

-AJ Lanigan

If somebody goes to PubMed.Gov or some kind of scientific database, there is about 150,000 hits now and about 50 new papers appear every week. The research is really booming.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

Anyone / anything with an immune system can benefit from taking Beta Glucan, including both humans and pets. Our immune system is our first line of defense and it can always use additional “soldiers.” Keep in mind that our Beta Glucan makes a person’s immune system smarter and stronger, but never causes overstimulation or harm. There are no known side effects.

-Better Way Health

“Anyone who is living can benefit from a healthier Immune System” – A.J. Lanigan

People who want proper support for their Immune System should use this product. People who simply want to maintain or regain their good health can benefit from this product as well.

Many conditions, whether environmental or physical, put significant stress on the Immune System.

Infectious Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, Chemotherapy Treatment, Radiation, Allergies, Asthma, and Stress are all severely taxing on the body. This type of suppression and depression of the immune system is what puts everyone’s health person at risk. Be proactive; take a product that benefits your overall health by enhancing your body’s own natural ability to stay well and recuperate.

That’s right, anyone and everyone can benefit from the immune modulating effects of Beta-1, 3D Glucan. 

-AJ Lanigan

For people who are under heavy stress or are just working in some kind of extreme conditions, they need all the help they can get. Proactive supplementation is also recommended for Flu and Cold seasons

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

For maximum immune response, take one 500mg capsule per 50 lbs. of body weight. For example, if you weigh around 150 lbs. you would need to take 3 capsules per day. All capsules should be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. After taking your capsules, wait 30 minutes before eating or consuming other products. If you forget to take your capsules in the morning it is safe to go ahead and take your Beta Glucan during the day, although the benefits will not be as significant. Remember, these dosage instructions are for maximum immune response, any dose (i.e., 1 capsule per day) is still extremely beneficial.

-Better Way Health

Maximum dose is based on body weight: Remember, your weight in kg’s is your weight in pounds divided by 2.2. For example, a 220lb person is 100kg. The guideline for maintaining good health is 2mg/kg of body weight per day. For the 220 pound person mentioned above, who is 100kg, they should take 200mg per day and that would be extraordinarily effective Immune Support.

For people who want or need additional immune support, there is a 500mg capsule. The recommendation for this group is 20 mg/kg/day or a 500mg capsule for every 50 pounds of body weight. Thus, a 100kg person (220lb) would take 4 capsules of the 500mg per day; for a 110 pound person, two capsules of the 500mg Beta Glucan would suffice. If your weight does not calculate out to an exact dose, round up or down depending on your needs; or you can average it out by taking 1 capsule one day and 2 the next.

The point is, the product is safe and you can be flexible with dosage if you reflect the guidelines above. Even taking just 1 - 500mg capsule each day is an extremely beneficial dose.

-AJ Lanigan

For healthy people, 500 mg per day should be enough. If someone has repeated heavy infections, or, God forbid, a cancer or something like that; then you need a much larger dose.

Of courses it is not some strict measurement but for the normal size of guy 100 mg would be fine and if is a heavy infection, 500 to 1000 mg. If you have a cancer 1000 would be the best.

Neutrophils and monocytes in our blood live only for a couple of days. That is why you have a need for constant, daily, glucan consumption because they die and the new cells are appearing and then you need the glucan again to boost these immune cells.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

No, there are no known side effects pertaining to our Beta Glucan. There have been numerous safe human and animal studies showing the safety of Beta Glucan. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given our Beta Glucan GRAS rating, which means Generally Recognized as Safe under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This certification is extremely hard to achieve especially when it comes to a dietary supplement.

-Better Way Health

You can absolutely take this product without worry! There have been multiple studies done on fully-healthy people looking at every health parameter you can imagine: organs, tissues, chemicals, brain function, etcetera.

No harmful effects were caused at any dosage level. Even people who were taking doses that were exponentially higher than any level we recommend, (some of the more exotic animal studies have doses that exceed 800X the recommended dosage) displayed 0 side effects whatsoever. As I am famous for saying, “unless you hit somebody in the eye with the bottle, there is no harm that can be caused by this product”

-AJ Lanigan

Beta Glucan enhances a person’s immune response in a safe way. The average person has about a 30% active immune response. When someone takes our Beta Glucan it raises that person’s immune response to 60%, and in some cases even more, if they are taking the maximum immune response dosage. This allows for your immune system to recognize cells that are both self and non-self more effectively. I’m sure you can imagine the benefits of walking around with a doubled immune response/immune system!

-Better Way Health

Beta Glucan enhances the immune system by improving the immune response when the immune system is confronted by something that does not belong. This could be a foreign body that it sees as “non-self,” something like a virus, a bacteria, a fungus form, a cancer or a parasite.

Our Beta-1, 3D Glucan is an intensely purified, highly active form of Beta Glucan; that, when taken orally with a glass of water, attaches to specific sites on the immune cells: the CR3 receptors. By attaching or binding to these specific sites, it activates these cells. It’s like putting the cells on “high alert” to the foreign bodies that they see as non-self. This process is referred to as immune modulation, not stimulation.

Immune stimulation presumably occurs with substances like Echinacea and Colostrum. Beta Glucan modulates or activates but doesn’t over stimulate, which is key to the safety of the compound. Research shows that our Beta-1, 3D Glucan is a highly effective immune modulator. It’s easily absorbed through, what we call, the Peyer’s Patches in the Small Intestine. Once these beta glucan “micro-particles” are taken up through this area in the small intestine, they will then be absorbed through phagocytosis or “gobbled up” by the immune cells in the gut.

They’ll travel around the body and it is the immune cells themselves that will digest and secrete the perfect molecule that binds to the CR 3 receptor and activates the immune system.

-AJ Lanigan

Beta Glucan is not temperature sensitive. If it is exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures, the efficacy of the product will not be impacted. However, we do recommend keeping a close eye on your tracking information, which is sent to you via email with all orders. This way you know when your order will arrive and when you will be able to retrieve it from your mailbox or front door.

Our Beta Glucan is made in Wisconsin, USA and bottled / encapsulated in Oregon, USA.

Our highly purified Beta Glucan powder is encased in PLANTCAPS™, which is a Plant-based capsule made from pullulan – naturally fermented from tapioca.

After 50 years of research, our Beta Glucan has no known side effects, or interactions with a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) rating by the FDA. It is one of the safest, most effective dietary supplements on the market.

Many women take our Beta Glucan while breastfeeding, to help support their immune system. Babies can also benefit from mom's immune system giving the best response possible.

However, if you have any concerns whatsoever, we recommend consulting with your health care professional before use, as a precautionary measure.

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As COO of Better Way Health, Taylor creates and Implements business operations & policies that reinforce our company culture. He ensures we stick to our core values and provides resources to elevate our team members in their respective roles. He is the day-to-day backbone of our world-class customer service and a seasoned authority on Beta Glucan.

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