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How Exercise and Beta-Glucan Help the Immune System

By Jeremy Maddock

It is thought that moderate exercise, such as speed walking, jogging, and aerobics may enhance your body's natural resistance to infection. This is due to that fact that this kind of physical activity activates the release of immunostimulatory factors, such as growth hormones, cytokines, and prolactin, which in turn activates various populations of immune cells.

Exercise sessions of moderate duration (under 60 minutes) have been associated with enhanced activity within the immune system. This applies to many different immune parameters, including oxidative metabolism, mactophage chemotaxis, and phagocytic activities, as well as increased natural killer cell activity. The nature of these cells' phagocytic, cytotoxic, and intracellular killing capacities constitutes and important part of the body's first line immune defense.

Another immune boosting method that more and more people have used over the past few years to boost their immune functions is to take a Beta Glucan oat fiber supplement. These supplements contain "-Glucans (polysaccharides derived from the cell walls of yeast, algae, fungi, and oats), which have shown been to enhance both specific and non-specific immune functions, yet have received little attention so far in the field of immunology. Beta Glucan directly stimulates macrophage, neutrophil, and natural killer cells via Glucan specific receptor sites. When this reaction occurs, a cascade of immune defenses are set off, which protect the organism from a wide range of viral, bacterial, and fungal challenges. The exact mechanisms that occur depend at least partially on the route of administration. For example, much of the protection achieved from oral administration results primarily from certain effects of ingestion.


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