Articles, Blog

Best Food to Counter Stress-Induced Immune Suppression

August 25, 2019

“Best Food to Counter Stress-Induced
Immune Suppression” Natural “immunomodulators” are
getting more and more popular, things that might naturally
regulate our immune system. “That popularity, however, often brings over-optimistic claims
and mediocre effects.” Such mythical beasts have
been sought after for centuries. The current market is full
of all sorts of supplements promising the golden fleece:
inexpensive, no side-effects, yet actively boosting
our immune system. Many simply repeat unjustified claims with hardly any science
to support them. On the other hand, there’s beta-glucan, which has undergone 10,000
scientific studies and clinical trials. Wait, what? Beta-glucan is the fiber in nutritional
yeast I talked about before, able to decrease episodes of
common illnesses in young children. But what about in adults? First of all, why can’t
they just come up with a vaccine against
the common cold virus? Because there is no
single common cold virus; there are hundreds of
different viruses implicated in causing cold-like symptoms. So that’s why there is so
much interest in finding a general, nonspecific immune
booster, across the board. Beta-glucan supplementation can increase the levels of immunoglobulin A
in the saliva within four days, at a daily dose of 400 mg, but not 100 mg. So the amount found in about
2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast a day, but not a half teaspoon. IgA is an antibody that plays a
crucial role in the immune function of our moist membranes,
like eyes, nose, and mouth. One teaspoon’s worth didn’t
do much until they exercised. Two hours after a
strenuous 50-minute bout of strenuous cycling in a hot,
humid environment, those who had been on the yeast
beta-glucan did get that IgA boost. Beta-glucans failed, however,
to boost the antimicrobial activity of white blood cells
taken from subjects who had been taking like
a tablespoon’s worth a day. What we care about,
though, are clinical outcomes. Do those consuming
beta-glucans suffer significantly fewer infections? OK. How about a double-blind,
randomized, placebo-controlled nutritional study to see
if yeast beta-glucan can improve our
immune defense system. 100 people followed for 26 weeks, 50 getting about a tablespoon
of nutritional yeast worth of beta-glucan a day,
50 getting placebo. They counted how many
episodes of the common cold they got, and there was
no significant difference. Now, if you just look at the first
half of the time, during cold season, there did appear to be fewer
infections in the active group, meaning the beta-glucan group. But this is what’s called
a “post-hoc” analysis, where you go back and look
at your data after the fact, which is frowned upon by
the scientific community because it increases the likelihood that your findings are just due to chance. But those who did end up getting
sick while on the beta-glucan did genuinely appear to
suffer milder symptoms. A similar, larger study
had similar findings. Maybe the severity of
the colds was lessened, but in the main analysis,
no significant difference in the number of times people
got colds in the first place. Same in other studies:
no significant differences in the number of symptomatic
respiratory infection episodes. No significant effect on upper
respiratory tract infection outcomes, so overall, pretty
disappointing results. But wait a second. What about my video about
preserving immune function in athletes with nutritional yeast? They found a significant
drop in cold symptoms 2 weeks and 4 weeks
after a marathon at both 1 teaspoon of yeast worth of
beta-glucan a day and 2 teaspoons. Yeah, but they had
just run a marathon. Remember this study
where the effect only seemed to emerge after strenuous exercise? That’s where beta-glucan seems to shine, counteracting the toll
extreme physical exertion can have on our immune function. In an athlete, that just may
mean some lost practice days or something, but for soldiers
or firefighters maintaining one’s health, even in the context
of heavy physical stress, could be critical. OK. But that’s counteracting
the effects of physical stress. What about mental stress? Stressful life events can impair
our moist membrane defenses, such that psychological
stress has also been shown to increase susceptibility
to the common cold, getting more colds and worse
colds than people under less stress. So let’s see if we can help. And indeed, in this a study
of healthy women under moderate levels of
perceived psychological stress, those taking about a teaspoon
of nutritional yeast a day worth of beta-glucans for 12 weeks
were 60% less likely to report experiencing
symptoms like sore throat, stuffed or runny nose, or cough, strongly suggesting that baker’s, brewer’s, and nutritional yeast “beta-glucan is able to counteract the negative effects
of stress on the immune system.” And they experienced 41% greater vigor, which is a measure that encompasses
physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being.
So they just felt better, too. Put all the studies together,
and yeast beta-glucans do appear to have immune strengthening
effects, at least in children, and those under physical or mental stress.


  • Reply Michael Mankong January 8, 2018 at 12:57 pm


  • Reply Sebastián Vargas January 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    yesss thank u

  • Reply Leonardo Da Vinci January 8, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Going to buy a beta glucan supplement because of this video!

  • Reply VEG GIE January 8, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Mention where we can find the highest sources of this. I wont buy nutritional yeast, since its deactivated yeast…

  • Reply Анна Лищинская January 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    My cold symptoms are way way less when I exercise everyday including during illness. But I cannot cope with stresses. I become hypochondriac when stressed bc I think now i'm gonna get some sort of autoimmune shit because of all that stress and it stresses me out even more. Vicious circle.
    I often find myself confused after watching dr. Greger's videos, bc I think I am the only one who did not get "so, what's the conclusion? What shall I do now?" Probably, that's just me, bc English is not my native language, so if you got what to do, please do not hesitate to comment down below. but if you too like me did not understand the idea, just follow what the smart guys will write down here.

  • Reply Vegan Walk January 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Is beta glucan in beer?

  • Reply Lichtblick January 8, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Can i buy nutritional yeast in cyprus?

  • Reply 387Rossana January 8, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Very informative video thanks Dr.

  • Reply Sunghee Lee January 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you, Dr. Greger. Great video as always!

  • Reply Aitor Altuna January 8, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I actually take 3g of brewer's yeast (nutritional yeast isn't popular in spain) a day. What amount would you suggest? Thank you for all the videos and info, really appreciate it

  • Reply s55b January 8, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    So, it’s my understanding in other videos, if you have Crohn’s Disease, you probably shouldn’t be taking nutritional yeast. Is Brewer’s Yeast ok, or would I have the same issues as with nutritional yeast? Thanks.

  • Reply Peaceful Strength Vegan January 8, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Nutrional Yeast FTW!

  • Reply haku January 8, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    So even just one teaspoon a day even without exercise seems to be protective?

  • Reply Sree Ss January 8, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Your service to society is amazing sir!

  • Reply labradorluvable January 8, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Hopefully nutritional yeast mixed with grits will counter the emotional stress of getting a night owl teenager to school on time.

  • Reply Jigglypoop97 January 8, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Don't oats have a lot of beta glucan?

  • Reply Botha Lissom January 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    i tried it. one dose makes my groin stink for a week. no thanks.

  • Reply Brandonian3030 January 8, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Astragulus and reishi

  • Reply headlite 21 January 8, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I just bought your book at Costco last weekend, I can’t wait to read it!!

  • Reply Sophat January 8, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    What about oatmeal?

  • Reply Eelke Aptroot January 8, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I'll definitely believe nooch might increase auto-immune response, cause it gives me red spots around my nose…

  • Reply Shay Cam January 8, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I put nooch on EVERYTHANG !!! #noochfordaysssss

  • Reply Tijana M. January 8, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I just received the How not to Die cookbook and tried the lentil spaghetti! It was really delicious. The recepies are good and the design of the book is extremely pretty. 10/10

  • Reply Matthijs January 8, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    thanks, awesome vid!
    very informative

  • Reply Falafelzebub's Den of Vegan Iniquity January 8, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    My friend's yoga instructor lost her home in one of our California wildfires this past July, and is struggling even now with illness that is preventing her from holding classes. That kind of stress really does compromise our immune responses.

  • Reply Kieran Mortimer January 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Doesn't oatmeal contain beta glucans? Why buy a supplement when you can just eat it as a healthy meal every morning?

  • Reply Nero Wolfe January 8, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Is it the beta glucans or the increased intake of B Vitamins (including B12), Manganese, Copper, Zinc, and Magnesium (vital minerals and vitamins) that nutritional yeast is a good source of???

  • Reply Caliko Kat January 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Nutritional yeast gives me a headache…I think it's the sulphur in the yeast…

  • Reply Thomas Walz January 8, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    A couple years ago, I did a whole immune system supplement program, along with eating vegan… often. This also included gym workouts, weights, preceded by 20 minutes of aerobic as a warm up.

    I worked a job that wasn't familiar to my normal circadian patterns, was often sleep deprived, the job too, was stressful, militaristic routine and obedience expected.

    They did a physical on me in house, and blood tests indicated a high white count, which seemed to freak them out. I didn't have any injuries, infections, illness, and felt good in spite of the sleep deprivation.

    My immune program did include 400mg of Beta Glucan, probiotics, L-glutamine, NAC, others. I never once even had a sniffle or sore throat…. and it was a brutal winter, plus, I was around people who had colds.

    I was dismissed from this job a week after the physical. I miss that fat paycheck, but not the hours and routine… I moved on…

    I'm curious. Could supplements affect my white count?

  • Reply David Merino January 8, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    You mentioned vaccines for the common cold you also stated that there is so many different pathogens they cannot produce a vaccine. It's the same thing with the flu virus but they produce That vaccine anyway knowing it will not give any protection whatsoever it's a scam

  • Reply Buddhabr0t January 8, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    can i eat fresh yeast instead?

  • Reply SexyJamal77 January 8, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    What about oat beta-glucan?

  • Reply Jeff Eppenger January 8, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    That's allot of nutritional yeast. 2 tbns? I sprinkle it on stuff but it's not 2 tbns worth.

  • Reply Lord Monkton January 8, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Is there beta glucan in Vegemite/Marmite?

  • Reply MrEnergyCzar January 8, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Good sleep hygiene, high protein vegan diet, regular exercise, 100oz water/day and managing stress well are the keys… hard to prove though.

  • Reply Derrick McEachern January 8, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Very interesting. Especially given that I have done allergy testing that indicates food allergies, IGG and high IGA antibodies to both Bakers and Brewers Yeast. My doctor tells me that I should be avoiding these foods as consuming them would compromise my immune system. 2 Questions. 1. Do the benefits outweigh the risks of consumption – I feel much better not on these foods – I get serious sinus congestion when consuming. Secondly, my allergy testing did not include Nutritional Yeast. Would it likely cause the same IGA antibody reactions? Finally, Dr. Gregor, what advice would you give for people who have IGA allergies to supposedly healthy foods – Blueberries, Cranberries, Mushrooms, Sesame are also causing an allergic response.

  • Reply Wak Job January 8, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    This is probably why every farmer, homesteader, rancher, ect… i know are hardly ever sick.

  • Reply Karl Leonard January 8, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    Does the beta glucan have to be in nutritional yeast to see benefits? Are there any studies on beta glucan sourced in oatmeal for example?

  • Reply Nancy Plants January 9, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Delicious AND good for the immune system??!!! What can't nutritional yeast do?

  • Reply TheAltruismActivist January 9, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Train hard, eat nooch.

  • Reply Beta Glucan Shop January 9, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    What this video fails to mention is that clinical studies have shown that molecular structure and size is critical to the biological activity of beta glucans, which means that looking over the clinical research across different brands does not give you the full picture. Comparison studies show that some beta glucans are less effective than others, even though they all may be sourced from yeast (both extraction method and proprietary yeast strains also plays a role). So to estimate the true effect of a beta glucan you need to look at the specific research for each brand. If not you are left with a general conclusion that does not reflect the full immune priming potential of some of the best documented brands.

  • Reply Michaela Kilian January 9, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Is there any connection between tinnitus and stress? Or tinnitus and nutrition? My vegan friend who is a marathon runner has tinnitus and I am wondering whether the stress is depleting his body of nutrients and that this in turn could cause or affect the tinnitus?

  • Reply Deals togo January 9, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I like Dr Greger’s lecture on combination cardamom + pepper + blueberries that increases killer T-white cells that gobble up bacteria.

  • Reply Vivian Jones January 9, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Why can't I click on the Candida, Chron's, and Is nutritional yeast good for you links? They've been removed just wondering why. And would like to see them.?

  • Reply Mike Ward January 9, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I want to see you run in 2020 against Oprah Winfrey. With the slogan “Make America Healthy Again”. I’ve had three heart attacks, I have 11 stents, four in my heart and seven in my leg arteries. I was sent home told to get my affairs in order I might have less than a year to live. So some how, praise God, I found out about the book by Dr. Caldwell E. Then I came across Dr. Fuhrman‘s book the End of Heart Disease and it seemed much more motivational and I got more on the diet. And then all of your work. Thank you all so much. My Ejection Fraction is now 75 percent and I usually hike 7 to 15 miles a day just because I can now.

  • Reply izeizei January 9, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    What about the yeast infection I lick off of my wife's crotch every night? Does that count too as an immune system booster?

  • Reply pepitosrellenas January 10, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Why the fuck does he talk like that?

  • Reply Vegan Buddhist January 10, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Am I the only one who can't stand nutritional yeast??

  • Reply Elemental Vegan January 10, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    The health danger of EATING eggs far outweighs the danger of one exploding in your face! This is the first non-plant based health video I've ever seen from Dr. Greger. Hope it doesn't become a habit.

  • Reply D Master January 10, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    What a hopeless bunch. What do you expect with ammeter researchers. The cure for the common cold has already been discovered. Idiots

  • Reply T. Thomas January 13, 2018 at 5:56 am

    What is the food? don't have sound

  • Reply Phil Griffiths January 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    it would be good to look at the immunosuppressive effects of polyunsaturates

  • Reply onyomi January 14, 2018 at 1:31 am

    What about the other video suggesting nutritional yeast increases the chances of IBS?

  • Reply gdcat777 January 15, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Great, something else to complicate my life.

  • Reply PoweredbyPlants January 19, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Isn't beta glucan also the primary fiber type in oatmeal??

  • Reply pgrothschild January 21, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Awesome video! Bought his book for my sister for Christmas, along with the cookbook in an attempt to help her reconsider her diet (and to go vegan!).. =D

  • Reply S Lea February 27, 2019 at 3:47 am

    What if you have Ig reaction to yeast? Also, one of my family members has an autoimmune disease, yeast will hyper stimulate the immune system.

  • Leave a Reply