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Beta-glucans

What are the benefits of taking beta-glucans for our health?


If you're interested in learning about the potential benefits of incorporating beta-glucans into your health routine, this article will explore the various advantages these compounds may provide for your overall well-being.

What are beta-glucans?




Beta-glucans (β-glucans) are polysaccharides with specific immune stimulating properties as well as being recognised for other medicinal benefit. This unique molecule is found naturally in oats, barley, bakers yeast, seaweed and in mushrooms with higher levels found in specifically in those classed as ‘medicinal’ varieties.


Long before the substance classes of beta-glucans were identified for their immune activity, the beneficial effects of rich beta-glucan containing mushrooms such as Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) in Japan or Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) in China were utilised in the traditional Oriental medicine for the strengthening of the body’s immune system[i].




Where are beta-glucans found?




Beta-glucans are a type of soluble fibre found in certain foods like oats, barley, mushrooms, and some types of yeast.


In supplement form, it is primarily extracted from bakers yeast and is well researched in its Beta 1-3/1-6 form most commonly for its immune supportive properties. Medicinal mushroom whole food powders and supplements also provide an excellent source of this unique compound.

Beta-glucans: health benefits


Consuming foods rich in beta-glucans has been associated with various health benefits, including improved heart health, immune system support, and improvement in the management of blood sugar levels. In addition to their use around immunity, these biologically active fibres are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-oxidant, anti-allergic and anti-osteoporotic activity. The biological and physiochemical properties of beta-glucans strongly differ, depending on the source of extraction[iv].





Immune defence boost


Beta-glucans work to increase immune defences by activating a system in the body which enhances specific immune cells called macrophages and natural killer cells. As a general immune system support, beta-glucans have been shown to reduce the incidence of upper respiratory infections such as colds and flu in those susceptible to infection[ii].


Cellular protection


In more targeted immune application, they have been studied for their effects in prevention of cellular change, inhibition of tumour growth at promotion stage and also their adjuvant use during treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy[iii].




Where do beta-glucans come from?




In supplement form, it is primarily extracted from bakers yeast and is well researched in its Beta 1-3/1-6 form most commonly for its immune supportive properties. Medicinal mushroom whole food powders and supplements also provide an excellent source of this unique compound.


We recommend consuming foods rich in beta-glucans in the diet and this can be supplemented with either powder or capsule form of extracts or whole foods such as mushrooms. The form of beta-glucans are of importance when it comes to choosing the right foods and supplements for your health goals. And although beta-glucans are generally recognised as safe[v], care does need to be taken around interactions with specific medications such as immunosuppressant forms.

Recommended For

Immune Boosting Foods , Colds , Viral Infection , Cough , Chest Infection (Respiratory Tract Infection) , Cold Sores , Cystitis , Flu , Leaky Gut , Brain Health , Immunity , Hayfever

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