Have you ever thought about why medical doctors recommend eating oatmeal to prevent cardiovascular disease? It’s because of the heart healthy soluble fiber and the many benefits of beta glucan.
(See one of my favorite treats – no bake healthy oatmeal cookies for a great recipe using oatmeal.)
Soluble fiber is also found in barley, beans, fruits, lentils, oat bran, and peas. It slows down digestion and has been clinically proven to lower cholesterol.
Beta Glucan Benefits: Natural Sources and Medical Uses Of Beta Glucan
The majority of people have never heard of beta glucan, but there are nearly 13,000 peer-reviewed articles talking about it in scientific journals. It's surprising that beta glucan hasn't hit the “mainstream” supplement market yet because the health benefits are outstanding.
Beta glucans belong to a group of physiologically active compounds called biological response modifiers. They are naturally occurring sugars that act as highly conserved structural components of cell walls in, fungi, seaweed, and yeast. (1)
They contain noticeable “immunomodulating activity” that increase our “immune defense by activating complement systems, enhancing macrophages and natural killer cell function.” (2)
- Common colds/flu
- Crohn’s disease
- Ear infections
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel disease
- Liver problems
- Lyme diseas
- Multiple sclerosis
- Physical and emotional stress
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Viral infections (HPV, HIV/AIDS, and others)
Their effect on cancer is especially interesting because they have been shown clinically to prevent metastasis in a variety of ways: (4)
- Cytotoxicity – By stimulating white blood cells (macrophages & natural killer cells) to stop tumor growth.
- Anti-angiogenesis – Preventing cancer cells from developing the network of blood vessels that is required to feed tumors.
- Treatment Restoration – Reversing the damage done by chemo and radiation therapies, glucans restore bone marrow injury by stimulating red blood cell production.
Interestingly, “In contrast to microorganisms, tumor cells, as well as other host cells, lack beta glucan as a surface component.” This may be one reason why cancer is so vulnerable to beta glucan supplementation. (5)
Glucans have also been found to be very effective at healing skin conditions such as bedsores, dermatitis, diabetic ulcers, eczema, wounds, radiation burns, and even wrinkles.
Still, few people understand why and how the benefits of beta glucan work. Czech researchers state it the best:
“Despite almost 150 years of research, the exact mechanisms of their action remain unclear. (6)
More information about glucans has recently been added to the mystery: The number and type of glucans seem limitless. The University of Louisville, Department of Pathology states, “The number of individual glucans is almost as great as the number of sources used for their isolation.” (7)
On the reverse side, there are a very limited number of naturally occurring beta glucan sources that consist of:
- Edible mushrooms (Chaga, Shitake, Maitake, Wood cauliflower, and snow mushrooms)
Beta Glucan Benefits: What Is Beta-1, 3D Glucan?
Of all the beta glucans that have been studied, Beta-1, 3D seems to hold the most health potential for individuals who supplement with it.
Medical doctors are even using (1–3)-β-D glucan as a non-invasive way to determine if patients have been affected with fungal infections. (8) This is unlike any other immune supplements that use unnatural ways to simply stimulate or alter the immune response.
Several prestigious universities with over 50 years of research from around the world document that Beta-1, 3D Glucan has been shown to boost the immune system to provide support and balance.
Beta Glucan Benefits: Potential Side Effects
In essence, the main “side effect” of beta glucan is that it assists your body to heal from sickness and disease.
The majority of clinical trials conducted on animals and humans have not uncovered any adverse effects related to taking beta glucans whatsoever. (9)
For example, a 13-week clinical trial uncovered that when a maximum deliverable oral dose was administered to rats, there were no harmful effects measured whatsoever.
When people take them orally, they are well tolerated and are considered by the FDA to be generally regarded as safe (GRAS).
However, when administered intravenously, it has been reported that “Beta-glucans may cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, hives, flushing, rash, high or low blood pressure, or excessive urination.” (10) Intravenous administration has also been associated with lung inflammation.
Important Points To Know About Beta Glucan Benefits
Beta glucan benefits include being one of the most effective supporters of all around gut health, which can lead to better immunity, improved cardiovascular health and a lower risk of obesity. Always remember to check with your healthcare provider before taking immune-boosting supplements like beta glucan, especially Beta-1, 3D Glucan.
Glucans are so successful at enhancing immune function that they can literally work against immune-suppressing drugs that autoimmune patients regularly take. (11)
If you plan on purchasing Beta-1, 3D Glucan for a family member or friend, make sure that they are not taking any of these immune depressing drugs:
- Azathioprine (Imuran)
- Basiliximab (Simulect)
- Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
- Daclizumab (Zenapax)
- Muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3)
- Mycophenolate (CellCept)
- Tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf)
- Sirolimus (Rapamune)
- Prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone)
- Corticosteroids (glucocorticoids) and others.
An article published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology stresses this point:
“In addition, variations in β-glucan structure and composition are highly dependent on the particular method by which a β-glucan preparation is processed or manufactured, and these variations can have a significant impact on their respective immune stimulatory activity an effect that also could lead to significant toxicity when crude preparations are used therapeutically.”
Beta glucan is a gentle supplement that can be taken daily as our helper regarding our body's systems and functions. Learn more about using beta glucan with kids. But it's important to remember that not all glucan products on the market are created equal and it is very important to stay away from synthetic varieties with harmful fillers.
Beta glucan is one form of soluble dietary fiber that's strongly linked to improving cholesterol levels and boosting heart health. Like many fibers, it's available in supplement form. As with any supplement, make sure you purchase Beta-1, 3D Glucan from a trusted source and under the guidance of your natural health care provider.