Beta glucan is a complex polysaccharide that can be connected in several different ways, including (1,3) Beta glucan, (1,4) Beta glucan and (1,6) Beta glucan (they are mainly a combination of all three). These are medium-chain molecules that can be extracted from Baker’s yeast, mushrooms, oats and barley. It isn’t completely clear whether or not there are absolute differences between the various derivations of Beta glucan.
However, the clinical research on the source, i.e. origin, of Beta glucan has been done. For example, oat and barley Beta glucan appear to remain within the colon and intestinal tract and help lower cholesterol, and reduce the insulin and blood sugar levels in the body. Mushroom Beta glucan, on the other hand, appears from available research to have some anti-tumor and immune system effects.
Research on yeast Beta glucan is a bit different and a great deal more detailed than the research performed on the other sources of Beta glucan. In fact, a great deal of detailed research has been done on yeast Beta glucan showing it to have a substantial effect on the immune system, on injuries due to radiation and on tumor regression. The research is so precise that exact receptor sites on immune cells have been discovered that give Beta glucan its immune supporting and tumor fighting effects.
In one research effort, it was found that yeast (1,3) Beta glucan binds directly to the Dectin-1 receptor on macrophages, giving us our first line of defense against dangerous bacteria and other health challenges. Dectin-1 is believed to be how Beta glucan is taken up into the body in the intestinal tract, as well as how it activates the macrophage to do its job as a molecular scavenger. This would make yeast Beta glucan extremely effective in helping the body fight off infection and/or help macrophages clear out abscesses or dead cells.
There is another receptor, the CR3 receptor on leukocytes, which helps fight infections and tumors by binding to antibodies along with Beta glucan in such a way that both must be bound for an effect to take place. When Beta glucan and the antibody attach to the CR3 receptor on leukocytes, the result is a destruction of a particular pathogen or tumor cell.
This has serious implications and means that doctors using the monoclonal antibody protocol against a tumor cell. There would be marked regression of the tumor site using our own body’s antibodies (or added antibodies) along with Beta glucan attaching to the receptor site.
Beta glucan has binding sites to similar receptors on human monocytes, activating them as part of the immune system. Immune cells, such as neutrophils, release leukotrienes which are active in the infection-fighting process. Beta glucan is known to be a part of this activation.
Yeast Beta glucan has a potential role in the prevention of sepsis following surgery, in radiation injury, in cancer irradiation and in the prevention of pathogenic infections. The data is very strong and has been determined down to the biochemical level—no small feat when it comes to alternative medicine research.
It appears that Beta glucan that is derived from oats and barley has none of the same effects of yeast Beta glucan. While mushroom Beta glucan has similar effects when compared to yeast Beta glucan, the research as to the biochemical action of mushroom-derived Beta glucan is not as advanced as it is with yeast-derived Beta glucan.
It’s important to remember that research studies have been done on high grade, very pure extracted Beta glucan from Baker’s yeast. When you choose the Beta glucan that’s right for you, be sure to ask not only about its origin but about the purity level you are going to buy. Buy only that product which is, at a minimum, an 80 percent Beta 1, 3-D glucan purity level.
The greatest problem with yeast derived beta glucan is the quality issue. Much controversy surrounds glucan products these days. This controversy centers around the quality issue(s) of purity level and molecular 1, 3-d linkage. In order to be effective the material must contain the proper 1, 3-d linkage.
Many manufactures and marketers hide or do not apply these generally accepted peer reviewed quality standards to their manufacturing process. Proof of quality by independent verification is seldom made available to you, the consumer, or researchers. When proof of quality is requested, if available at all, in some instances it has required court orders. This site shows you what is considered the generally accepted peer reviewed 'textbook' standards for quality, so you can become an educated researcher in the area of alternative health. Don’t use unproven, unbranded products, which can pose a risk to your health. To compare various products and to discover the 'textbook' standards for quality - Click Here
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