Beta-glucans: 3 very convincing reasons you shoud add beta glucans to your nutrition

Beta-glucans have been one of the most studied immunomodulators in the last twenty years. Also their hypocholesterolemic effects and the abbility to correct the glycemic and insulin response has been proven.

Read why they enjoy such an emerging interest.

What is beta-glucan

Beta – glucan is a unique natural complex polysaccharide, containing D- glucose subunits, linked by beta-glycosidic bindings.

Where are beta-glucans found

Beta-glucans are found in cell walls of bacteria, yeast, fungi, algae, but also in the walls of grain and other plants. Beta-glucans can be found in both soluble and insoluble forms. The differences between soluble and insoluble beta-glucans are significant in regards to application, mode of action, and overall biological activity.

01. Immunomodulatory effects of beta-glucans

Beta-glucans in the center of attention of scientists

Early studies investigating the immunomodulatory activity of beta-glucan were performed more than 60 years ago, in late fifthties. They shown an unspecific stimulation of the immune system, leading to an increased anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity after application of the substance to animals. Following numerous studies demonstrated a positive effect of beta-glucans on the ability to activate animals immune system too. During those studies number of monocytes, activation status of macro-phages and monocytes were measured to determine the immune status under various conditions (under physical exertion, growth phases, pregnancy, birth and lactation) and it was found that it led to increased resistance against bacterias (such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, Pneumocystis carinii, Listeria monocytogenes, Leishmania donovani) and various invading pathogens (i.e. influenza virus and even anthrax).

When the immunomodulatory effects of beta-glucans has been proven, the scientist turned their interest to the study of different types of beta-glucans and their combinations as beta-glucans are not a unique class, but occur in different molecular weight and structures. Depending on the origin and structure of the molecule, they differ in their biological specificity as well as in their efficacy. It seems that the more complex the structure, the more potent are the immunmodulatory effects.

How does the beta-glucans immunomodulation mechanism work

Beta-glucan is neither synthesized by the human organism nor is it found in the human body. Therefore it is identified by the immune system as foreign substance and evokes an activation of both the innate as well as the adaptive immune response. Thus the beta-glucans improve the body’s immune system defense against foreign invaders by enhancing the ability of macrophages, neutrophils and natural killer cells to respond to and fight a wide range of challenges.

A biological species that is resistant to the stimulating effects of glucan has not yet been found in the entire animal kingdom. This fact further supports the claim that beta glucans have a beneficial function, as the biological activities of glucans are probably a general biological phenomenon that has long emerged.

02. Hypocholesterolemic effects of beta-glucans

Hypocholesterolemic mechanisms of beta-glucans helps to reduce the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and bile acids by binding to glucans. It also shifts the liver from cholesterol syntheses to bile acid production. Beta-glucans also enable the fermentation by intestinal bacteria to short-chain fatty acids, which are absorbed and inhibit the hepatic cholesterol syntheses.

03. Beta-glucans can influence glycemic and insulin response

Insulin is the main hormone regulating glucose uptake from blood into muscle and fat cells. The defects in insulin signal pathways caused either by the insufficiency of insulin or the resistance to insulin play a central role in all forms of diabetes.

As acute complications of diabetes (hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, non-ketotic hyperosmolar coma) as well as chronic ones (cardiovascular diseases, chronic renal failure, retinal damage, nerve damage, and poor healing) increase the risk of the serious demage to the organism health the insuline response natural improvement is very desirable.

Both oat and fungal beta glucans reduce blood glucose concentrations after oral administration. Certain betaglucans are able to increase the viscosity of digesta in the gastrointestinal tract. Another beta-glucan showed antihyperglycemic, antihypertriglyceridaemic, antihypercholesterolemic and antiarteriosclerotic activity and other prevented an increase in blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.

The water-soluble, mixed-linkage beta-glucan is considered the main biologically active component responsible for the capacity of many oat products to lower postprandial glycaemia.

It was also find that the effect of beta-glucans to reduce blood glucose could be mediated possibly by delaying stomach emptying so that dietary glucose is absorbed more gradually.

Betaglucans are able to modulate the blood glucose level in the way that the peak level is much smoothed and the shape of the plasma glucose response curve is much flatter and thus the beta glucans may decrease appetite and reduce food intake. And there are lot of other possible effects of beta glucans to glucose and insuline management which are not simply to decribe in less comlicated way.

Beta glucans in For Long Life products

For Long Life products contain proprietary blend of medicinal mushrooms rich in betaglucans in mix which supports the synsrgy to achive the best above mentioned effects.

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