Different Sources of Beta D glucan Powder
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) extract, Beta D glucan 10-50% UV
Chaga mushroom(Inonotus obliquus) extract, Beta D glucan 30% UV
Cordyceps sinensis extract, Beta D glucan 40% UV
Turkey tail mushroom(Coriolus versicolor) extract, Beta D glucan 30% UV
Maitake mushroom(Grifola frondosa) extract, Beta D glucan 30% UV
Agaricus blazei murrill extract,Beta D glucan 45% UV
Shii-take/shiitake mushroom extract, Beta D glucan 30-50% UV
Oyster mushroom(Pleurotus ostreatus) extract, Beta D glucan 30% UV
Lion’s Mane mushroom(hericium erinaceus) extract, Beta D glucan 40% UV
Black fungus(Auricularia auricula) extract, Beta D glucan 30% UV
Phellinus igniarius extract, Beta D glucan 30% UV
Oat extract, Beta D glucan 25%, 45%, 60%, 70%, 80% UV
Beta Glucan Overview
One of the most common sources of β(1,3)D-glucan for supplement use is derived from the cell wall of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). However, β(1,3)(1,4)-glucans are also extracted from the bran of some grains, such as oats and barley, and to a much lesser degree in rye and wheat. The β(1,3)D-glucans from yeast are often insoluble. Those extracted from grains tend to be both soluble and insoluble. Other sources include some types of seaweed, and various species of mushrooms, such as reishi, shiitake, Chaga and maitake.
Beta glucan is a polysaccharide that is found in such foods as oats, barley, mushrooms, and yeasts. Also, to a lesser extent in rye and wheat. For decades scientists have known beta glucan as a food constituent, and they knew it was abundant in the foods as just named. It is extremely difficult to extract and purify, however. Oat bran contains about 7 percent beta glucan, and is inexpensive, but only good as a food. It is too weak to use as a supplement or in a cream. Dry rolled oats contain about 5%, as does pearled barley. Whole wheat and rye contain about 2%. It wasn’t until the l980’s that commercial beta glucan creams started appearing. Generally they were weak and overpriced due to the high cost of extracting. Finally, about 1999, technology succeeded in producing less expensive beta glucan from both oats and brewers yeast. Now, 200 mg oral capsules were offered in amounts that were honestly biologically effective. Powerful 1% topical creams also appeared. Some companies, however, still refused to put realistic amounts of beta glucan in their products. One company, for example, put out two different strengths- one was called “-24” but only actually contained a mere 3 mg of beta glucan per capsule! The other was called “-100”, but only actually contained a mere 10 mg. These were very, very expensive, despite being biologically useless.
Fortunately, such deficient products long ago disappeared from the market place. Just read the label to see how much beta glucan is in what you buy. The amount by per cent must be clearly stated by law. Eventually, even further breakthroughs happened. Beta glucan could be extracted from brewers yeast with 80 percent purity (80 percent purity for beta glucan is very practical). As of 2011 the oat products still haven’t been able to match this price and strength of the yeast product, but have come up to over 80 percent purity at a good price. Mushroom glucan is simply too expensive. You must remember the natural supplement industry can be as bad as any other, since advertising and profits are often more important than helping people be healthier and living longer naturally. There are some wonderful, sincere, and dedicated people in this industry, but they theirs is, “free of fat and protein”, which makes it superior! The consumer can get very confused as to which source is better, how much one needs to take, and what price is fair. Chemically we only need to be concerned that what we buy is a true 1,3-D-beta glucan. This means it is a basic “1,3” position on the glucose chain. Yeast and mushroom glucans are 1,3/1,6 positions, while oat and barley glucans are 1,3/1,4 positions. It just doesn’t make any difference folks. They are all true 1,3 glucans, and basically have the same biological benefits. This was proven quite conclusively in 1997 at the University ofHamburg in Germany (Carbohydrate Research v 297). Dr. Kulicke and his cohorts concluded, “All glucans investigated, regardless of molar mass and solution structure, stimulate the investigated immunological measures more than a commercially available biomedical d-rug used for comparison”. They discovered this after studying human blood monocytes for, “tumo-r necrosis factor alpha release activity”. This basically means they measured real human blood to see how the glucans would help strengthen immune qualities and resist infection.
What are the major benefits of taking beta glucan? This nutrient benefits anyone who wants to be healthier, live longer, deal with the stress of modern society, be less allergenic, speed up healing, and resist the dangerous microbes, bacteria and viruses that seem to be everywhere. As you saw in the contents, the major reason to take beta glucan is to enhance your immune system. If you have benign or malignant tumo-rs it is a powerful adjuvant (which means to aid or help) to whatever else you are doing, whether it is taking chemotherapy or eating a macrobiotic diet. It is an effective way to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, especially when used with other natural supplements. The effects on your skin are dramatic and it should be a daily part of your skin care routine. It has been found to help regulate blood sugar levels especially in cases of diabetes. There are various other benefits, such as protection from ionizing radiation. These are discussed in Chapter 7. Now that beta glucan is inexpensive, and has come out of the scientific closet after all these years, we will certainly see many more studies on real people to find new uses for this wondrous natural food extract. How much should you take? Some studies used ridiculous amounts in test animals- like 100 mg per kilogram. This equates to about 7,000 mg in humans.
Interestingly enough, they found no negative side effects, even at such extreme doses. Generally people take 200 mg a day for immunity and cholesterol lowering. If you have a medical condition, and want to add beta glucan to your repertoire, you can take 400 mg a day. If you have, say, diabetes, cance-r or another serious condition, you could take 400 mg a day for one year, and then drop down to a maintenance dose of the usual 200 mg. Just 50 grams of (dry) oatmeal or barley contains an amazing 2,500 mg! Just 100 grams of (uncooked) whole wheat pasta contains 2,000 mg. Can you take this with prescription d-rugs and medication? Yes, you can, but “complementary medicine” just doesn’t work. Why take toxic d-rugs you don’t need, when you can cure yourself naturally? Beta glucan is simply a food extract we find abundantly in such foods as oats, barley, wheat, and rye. It has no known side effects even in very extreme doses. It has a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) classification from the FDA. Actually, it has been shown repeatedly to enhance the actions of many such d-rugs. For example, if you are taking an antibiotic it may well help the potency of it. This is not the point of this book, however, to recommend the use of allopathic d-rugs. The published world medical literature has numerous studies on beta glucan. Scientists knew about it long before it became a popular supplement. In 1998 German researchers published a review with 25 references on oat and barley glucans.
Canadian scientists in 1997 (Canadian Chemical News v 49) did a nice review with 11 references on oat glucans, since oats are a major agricultural product in Canada. Peter Wood at the Center for Food and Animal Research in Ottawa did a good review in Cereal Chemistry, which revealed beta glucan is also found in rye. A second review was published in the Journal of Cereal Science. He stressed that oat and barley glucans were very effective for lowering cholesterol. They originally did a review with 23 references back in 1991 (Trends in Food Science and Technology v 2). The book Technology of Functional Cereal Products (2008, Hamacker) devoted a chapter to the, “health-promoting effects” of oat glucan. The article “Arguments in Favor of Incorporating Beta Glucans in Nutrition” was published in Endorcinologica y Nutricion. They suggested this be used as a normal daily part of our diet due to the many proven health benefits. A 10 page review was published in Natural Product Reports (v 28, 2011). They said, “Beta glucans have been shown to provide a remarkable range of health benefits, and are especially important against the two most common conventional causes of death”.
That is a strong statement. In the book Novel Food Ingredients for Weight Control (2007, Woodhead) said glucans not only have multiple proven health benefits, but may well be very useful in a program of weight loss. You may be wondering how beta glucan works so powerfully. It would be very presumptuous to think we understand that very well, but certain things are known. We have large white blood cells called “macrophages” (i.e. “great eaters”), such as phagocytes, neutrophils, and other such cells found in all the tissues of our bodies. These literally devour bacteria, foreign cells, dead and dying cells, mutated cells, and other negative invaders in our bloodstream. They are the most important cells in our immune system. For example, natural killer (NK) cells eat the cance-r and infected cells along with these. These important cells in our immune systems are activated and strengthened by beta glucan, by means we don’t yet truly understand. When you take a beta glucan supplement these immune cells are more active, more powerful and effective in attacking and consuming what doesn’t belong in our systems. What is the best kind to take? Barley derived beta glucan has never been offered because oats are a more economical source. Oat beta glucan is less popular than yeast, because yeast derived is less expensive. Mushroom beta glucan is the most expensive of all, and the worst choice for your money. Some manufacturers claim they use bakers yeast, but this seems rather unbelievable, since brewers yeast is a much less expensive source. Millions of pounds of brewers yeast are discarded by the beer breweries every year, and this is why brewers yeast beta glucan is the most economical choice. What about allergies to yeast? Regular yeast, whether bakers or brewers, is one of the top ten allergenic foods known. Beta glucan, however, is so well extracted and only from the cell walls of the yeast that -even at only 80% purity- any allergenic proteins are almost completely removed or present in such small doses as to not affect you physically. Therefore it is not allergenic.
β-Glucans are polysaccharides that contain only glucose as structural components, and are linked with β-glycosidic bonds. By definition, beta-glucans are chains of D-glucose polysaccharides, linked by beta-type glycosidic bonds. These six-sided D-glucose rings can be connected to one another, on a variety of positions on the D-glucose ring structure. Some β-glucan compounds are continual repeats of D-glucose attached at a specific position.However, β-glucans can be more diverse than molecules like starch. For instance, a β-glucan molecule can be composed of repeating D-glucose units linked with β-glycosidic bonds at one position like starch, but have branching glucose side-chains attached to other positions on the main D-glucose chain. These smaller side-chains can branch off the β-glucan “backbone” (in the case of starch, the backbone would be D-glucose chains linked at the (1,4) position) at other positions like that of the 3 and 6 position. In addition, these side-chains can be attached to other types of molecules, like proteins. An example of a β-glucan that has proteins attached to it is Polysaccharide-K.
The most active forms of β-glucans are those comprising D-glucose units with (1,3) links and with side-chains of D-glucose attached at the (1,6) position. These are referred to as β-1,3/1,6 glucan. Some researchers have suggested that it is the frequency, location, and length of the side-chains rather than the backbone of β-glucans that determine their immune system activity. Another variable is the fact that some of these compounds exist as single-strand chains, while the backbones of other β(1,3)-glucans exist as double- or triple-stranded helix chains. In some cases, proteins linked to the β(1,3)-glucan backbone may also be involved in providing therapeutic activity. Although these compounds can potentially enhance immune function, it must be emphasized that this research is in its infancy. In addition, there are differing opinions on which molecular weight, shape, structure, and source of β(1,3)-glucans provide the greatest biological activity.
Beta Glucan and Immunity
Ninety per cent of our immunity comes from our digestive system. Strong, healthy digestion equals good immunity. A whole grain based macrobiotic diet is the key to healthy digestion. Eating two meals a day and fasting 24 hours every week helps greatly. Taking supplements like good (refrigerated) multi-strain acidophilus, FOS, and glutamine are also very supportive. You have heard about exotic, bioengineered supposed wonders of medical science like “interferon alpha” for enhancing immunity. These are priced out of the reach of any but the rich. The truth is that interferon has been a toxic, over-touted failure from the beginning. The strongest immunity enhancer on earth has been known about for over thirty years now. Nothing rivals beta glucan for immune enhancement. No substance on earth- manmade or natural- has international, published studies to back it up like beta glucan does. In the following pages you will see the last thirty years of published research to prove this. We certainly need more human studies for various illnesses and conditions. It is easy and inexpensive to give real people beta glucan and then test their various immunity parameters. The best review of all was published in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (v 3, 2001). This was done at the University of Louisville with a full 49 references. “Beta Glucans as Immunomodulators”. “The immunomodulating effects of beta glucans are well established during the development of immune reactions.” All the human references will be covered in this chapter. At TulaneUniversity (Annals of Surgery v 211, 1990) trauma patients were about to undergo surgery for their injuries. Half were given beta glucan, and half were given placebos. The ones who got the glucan had a zero total mortality rate, compared to a full 29% mortality rate for the ones who got the placebo!!! A zero mortality rate! The doctors said macrophages are key to immunity, and glucans are proven macrophage stimulants. This was over 20 years ago, but beta glucan is still not given to patients prior to or after surgery. This should be routine.
Again, in the above journal (v 220, 1994) at HarvardUniversity patients undergoing serious thoracic and abdominal surgery were given either beta glucan or a placebo. Over one fourth of people undergoing major surgery get infectious complications. The average cost per patient is over $12,000. “Patients who received beta glucan had significantly fewer infectious complications, decreased intravenous antibiotic requirement, and shorter intensive care stay. Beta glucan is safe, and appears to be effective in the further reduction in the morbidity and and cost of major surgery.” Very well put. A second study at HarvardMedicalSchool (Archives of Surgery 129, 1994) was very similar to the above. More high-risk surgical patients were given beta glucan, while others were given placebos. The ones getting the beta glucan were given varying doses, both before and after their thoracic and abdominal surgeries. Only one of the patients got an infection who was taking high dose glucan. Four of the placebo patients got serious infections. They concluded, “Beta glucan was generally safe and well tolerated, may decrease postoperative infection rates, and warrants further investigation.” At TokyoUniversity (Surgery Today v 23, 1993) people with gastric cance-r were given glucan from lentinan mushrooms. Some were given intravenous glucans, and some simply water both before and after surgery. Very sophisticated diagnostic tests were done, especially for lymphocytes.
The results are too sophisticated (i.e. measuring exotic parameters like Leu11, CD4 and LeuM3 cells) to discuss by name, but their immunity was dramatically increased. The surgeries were far more successful, with less infection and complications, in the glucan patients. At MinooCityHospital inJapan (Japanese Journal of Cance-r and Chemotherapy v 30, 1981) lentinan glucan was given to more gastric cance-r patients. This was a full 30 years ago! People with gastric cance-r have low immunity and poor quality of life when undergoing chemotherapy. Surgery is risky and complications are common. Even with the harmful medical treatments that continued their immunity was improved with a better quality of life giving them mushroom glucan. At YamaguchiUniversity in Japan more lentinan glucan was given to people after dangerous cardiopulmonary bypass surgery (CPB). This may be the most dangerous of all surgeries. This was published in the International Journal of Immunopharmacology (v 21, 1999). Half the patients were given lentinan glucan and half were not. “The preoperativeadministration of lentinan for patients undergoing CPB ameliorated the impairment of natural killer cell activity, and promoted the rapid recovery of the CD4 positive cells. “ In Warsaw(Przemysl Spozysczy v 56, 2002) a well referenced review was published. Human studies have shown, “Dietary beta glucan enhances immunity by activation of macrophage cells, doubling their counts in 24 hours.
Dietary beta glucan also acts as an antioxidant protecting the body against free radical damage and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Dietary beta glucan can be helpful in treatment of many immunity-related diseases.” Very well stated. At the famous MaastrictUniversity ileostomy patients were given oat beta glucan enriched diet, and others a control diet. This means these people had an external orifice for their small intestine, and had to defecate in an attached plastic pouch. (Molecular Nutrition & Food Research v 51, 2000). The doctors said all true glucans have immune-modulating effects thought to be mainly due to affecting leukocytes. After giving these patients glucan they confirmed this line of thought. They performed very sophisticated immunity tests, and got some very strong results. Their immunity strengthened despite their digestive disorder. This confirmed the power of oat glucans as well as from yeast and fungi. More ileostomic patients were given beta glucan at the same university (Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology (v 46, 2011). They found, “The consumption of oat beta glucan seems to decrease the levels of antimicrobial peptides in fecal water from human ileostomy patients.” The University of Strathclyde in Glascow did a fine review on animal and human studies with beta glucan (International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms v 5, 2003).
In addition to the proven immune enhancement benefits they said, “Recent research has also shown that some of these mushroom-derived polymers may possess direct cytotoxic effects on cance-r cells.” Soon we will be routinely using beta glucan for treating various forms of cance-r naturally. At the State University of Tennessee in 1996 (ProceedingsBeltwide Cotton Conference, v 1) researchers were aware that, “Glucans, isolated from natural sources, are known to stimulate humoral and cellmediated immunity in humans and animals. It is now established that 1,3 beta glucans are recognized by macrophages and perhaps, neutrophils and NK cells via a 1,3 beta glucan specific receptor. Following receptorbinding, glucan modulates macrophage cytokine expression.” This simply means they understand the way glucans work is by binding to macrophages, neutrophils and NK cells and making them more potent in their defense of the body. This fine review had 47 references.
At KobeUniversity (Myoscience 41, 2000) HIV patients were given beta glucan. This is not a natural virus, but rather a manmade bioengineered one from the warfare labs of the world. There is no cure. There are no effective medical treatments. Maitake glucan was given to these HIV patients. Their immunity rose dramatically. “85% of the respondents reported an increased sense of well-being with regard to various symptoms and secondary diseases caused by HIV.” To effectively treat an “untreatable” illness like this is nothing less than amazing. There are almost countless animal studies published around the world proving the immune enhancing effects of all beta glucans. We will mention a few of these. At TulaneUniversity in New Orleans in 1987 (International Journal of Immunopharmacology v 9), researchers showed that beta glucan enhanced the production of both interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) in rats. Their plasma levels of IL-1 and IL-2 were measured after this was given. They concluded, “Thus beta 1,3 glucan will enhance IL-1 and IL-2 production and elevations in lymphokine production can be maintained up to 12 days.”