Support for the Immune System

Beta-Glucan Background and Benefits

Beta-glucans are complex sugars known as polysaccharides. They are composed of simple sugars called D-glucose monomers that are linked together by beta-glycosidic bonds. The most chemically active form of beta-glucans is known more specifically as B-1,3/1,6 glucan.

The most common dietary source of beta-glucan is baker’s yeast, known scientifically as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is also found in the bran of grains such as barley and oats. Wheat and rye bran also contains beta-glucans, but at significantly lower levels. Beta-glucan is typically produced in commercial quantities by fermenting oat bran with baker’s yeast. Some types of mushrooms are also commercial sources of beta-glucan.

Beta-glucan is known as a biological response modifier due to its effect on the immune system. Some immune cells contain locations known as complement receptor 3 and dectin-1 receptors. These sites bind to beta-glucans, which can stimulate an immune response. Some researchers believe that the frequency, length and location of beta-glucan’s side chains are a more significant indicator of its immune system activity than the structure of the molecule’s backbone.

Some forms of beta-glucan are also a common ingredient in soluble fiber supplements and texturing agents. Other uses of beta-glucan include the diagnosis of fungal infections, especially species in the Agaricus and Aspergillus genera.

Uses of Beta-Glucan

The most common use of beta-glucan is to support the immune system. Additional uses include heart health and support of the digestive system.

Immune System Support

Beta-glucan may be especially beneficial for people whose immune systems have been compromised due to chronic fatigue and emotional stress. It may also help people whose breathing patterns need support if affected by seasonal conditions.

Digestive Support

Preliminary research indicates that beta-glucans may help the symptoms of poor digestion, including bloating, gas, and discomfort.

Heart Health Support

Cardiovascular health may also be supported by beta-glucans, especially the management of a healthy cholesterol profile.

Healthy Circulation support

Beta-glucan may also help people maintain healthy circulation, especially those with a high body mass index.

Signs You May Need Beta-Glucan

A compromised immune system is the most common sign that you may need beta-glucan. A family history of cardiovascular conditions may also indicate that beta-glucan will be beneficial. Emotional and physical stress may also deplete your beta-glucan levels. That is why those with low natural levels of beta-glucan who require additional support tend to be athletes, and those with stressful lifestyles.

Synonyms and Similar Forms of Beta-Glucan

Beta Glucan, beta glucans

Health Articles

8 Super Ingredients To Boost Your Immune System

Aching joints, headaches, itchy eyes and a sore, red nose: colds can leave you feeling pretty miserable. The flu can be much more serious, with thousands of people hospitalised due to the virus each year. Fortunately, there is plenty we can do to ...

Other Ingredients That May Be Of Interest

Huperzine A

Brain Health Support Huperzine A Background and Benefits Huperzia serrata, previously known as Lycopodium serratum, is a type of clubmoss. Its common names include Chinese Club Moss and toothed clubmoss. This plant is also known as Jin Bu Huan and Qian Ceng Ta in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM...


Support for Heart Health Policosanol Background and Benefits Policosanol is a general term for a mixture of alcohols that are extracted from plant waxes. It typically comes from sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum), although yams and beeswax are also commercial sources of policosanol. Policosanol c...