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What is Beta Glucan?
Beta glucan is a soluble fiber or a starch called a storage polysaccharide (a chain of glucose molecules) found in the cell walls of plants such as oats and barley, as well as in fungi, algae, bacteria, lichens and yeasts. It is one of the most researched nutritional supplements in the world, with thousands of studies over many years showing that it is a powerful, but safe, natural and inexpensive immune system booster.
How Does Beta Glucan Work?
Beta glucans act as immunomodulators which help to regulate the immune system, raising its response and making it more efficient. In essence, they activate and strengthen the immune cells, also known as macrophages. Macrophages are large white blood cells present in all the tissues in our bodies, from where they target foreign substances, such as bacteria, in the bloodstream. They have also been called “natural killer cells” because of their ability to devour infected, dead and dying cells.
Beta Glucan for Heart Health
A diet consisting of generous helpings of oats has been proven to have heart health benefits through its cholesterol lowering properties. One of the reasons is that oats is an excellent source of beta glucan. A study by the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland found that a beneficial reduction of cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic people was obtained with the incorporation of modest amounts of oat extract into the diet, with a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels in one group who received a higher beta glucan concentration in the extract.
Beta Glucan against Infections
Beta glucans help the body fight infections by going into battle with harmful viruses and bacteria. They are especially efficient in fighting viruses causing upper respiratory infections and bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic treatment. Common colds, influenza, allergies and ear infections have also been treated with beta glucan.
Are There Side Effects Associated with Beta Glucan?
Beta glucan is a safe, all-natural fiber molecule. Beta 1,3-D glucan from baker’s yeast is intensely purified, containing too little yeast to cause an allergic reaction. No contra-indications with other pharmaceutical products are known to date. As with any other supplement or medication, negative reactions should be reported to your healthcare or product provider.