Beta-D-Glucan—or more simply, beta glucan—is a form of soluble fiber.
You have probably heard that fiber is good for you – good for your heart and good for your digestive system. All that is true, but beta glucan can also stimulate and support the immune system. Let’s get into a few more details about how beta glucan can work for you.
There are two basic types of fiber—soluble and insoluble. These are both types of carbohydrates. Your body can digest these forms of carbohydrates.
Insoluble fiber won’t dissolve in water but helps “bulk up” food in the digestive system and can help improve and promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains and in many vegetables.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in foods like oats, oatmeal, peas, beans, nuts, beans, lentils, apples, blueberries, citrus fruits, carrots and barley.
Beta glucan is a type of soluble fiber found in high levels in barley, oats, oatmeal, other whole grains, seaweed and especially in mushrooms like reishi, maitake and shitake.
It is especially interesting to know that medicinal mushrooms—like reishi, maitake and shitake mushrooms—have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other traditional medical systems to treat infections and cancer. It is believed that the reason these types of mushrooms have been useful in these traditional systems is the high content of beta glucan found in them. Cancer immunotherapy using beta glucan-containing fractions of these medicinal mushrooms have been used in Japan since the 1970s and in China since the 1980s. The types of cancer treated with these beta-glucan based therapies include gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers. These same therapies have also been investigated in immune deficient diseases like HIV/AIDs and in elderly patients.
Beta glucan has many benefits including:
Beta glucan has not been reported to have any safety issues.
Beta glucans are used around the world as adjuvant cancer therapies and in cancer vaccines—stand by for more information as it becomes available!