Glucans are a type of polysaccharide that has been studied for their potential effects on health. Beta-glucans are some of the most popular and widely researched of these molecules, suggesting a wide range of pharmacological benefits. What is beta glucan good for? Read on to learn more.
What is Beta Glucan?
Beta-glucans are naturally occurring polysaccharides (or sugars) that are frequently found in the cell walls of fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and certain bacteria. They are also a common component of certain plants, including oats, barley, and cereal grains. This also makes beta-glucan a form of soluble fiber, which is why it often appears as a dietary supplement. However, beta-glucan has also been studied for its healing and immunomodulating potential, which may extend to positive effects on some forms of cancer. If you’re ready to learn how beta-glucan support your alternative cancer treatment, continue reading below.
What Does Beta Glucan Do for You?
Beta-glucan is perhaps best known as a type of dietary fiber. Fiber appears in soluble and insoluble forms. Soluble fibers, like beta-glucan, dissolve in water, forming into a gel-like substance. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, remaining fairly intact within the digestive system.
Fiber is good for the digestive tract, contributing to regular bowel movements by softening or adding bulk to stools or helping stools clump together easier. Fiber may also contribute to a healthy gut by feeding the natural gut bacteria residing in your lower intestine. As fiber remains relatively intact in your digestive tract, it can withstand the stomach acids and help push food towards the colon, where it can feed the bacteria. Studies suggest that a diet high in fiber may reduce the occurrence of hemorrhoids and potentially reduce the risk of colorectal cancers.
Beta-glucans, and fiber in general, have been studied for their effects on heart health. Studies show that beta-glucans can effectively reduce cholesterol levels and keep blood sugar levels balanced to reduce the risk of heart disease. By incorporating a daily intake of beta-glucans, you may be able to reduce your cholesterol level and bring it to a normal state. This combined effect suggests that high levels of beta-glucan may contribute to better heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that beta-glucan may also stimulate the immune system. This immune-boosting effect comes as a result of beta-glucans activating and enhancing the function of several immune system cells in the body, including macrophages, natural killer cells, neutrophils, and basophils.
While this is helpful for fighting off microbial infections, the immunomodulating potential of beta-glucans maybe even more helpful for those with suppressed immune systems. Studies show that beta-glucans may have a therapeutic role in parasitic infections that contribute to immunosuppression. Beta-glucans may also reduce the immunosuppressing effects of environmental toxins and other toxic agents, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This may help to offset the negative side effects that are often associated with those forms of cancer treatment. If you’ are looking to improve immune stimulation and overall immune function, consider upping your daily intake of beta-glucan.
The immunomodulating potential of beta-glucans suggests that they may also be effective in reducing tumors and combating cancer. Beta-glucans have a protective effect against toxic carcinogens, preventing the mutation of healthy cells into cancer cells. Beta-glucans may also inhibit tumor growth by activating macrophages and natural killer cells and their cytotoxic abilities against cancer cells. Beta-glucan may also prevent the growth and proliferation of tumors by cutting off blood flow to tumors. This inhibits the supply of oxygen and nutrients to tumor cells, essentially starving them and allowing them to die.
Beta-glucans can also be used in conjunction with other forms of alternative cancer treatment. Along with its ability to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, beta-glucan may enhance the effects of certain forms of immunotherapy, including monoclonal antibodies.
At Immunity Therapy Center, we include beta-glucans in our at-home treatment programs following inpatient therapy. This offers continued treatment while supporting your overall health.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.