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  Beta 1,3 Glucan  
 
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Beta-1,3-glucan is obtained from purified yeast and stimulates the immune system by contacting a specific receptor on the surface of macrophages. When these cells are activated, it stimulates a cascade of events which enhances immunity. Macrophages play an essential and pivotal role in the initiation and maintenance of the immune response. The activated macrophage can not only recognize and kill tumor cells non-specifically, they removing foreign debris, and produce essential cytokines that are able to stimulate the immune system in general and boost bone marrow production.

While mannan or polymannose from the aloe vera plant has some macrophage activating potential, it is slight compared to that of glucan. There are several different glucans with different levels of activity, the most active of which is beta-1,3-glucan from the cell wall of yeast. Medicinal mushrooms also contain beta-glucan.

Originally, the cost for high purity Beta-1, 3 glucan was astronomical and out of the reach of most people. Competition and advances in extraction technology have reduced the cost of products shown to contain Beta glucan to a much more accessible level. However, the cost is still high for some products.

A number of women with recurrent malignant ulcers of the chest wall following mastectomy and radiation for breast cancer were treated with topical Beta-glucan. These normally very indolent ulcers healed completely. Subsequently, the same material had been used in the therapy of large pressure ulcers at the New Orleans Charity Hospital with complete resolution of the ulcers, some of which went down to the sacrum. An unexpected benefit was the complete lack of infection and the rapidity of the reappearance of normal skin.

Dr. Myra Patchen discovered that beta-glucan is also a free radical scavenger. It is able to protect blood macrophages from free radical attack during and after the radiation allowing these cells to continue to carry their important functions in the irradiated body and release factors important to the restoration of normal bone marrow production.

In the light of what we know about free radicals today and their potential to accelerate aging, cause cancer and other diseases, this particular effect of beta-1,3-glucan is especially important. Free-radical scavenging assays were repeated in different models and which confirmed the antioxidant effect.

It also has an antifungal effect, shown in experiments with Candida albicans. Such a broad anti-infective spectrum of beta-1,3-glucan can be explained only by the fact that the immunostimulation produced by this unique material is non-specific.

Beta-1,3-glucan basically is a highly purified form of a food product. Technically it is a polysaccharide molecule completely made with glucose. Glucose is a simple saccharide that the body transforms to energy as ATP and stores in muscles, liver and other tissues in a form of glycogen. Beta-1,3- glucan is different from energy-storing glucose-containing polysaccharides because the connection between the glucose units is different, more specifically, it is the beta-1,3-linkage, which makes this compound so unique. It is Generally Recognized As Safe (category GRAS according to FDA) and has no toxicity or side effects. Beta-1,3-glucan is not only orally effective, completely non-toxic and safe, but is one of the most potent stimulators of the immune response. Although derived from baker's yeast, properly extracted Beta-1, 3 glucan is a pure isolate and does not contain enough yeast proteins to cause a reaction in those allergic to yeast.

There are no absolutes for determining the exact amount of Beta glucan taken to maximize and potentiate your immune system. A suggested maintenance dose of 100mg - 200mg for average sized individuals is reasonable, with higher doses suggested when combating specific conditions. Your doctor should be consulted to evaluate individual medical conditions and corresponding dosages.
 

 
 

Beta 1,3 Glucan can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Premature/Signs of Aging
 As shown in many studies concerning the activity of beta-glucan as an immune stimulator and biological defense modifier, there are benefits to be obtained as an anti-aging supplement. It helps with infection, tumors and radiation damage and is an antioxidant and lipid balance enhancer. The result is improved general health and enjoyment of life as we age.

Circulation

  Atherosclerosis
 Beta-1,3-glucan can be added to the diet whether one is taking cholesterol-reducing drugs or not. Macrophage activation will not only help to draw extra cholesterol from the blood but it also can prevent further plaque formation on the arterial walls and phagocytize existing plaque which is recognized as a foreign body.

Habits

  Overtraining, Effects
 People who exercise excessively, professional and amateur athletes as well as people who workout intensively can experience a temporary immune deficiency which can result in infection. Beta-1,3-glucan provides nonspecific immunostimulation that can increase the resistance to illness.

Immunity

  Weakened Immune System
 Beta glucan, having its own immune stimulating properties, will help other substances like antibiotics, antifungals and antiparasitics to work better.

  AIDS / Risk
 The first human study on Beta-1,3-glucan's systemic effect was done in the mid 1980s's on advanced HIV infection. An increase in serum cytokines IL-1, IL-2 and Interferon was measured.

  Immune System Imbalance (TH2 Dominance)
 Beta 1, 3-glucan is commercially extracted and found in the common yeast. It is also found in oats and oat or rye sprouts. It stimulates macrophage and neutrophil function.

Lab Values

  Elevated Total Cholesterol
 The oral use of beta-1,3-glucan increases the effectiveness of other oral cholesterol-reducing agents, such as niacin.

Organ Health

  Diabetes Type II
 Research has demonstrated the anti-diabetic effect of IL-1 cytokine, which increases insulin production resulting in lowering of blood glucose level. Macrophages are the main source of IL-1 in the body and it's production can be boosted by beta-1,3-glucan supplementation. The high rate of atherosclerosis and the additional requirement for antioxidants in diabetic patients, makes supplemental beta-1,3-glucan an obvious choice.

Risks

  Cancer / Risk - General Measures
 Macrophages are an important component of the human immune system. Once they are activated by the Beta 1,3 glucan molecule they become awesome disease destroyers. Besides most pathogens, macrophages can recognize and kill a variety of tumor cells. In fact, any cancer is fair game for an activated macrophage. [M. L. Patchen, Ph.D. Department of Experimental Hematology and Radiation Sciences, Armed Forces Radiobiology Institute]

The initial 9 patients studied had malignant melanoma, adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung, or carcinoma of the breast. Control and experimental lesions were injected: subsequently biopsies were performed at varying intervals for histologic evaluation. Always when glucan was administered intralesionally, the size of the lesion was strikingly reduced in as short a period as 5 days. This reduction was associated with necrosis of the tumor and a monocytic infiltration. In small lesions, resolution was complete, whereas in large lesions, resolution was partial. The amount of glucan injected and the quantity of residual tumor appeared to be related. [NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE Medline Unique Identifier:75135679]

Tumors, Malignant

  Melanoma
 Peter Mansell, M.D., injected Beta glucan into subcutaneous nodules of malignant melanoma and biopsied the injection sites. These sites revealed activated macrophages, but no evidence of melanoma as long as the treatment continued. [J.A. Bohn & J. N. BeMiller, Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research]
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Adenosine Triphosphate:  ATP. A compound consisting of the nucleotide adenosine attached through its ribose group to three phosphoric acid molecules. It serves to store energy in muscles which is released when it is hydrolyzed to adenosine diphosphate.

Antioxidant:  A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Candidiasis:  Infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any species of candida, usually Candida albicans. The infection is usually localized to the skin, nails, mouth, vagina, bronchi, or lungs, but may invade the bloodstream. It is a common inhabitant of the GI tract, only becoming a problem when it multiplies excessively and invades local tissues. Growth is encouraged by a weakened immune system, as in AIDS, or with the prolonged administration of antibiotics. Vaginal symptoms include itching in the genital area, pain when urinating, and a thick odorless vaginal discharge.

Cytokines:  Cytokines are chemical messengers that control immune responses. They are secreted by white blood cells, T cells, epithelial cells and some other body cells. There are at least 17 different kinds of interleuken and 3 classes of interferon called alpha, beta and gamma and various subsets. Interleukens and interferons are called “cytokines” and there are two general groupings, Th1 and Th2. Th1 (T-cell Helper type 1) promote cell-mediated immunity (CMI) while Th2 (T-cell Helper type 2) induce humoral immunity (antibodies).

FDA:  The (American) Food and Drug Administration. It is the official government agency that is responsible for ensuring that what we put into our bodies - particularly food and drugs - is safe and effective.

Free Radical:  A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron. Because another element can easily pick up this free electron and cause a chemical reaction, these free radicals can effect dramatic and destructive changes in the body. Free radicals are activated in heated and rancid oils and by radiation in the atmosphere, among other things.

Glucose:  A sugar that is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It is commonly referred to as blood sugar. The body breaks down carbohydrates in foods into glucose, which serves as the primary fuel for the muscles and the brain.

Glycogen:  A compound produced by the liver from glucose and stored in the liver and muscles. It acts as an energy source for muscles, and releases glucose from the liver to maintain blood sugar.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Macrophage:  An immune system cell that scavenges bacterial and other foreign material in the blood and tissues.

Malignant:  Dangerous. mainly used to describe a cancerous growth -- when used this way, it means the growth is cancerous and predisposed to spreading.

Milligram:  (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Topical:  Most commonly 'topical application': Administration to the skin.

Ulcer:  Lesion on the skin or mucous membrane.

Yeast:  A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.