Beta Glucan - Mushroom Derived
Beta glucan is a polysaccharide molecule found in several sources. For health purposes, its primary sources include oats, barley, mushrooms and bakers yeast.
Researchers have studied all forms of beta glucan, which is found in more than one glucose linkage type. Linkages of (1-3), (1-4) and (1-6) linkages are known to occur.
No one knows for sure whether or not the type of linkage or the size (length) of the polysaccharide is important in determining the beneficial activities of the various types.
What is known, however, is that oats and barley, seem to have ability to support heart and circulatory functions and not much else.
Mushroom-derived materials have been used in Asia for centuries for health purposes. In fact, much of the mushroom based research has been done in Asian research laboratories. Further products derived from different mushrooms now have trade names, like Lentinan, Schizophyllan, Krestin and PSK.
Most of the Beta glucan is derived from the fruiting bodies of mushrooms. Independent peer-reviewed studies have shown the therapeutic properties of mushroom based products help support immune system function and it has also been shown to stimulate tumor necrosis factor. In one study, these polysaccharides are able to turn on infection-fighting cytokines.
Another study on Lentinan, which comes from shiitake mushrooms, mice fed the mushroom-derived material were able to block colon cancer cell progression. Still another study showed that it protected lymphocyte blood cells from undergoing DNA damage.
In addition, (1-3) glucose linkage results in the activation of macrophages that induce nitric oxide synthase, tumor necrosis factor and macrophage inhibitor proteins-all molecules that help macrophages kill off diseased cells or dangerous pathogens like viruses and bacteria.
A review article on mushroom-derived glucan showed that different mushrooms exhibited differing effects so that some mushrooms appear to act more strongly against some health challenges then against others.
There is a large body of research showing activity of mushroom-derived material against radiation, tumors and infection. However there is very little research showing exactly how this type of Beta glucan produces the benefical effects it does. Nevertheless, it appears to have very different actions and activities from oat and barley derived products.
However the immune response results of yeast-derived Beta glucan has shown to be more effective. It has also been shown to provide positive results on cholesterol and blood sugar challenged individuals. It is a powerful immune system support material. Yeast-derived products are not a treatment for any disease or condition. It is an immunomodulator that has been shown to support immune system function.
- Borchers AT, et al. "Mushrooms, tumors and immunity." Proc Soc Exp Biol Med . 1999 Sep;221(4):281-93.
- Katakoa K, et al. "Activation of macrophages by linear 1-3 beta D glucans, implications for the recognition of fungi by innate immunity." J Biol Chem . 2002 Sep 27;277(39): 26825-31.
- Camellini CM, et al. "Stuctural characterization of beta-glucans of Agaricus brasiliensis in different stages of fruiting body maturity and their use in nutraceutical products." Biotechnol Let . 2005 Sep;27(17):1295-9.
- Angeli JP, et al. "Protective effects of beta-glucan extracted from Agaricus brasiliensis against chemically induced DNA damage in human lymphocytes." Cell Biol Toxicol . 2006 Jul;22(4):285-91.
- Pacheco-Sanchez M, et al. "A bioactive (1,3), (1,4) beta D glucan from Collybia dryophila and other mushrooms." Mycologia . 2006 Mar-Apr;98(2):180-5.
- Ng ML, Yap AT. "Inhibition of human colon cancer development by Lentinan from shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes). J Altern Complement Med . 2002 Oct;8(5):581-9.
- Ooi VE, Liu, F. "Immunomodulation and anti-cancer activity of polysaccharide-protein complexes." Curr Med Chem . 2000 Jul;7(7):715-29.
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