Glucan Sources Matter More Than You Think

Last updated June 20, 2022

You already know that fiber is good for you and that dietary sources of it are an important part of keeping the digestive system running properly, lowering cholesterol, and keeping blood sugar levels under control. What you may not know, however, is that the soluble fiber beta glucan is proving that it provides more benefits than your average fiber.

What is Beta Glucan?

Beta glucan is a type of soluble fiber that is classified as a naturally occurring polysaccharide that is found in the cell walls of whole grains, seaweeds, mushrooms, and yeast. (1) Essentially, they are glucose polymers that are often used as food additives, with the most common forms in the US being those that are extracted from baker’s yeast; although, they are also readily available in oats as well.

Beta glucans are also used in medicines and health supplements due to their health benefits. As the body does not produce this fiber on its own, it must be ingested from other recognized beta glucan sources.

Beta Glucan Health Benefits

Beta glucan has undergone considerable study to determine its overall health benefits. Currently, it has shown considerable promise and benefit in four key areas.

  1. Cancer – Several studies have concluded that some forms of beta glucans may be beneficial in helping to reduce the size of cancerous tumors, as well as helping to prevent their growth and development. Some studies have also shown that the fiber helps to increase cytokines response, helping to regulate the immune system response in breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. Japanese studies have also shown that beta glucans ingestion in mice led to an increase in the white blood cells known as neutrophils that help to destroy cancer cells in tumors. (2)
  2. Heart Health – You’ve likely heard about the heart health benefits of oats, and much of this is due to the levels of beta glucan that they contain. Studies have shown that regular daily intake of a minimum of three grams of beta glucan can help reduce high LDL cholesterol levels by as much as seven percent (3). Additionally, both male and female participants in the studies also showed much lower total cholesterol levels after five weeks, even with lower dosages of the extract.
  3. Immunity – Beta glucans have been studied for more than a century for their ability to regulate the immune system. They have proven to increase the activity of the pathogen-fighting immune cells known as macrophages. Glucans interact with these cells, resulting in an increase in the number and size of B-Cells, T-Cells, and NK-Cells, which are the cells that are responsible for fighting off viruses, bacteria, and microbes (4). There is also evidence that glucans have a stimulating effect of lymphocytes, which increases the number of cells that destroy viruses and tumor cells.
  4. Infections – The over-prescription of antibiotics has led to an increase in viruses and bacteria that are resistant to traditional treatments. Studies performed in Nigeria have shown that beta glucans have a significant effect on bacterial infections such as Escherichia coli (5). Additionally, studies have shown that the introduction of yeast beta glucans not only protects against sepsis but also kills bacteria that are in the blood. Glucans have also been shown to reduce the chances of infection when given after serious wounds or surgery and to lessen the effects of upper respiratory tract infections.

Why Does Source Matter?

While beta glucans have shown considerable health benefits, the source of fiber plays a key role in the areas in which it provides the most benefit. Studies using specific beta glucan sources have also been performed, showing that those found in oats, yeast, and mushrooms each provide their own benefits:

  • Glucans from cereals are the simplest structures, with linear beta (1,3;1,4)-D-glucans
  • Yeast, fungi, and certain bacteria provide branched beta (1,4;1,6)-D-glucans (6)
  • These differences, along with the lengths of the branches, the charges of the polymers, solubility, and the conformation all have an impact on how well they perform in biological activities.

Research evaluating glucans delineates between the types and sources, which allows for a greater understanding of how each type performs different processes in the body. While some forms, such as those sourced from barley, have been found to provide protection against chemotherapies. Glucans sourced from other plants have shown more beneficial effects in heart health and lowering cholesterol, while fungal sources have proven beneficial in glucose intolerance, diabetes, and other metabolic issues. Studies have also shown that specific beta glucan sources provide additional benefits in multiple areas, versus individual processes.

The BEST Beta Glucan Source

The scientific literature is clear in one thing: beta glucan sourced from baker’s yeast has shown the most benefits in multiple areas, leading researchers to focus even more on this source in more recent studies. Yeast glucans have shown promise in the following areas:

  • Reduced mortality due to cancer in rats
  • Increase in cancer-killing neutrophils
  • Protection against infectious diseases
  • Shorter reaction time to infectious materials
  • Controlling infection post-surgery in high-risk patients
  • Decreased reliance on IV antibiotics and ICU stays after surgery
  • Protection against radiation exposure
  • Reduction in septic shock
  • Improved wound healing
  • Decreased inflammation due to allergic rhinitis
  • Decreased tissue damage due to arthritis

Each of these benefits has been noted in scientific journals, showing that the best source for beta glucans is baker’s yeast in its raw form. The numerous benefits provided by research continue to provide even more insight into this source of glucans, and its full benefits are still being studied. Beta glucans are available in different supplements and foods. In their marketing genius, Cheerios is currently advertising that their cereal is an excellent source of oat-derived glucans, which they point out as helping to lower cholesterol. Yet we know that this is a farce. Plant-sourced glucans have not been proven to help with heart health, and are not as successful as those from yeast in helping with immunity and cancer protection. If you want to make sure that your beta glucan provides as many benefits as possible, your best option is to look for supplements that use yeast as their source.

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FAQ

For more information about beta glucan, Better Way Health and more, visit our FAQ page. To speak to an Amazing Customer Experience Specialist, give us a call at 800.746.7640or email us at hello@betterwayhealth.com

Our Beta Glucan goes through a rigorous purification process developed by the creator: AJ Lanigan. Once this purification process takes place, only about 10% of a given “batch” meets our 85% minimum purity standard. The “scraps”, so to speak (the other 90% of the batches), are then sold off and marketed by other companies. In addition, the product has been tested time and time again to prove its efficacy. When compared to other heavily marketed immune system products, our product comes out on top every single time. These comparison studies are conducted by a disinterested third party researcher at the University of Louisville: Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka. In these studies, immune response levels are safely tested on both humans and animals. Our product is also Non-GMO and encased in a Vegan, plant-based capsule.

-Better Way Health

Better Way Health Beta Glucan is certainly one of the most renowned brands out there in the marketplace. In our world of immune system support, when you ask “What’s the best immune system supplement out there?”; well, the Better Way Health name is the most recognized.

Anyone who has spent time reviewing side-by-side comparisons of our product with, again, just about any other kind of immune compound; regardless of the source, you’re going to find that Beta Glucan 500 by Better Way Health outperforms all competitors. This has been the case for years; this is not a new phenomenon that conclusive research done by disinterested third parties in major universities and teaching hospitals all over the world agree that the potency of Glucan 500 makes it 100% the leading immune system product available.

-AJ Lanigan

The immunomodulating aspects of Beta Glucan is what makes it safer and more efficacious than the competition. Studies confirm our Beta Glucan is the most effective immune system product on the market, including even other beta glucans. The patented purification process developed by AJ Lanigan is what makes our Beta Glucan more biologically active and beneficial to consumers.

-Better Way Health

This is rather easy to answer. Glucan 300® has one really big advantage in that it is the most studied natural immonomodulator of them all. The biological studies number in the tens of thousands. For most other products, you may find 10 to 15 studies. If you have 10,000+ papers from all around the world, that cannot be ignored.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

We did a couple of studies and we published them comparing some individual glucans to individual immune-modulators like Echinacea. That is one example, most of the clinical studies on that plant failed because one company is using leaves, one is using roots and each has a different quality inside so you never know what you get.

With the "mixture" type products, it is even worse because some manufacturers are just trying to either increase the price by putting five things together, so it’s not 30 bucks it’s now $50. None of these manufacturers are actually doing any research on the combinations of their ingredients.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

This topic is like comparing Super Bowl Champions (Better Way Health Beta Glucan) to Recreational Sports Teams (the competition). There is practically no comparison; when you look at the average Immune System Product on the market, even an abundance of it may only be able to raise your Immune Response 2 to 3 percent. That increase, however, may be costing you thousands of dollars; thus, I would not consider that to be much of a comparison. For about 1$ a day, with our Glucan 500 product, you can get your immune response up to about 60% (double the innate human immunity): no one can compete with that efficacy.

-AJ Lanigan

Beta Glucan has been studied for over 50 years at major universities and teaching hospitals, all of which are disinterested third party researchers. There are more than 150,000 glucan studies on PubMed.gov and nearly 50,000 studies involving glucans and humans. Our Beta Glucan specifically has been featured in over 20 medical journals, including the prestigious American Journal of Immunology and the Journal of Medicinal Food.

-Better Way Health

There are more than 150,000 studies on Glucan that you can find on Medline and PubMed. Roughly, you can also find 50,000 studies on Glucans and their interaction with Humans. Throughout these studies, there has never been an adverse side effect found with our product, Beta Glucan 500 (Glucan #300®).

-AJ Lanigan

Other than the thousands of studies out there, there is an excellent book by Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka from the University of Louisville entitled, Beta Glucan: Nature’s Secret. It’s about 157 pages and provides a quick, educational read for those interested in everything Beta Glucan: the history, safety, benefits, and mechanism of action of Beta Glucan. The bibliography included in the book provides dozens of other peer-reviewed articles and journals for curious consumers.

-AJ Lanigan

If somebody goes to PubMed.Gov or some kind of scientific database, there is about 150,000 hits now and about 50 new papers appear every week. The research is really booming.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

Anyone / anything with an immune system can benefit from taking Beta Glucan, including both humans and pets. Our immune system is our first line of defense and it can always use additional “soldiers.” Keep in mind that our Beta Glucan makes a person’s immune system smarter and stronger, but never causes overstimulation or harm. There are no known side effects.

-Better Way Health

“Anyone who is living can benefit from a healthier Immune System” – A.J. Lanigan

People who want proper support for their Immune System should use this product. People who simply want to maintain or regain their good health can benefit from this product as well.

Many conditions, whether environmental or physical, put significant stress on the Immune System.

Infectious Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, Chemotherapy Treatment, Radiation, Allergies, Asthma, and Stress are all severely taxing on the body. This type of suppression and depression of the immune system is what puts everyone’s health person at risk. Be proactive; take a product that benefits your overall health by enhancing your body’s own natural ability to stay well and recuperate.

That’s right, anyone and everyone can benefit from the immune modulating effects of Beta-1, 3D Glucan. 

-AJ Lanigan

For people who are under heavy stress or are just working in some kind of extreme conditions, they need all the help they can get. Proactive supplementation is also recommended for Flu and Cold seasons

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

For maximum immune response, take one 500mg capsule per 50 lbs. of body weight. For example, if you weigh around 150 lbs. you would need to take 3 capsules per day. All capsules should be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. After taking your capsules, wait 30 minutes before eating or consuming other products. If you forget to take your capsules in the morning it is safe to go ahead and take your Beta Glucan during the day, although the benefits will not be as significant. Remember, these dosage instructions are for maximum immune response, any dose (i.e., 1 capsule per day) is still extremely beneficial.

-Better Way Health

Maximum dose is based on body weight: Remember, your weight in kg’s is your weight in pounds divided by 2.2. For example, a 220lb person is 100kg. The guideline for maintaining good health is 2mg/kg of body weight per day. For the 220 pound person mentioned above, who is 100kg, they should take 200mg per day and that would be extraordinarily effective Immune Support.

For people who want or need additional immune support, there is a 500mg capsule. The recommendation for this group is 20 mg/kg/day or a 500mg capsule for every 50 pounds of body weight. Thus, a 100kg person (220lb) would take 4 capsules of the 500mg per day; for a 110 pound person, two capsules of the 500mg Beta Glucan would suffice. If your weight does not calculate out to an exact dose, round up or down depending on your needs; or you can average it out by taking 1 capsule one day and 2 the next.

The point is, the product is safe and you can be flexible with dosage if you reflect the guidelines above. Even taking just 1 - 500mg capsule each day is an extremely beneficial dose.

-AJ Lanigan

For healthy people, 500 mg per day should be enough. If someone has repeated heavy infections, or, God forbid, a cancer or something like that; then you need a much larger dose.

Of courses it is not some strict measurement but for the normal size of guy 100 mg would be fine and if is a heavy infection, 500 to 1000 mg. If you have a cancer 1000 would be the best.

Neutrophils and monocytes in our blood live only for a couple of days. That is why you have a need for constant, daily, glucan consumption because they die and the new cells are appearing and then you need the glucan again to boost these immune cells.

-Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka

No, there are no known side effects pertaining to our Beta Glucan. There have been numerous safe human and animal studies showing the safety of Beta Glucan. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given our Beta Glucan GRAS rating, which means Generally Recognized as Safe under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This certification is extremely hard to achieve especially when it comes to a dietary supplement.

-Better Way Health

You can absolutely take this product without worry! There have been multiple studies done on fully-healthy people looking at every health parameter you can imagine: organs, tissues, chemicals, brain function, etcetera.

No harmful effects were caused at any dosage level. Even people who were taking doses that were exponentially higher than any level we recommend, (some of the more exotic animal studies have doses that exceed 800X the recommended dosage) displayed 0 side effects whatsoever. As I am famous for saying, “unless you hit somebody in the eye with the bottle, there is no harm that can be caused by this product”

-AJ Lanigan

Beta Glucan enhances a person’s immune response in a safe way. The average person has about a 30% active immune response. When someone takes our Beta Glucan it raises that person’s immune response to 60%, and in some cases even more, if they are taking the maximum immune response dosage. This allows for your immune system to recognize cells that are both self and non-self more effectively. I’m sure you can imagine the benefits of walking around with a doubled immune response/immune system!

-Better Way Health

Beta Glucan enhances the immune system by improving the immune response when the immune system is confronted by something that does not belong. This could be a foreign body that it sees as “non-self,” something like a virus, a bacteria, a fungus form, a cancer or a parasite.

Our Beta-1, 3D Glucan is an intensely purified, highly active form of Beta Glucan; that, when taken orally with a glass of water, attaches to specific sites on the immune cells: the CR3 receptors. By attaching or binding to these specific sites, it activates these cells. It’s like putting the cells on “high alert” to the foreign bodies that they see as non-self. This process is referred to as immune modulation, not stimulation.

Immune stimulation presumably occurs with substances like Echinacea and Colostrum. Beta Glucan modulates or activates but doesn’t over stimulate, which is key to the safety of the compound. Research shows that our Beta-1, 3D Glucan is a highly effective immune modulator. It’s easily absorbed through, what we call, the Peyer’s Patches in the Small Intestine. Once these beta glucan “micro-particles” are taken up through this area in the small intestine, they will then be absorbed through phagocytosis or “gobbled up” by the immune cells in the gut.

They’ll travel around the body and it is the immune cells themselves that will digest and secrete the perfect molecule that binds to the CR 3 receptor and activates the immune system.

-AJ Lanigan

Beta Glucan is not temperature sensitive. If it is exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures, the efficacy of the product will not be impacted. However, we do recommend keeping a close eye on your tracking information, which is sent to you via email with all orders. This way you know when your order will arrive and when you will be able to retrieve it from your mailbox or front door.

Our Beta Glucan is made in Wisconsin, USA and bottled / encapsulated in Oregon, USA.

Our highly purified Beta Glucan powder is encased in PLANTCAPS™, which is a Plant-based capsule made from pullulan – naturally fermented from tapioca.

After 50 years of research, our Beta Glucan has no known side effects, or interactions with a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) rating by the FDA. It is one of the safest, most effective dietary supplements on the market.

Many women take our Beta Glucan while breastfeeding, to help support their immune system. Babies can also benefit from mom's immune system giving the best response possible.

However, if you have any concerns whatsoever, we recommend consulting with your health care professional before use, as a precautionary measure.

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Dr. Eric L. Zielinski is a sought-after natural health educator, motivational speaker, and author. Inspired by the timeless principles in the Bible, Dr. Z’s mission is to provide people with simple, evidence-based tools that they need to achieve an abundant life. He specializes in natural remedies and empowering life strategies, and coaches clients locally in the greater Atlanta area as well as globally through his Abundant Life Health Coaching programs.

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