The immune system is your body's first and best line of defence when it comes to fighting off nasty viruses and diseases, and works round the clock to keep you healthy and happy as can be. For that reason, it’s worth doing whatever you can to give your immune system a leg up!
Scientists have been studying the effect of Beta Glucans on the immune system for more than 100 years, however we have only recently begun to develop a true understanding of the effects of this magical polysaccharide.
What are Beta Glucans?
Beta Glucan is a soluble fibre that grows naturally in the cell walls of certain pathogenic bacteria and fungi, as well as baker’s yeasts and some plants. You’ll typically find Beta Glucans in mushrooms and barley, as well as in your morning breakfast cereal or porridge.
Beta Glucan is known as a biological response modifier as it is able to bond with the surface of certain innate immune cells and improve the immune system’s ability to fight off viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections.
How do Beta Glucans support my immune system?
There are two components to your immune system – the innate immune response and the acquired immune response, and Beta Glucan works to activate not one but both of these components.
First, Beta Glucan bonds with your macrophages (a type of white blood cell), in order to improve their ability to detect and eliminate foreign bodies. This is your innate immune system at work.
Once your macrophages have identified an intruder – such as a virus or infection – Beta Glucan also improves your acquired immune response by enhancing the body’s ability to communicate information about that intruder and rally defences.
Who should take Beta Glucan supplements?
Everyone can benefit from the immune boosting ability of Beta Glucan, particularly when it is combined with other key immune supporting nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc.
Beta Glucan supplements are a particularly good choice for people with an already weakened immune system. This includes anyone suffering from stress or fatigue, or who has been particularly susceptible to illness or allergies in the past. Likewise, if your immune system has already been weakened by an existing ailment, Beta Glucan may help to improve your body’s ability to stave off further illness.
On top of consuming Beta Glucan, there are a few other things that you can do to improve your immune response. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoid smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, and foods that are high in saturated fats.
Do Beta Glucans offer any other health benefits?
Alongside the ability to help prevent infection and illness, Beta Glucans also help your body to lower cholesterol absorption. According to a 2009 study conducted by the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies, there is a ’cause and effect relationship’ between the consumption of Beta Glucans and the reduction of blood cholesterol concentrations.
Beta Glucan may also be able to assist in preventing or mitigating the effects of a range of other ailments, including Lyme disease, asthma, ear infections, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
When applied to the skin, Beta Glucan has been shown to have cosmetic benefits in preventing aging and wrinkling as well as treating dermatitis, eczema, bed sores, wounds, and burns.
Are there any side effects?
Beta Glucan is a very safe supplement for adults, with little to no side effects when taken orally. As always, you should consult your healthcare practitioner before taking Beta Glucan supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, have an existing medical condition, or are already taking medication.
While it’s true that Beta Glucan is often derived from yeast, it is still perfectly safe for people with existing yeast allergies to consume this supplement. There simply aren’t enough yeast proteins in Beta Glucan to trigger an allergic reaction.
Solgar Beta Glucans Immune Complex combines six key nutrients with a berry blend to provide this comprehensive immune support formula. It is available for secure order from our online shop.
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