Yeast Derived Beta Glucan
Beta glucan describes a cluster of molecules referred to as (1,3), (1,4) and (1,6) glucose linkages. These are short to medium-chain polysaccharides that can be derived from Baker's yeast, mushrooms, oats and barley.
No one knows for sure what the absolute differences between the various derivations of Beta glucan; however, the research on each source type is available. Depending on what it is derived from determines what it is effective at. For example, oat and barley Beta glucan appear to act within the colon and intestinal tract and can claim to reduce cholesterol when taken internally.
Mushroom derived, on the other hand, appears to immune system benefits but no others.
However, a great deal of detailed research has been done on bakers-yeast derived showing it to have considerable effect on the immune system, on radiation injuries, tumors and has also been shown cholesterol lowering properties. The research is so precise that specific receptor sites on the immune cells have been recognized, which give the compound its immune supporting and other fighting effects. This is what is called the "mechanism of action."
For example, it was found that yeast-derived (1,3) glucose linkage binds to the Dectin-1 receptor on macrophages, our first line of defense against bad bacteria and other challenges. Dectin-1 is believed to be how it is taken up into the body and how it activates the macrophage to do its job as a scavenger molecule. This would make yeast-derived effective in helping the body fight off infection or clear out abscesses or dead cells.
The CR3 receptor on leukocytes helps fight infections and tumors by binding to antibodies and Beta glucan in such a way that both must be bound for an effect to take place. When Beta glucan and the antibody attach to the CR3 receptor on leukocytes, the result is a chain reaction that destroys the pathogen or tumor cell. This has serious implications in using yeast-derived material along with the monoclonal antibody against a tumor cell. The regression of the tumor would be markedly improved.
Beta glucan also binds to a receptor on human monocytes, activating them as part of the immune system. Cells such as neutrophils release leukotrienes which are active in the infection-fighting process. Beta glucan is known to be a part of this activation.
Yeast-derived Beta glucan has its place in the prevention of sepsis following surgery, radiation injury and in the prevention of pathogenic infections. The data is very strong and has been determined down to the biochemical level-a rarity in alternative medicine research.
It appears that Beta glucan derived from oats and barley has none of the same effects of yeast-derived Beta glucan. While mushroom-derived has similar effects when compared to bakers-yeast-derived, the research as to the biochemical action of mushroom-derived is not as advanced as it is with yeast-derived and the yeast derived glucan has also proven to be the most effective immune support material.
It's important to remember that these studies were all done on high grade, very pure Beta glucan extracted from yeast. When you choose the Beta glucan that's right for you, be sure to ask about purity levels and buy only that product which is, at a minimum, 80 percent purity level.
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