Immunity, autoimmune reactions

Is it possible to give a specific percentage corresponding to the increase of activity of the immune system in case of use of beta-glucan?

It is almost impossible. We know this for individual defensive reactions we measured, but we have to realize that the immune system comprises an incredibly complex network of reactions, bio-active molecules and miscellaneous cell types. And they do not work in isolation; to the contrary, they are interconnected, so the inhibition or stimulation of one reaction gradually reflects in dozens other immune reactions, no matter if this concerns destruction of microorganisms or production of certain cytokines.

Most tests agree that after a regular use of preventive doses of beta-glucan, the activity of the immune system increases by 10 to 15 percent. Someone may consider it too little, but in fact ten percent is a very essential value because under normal circumstances, the immune system is very robust and we do not want to strain it up to its maximum. An excessive activity of the immune system, especially as regard long-term processes, may result in autoimmune diseases, where the immune system actually starts destroying the body. On the other hand, in case of a very weak immunity we can deploy a higher glucan dose that guarantees a higher activity of defensive mechanisms.

What about the use of glucan in case of autoimmune diseases or reactions of the organism?

In this respect, our knowledge of glucan fails us because glucan has not been tested in case of autoimmune diseases. The main reason is that the general principle of action of glucan is focused on the stimulation of defensive mechanisms, i.e. the immune system. And autoimmune diseases are a group of diseases featuring the presence of pathologically immune mechanisms, resulting in the damage of the organism's own tissues, usually because part of the immune system becomes hyperactive. And in that case we certainly do not need further stimulation. That is why I would not recommend the use of glucan in similar cases, even in the absence of any supporting research.

Is it possible to use beta-glucan regularly (I've used it once a day for about 2 years) and at the same time undergo vaccination against tetanus, jaundice, tick-borne encephalitis etc. ? Is it possible, or are there any cases known from practice when after vaccination and with an ongoing use of beta-glucan, the organism's immune reaction could decrease or no immunity would not be created at all after vaccination due to beta-glucan?

In such cases you can be absolutely at peace, glucan cooperates very efficiently with antibodies (and each vaccination is nothing but stimulation of the formation of specific antibodies). This applies to the function of enhancement of the antibody response as well as to the direct increase of effects of the antibodies. Glucans are in some cases used as part of experimental vaccines because many scientific studies have demonstrated an increased production of antibodies with the simultaneous use of glucan and an antigen stimulating antibody response. At the same time, there are experimental studies that point at mechanisms of cooperation between glucan and antibodies. The same effects are also part of many clinical trials that are currently underway.

My sister probably suffers from the autoimmune disease LUPUS (it hasn't been safely diagnosed yet but the decision is near). She's had fever since November 2009. Could beta-glucan help?

Systemic lupus erythematodes is a very serious disease, consisting in a very complex imbalance of the immune system. While some components are little active or almost non-existent, other are hyperactive, which results in attacks against the body's own tissues. Beta-glucan is not therefore too likely to help.