USE OF Beta-Glucan

The abilities of macrophages and other cells are not unlimited. If we suffer from an infection several times in a row or from two different infections at the same time, the cells of the immune system get exhausted. Although their renewal in the bone marrow is a continuous process, its rate is unchanging, so if we need more defensive cells at once at the infection site, the bone marrow does not manage to produce them in sufficient quantities and the infection starts winning.

Of course, modern medicine is able to help the immune system - antibiotics are one of the most typical examples. However, everybody knows that no medicines are without side effects and it is therefore advisable to use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, not against every cough or minor pain. But it does not mean that we cannot help our defensive mechanisms otherwise, naturally. And that is where glucan comes to the rescue.

It has been already established that Beta-Glucan products have significant immunopharmacological effects. Glucans increase the organism's resistance to viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic diseases, enhance its defensive abilities against chemical carcinogens, increase the formation of red and white blood cells and extend the survival time in case of lethal radiation doses. Some glucan-based products also reduce the blood cholesterol level significantly, bringing down the risk of atherosclerosis.

While for some properties of glucan we know in detail which mechanism this involves, we are not so sure in case of cholesterol level reduction. Quite possibly, this is to do with the use of glucan as fibre, but the studies conducted so far have rather focused on establishing effects and determining dosage rather than on identifying the mechanism.

Over 50 years of research conducted in many countries have pointed at the significant effects of glucan on the immune system, especially on the first line of defence, macrophages. Glucan works through a bond on specific receptors, located on the surface of these cells, activating them through a system similar to a lock-and-key mechanism. The activated macrophages exhibit a much stronger ability to destroy dangerous microorganisms than before. In addition, glucan also influences the rate of blood formation in the bone marrow, so that its use results not only in more active defensive cells, but also in their greater number.

The words about an exhausted immune system also apply to seniors. It is well-known that the activity of defensive mechanisms declines with age, which causes, among other things, a higher vulnerability of older people to different infections and diseases. And they also need to have the immune system supported.

However, the immune system and its mechanisms are also vulnerable to other stimuli. Great physical exhaustion or mental or physical stress can suppress the activity of defensive functions more than the actual disease.

Preventive use of glucan is advisable particularly in the following cases:

  1. Physical exhaustion
  2. Stress
  3. Overall weakening of the immune system
  4. Older people
  5. Radiation exposure (e.g. mobile phones, PC)
  6. Strengthening organism (athletes)

In addition, glucan is also recommended in the following cases:

  1. Support in case of application of antibiotics
  2. Support of the bone marrow after irradiation or chemotherapy
  3. Enhanced tissue regeneration
  4. Targeted destruction of tumour cells
  5. Reduction of the cholesterol level

The author of the texts is
Prof. Dr. Václav Větvička, Ph.D.
world's leading expert on glucans, Univerzita v Louisville, Kentucky, USA

A book about the mechanism of action and therapeutic use of beta glucanswhich is intended for professionals and for lay readers.

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