A certain type of beta-glucan may benefit your innate immune system, which includes natural killer (NK) cells, neutrophils, and macrophages. Beta-glucans are naturally occurring long-chain carbohydrates known as polysaccharides, found in fungi, yeast, and seaweed.
Research suggests that beta-glucans may be useful for stimulating the immune system and keeping cancer and infectious diseases at bay.
Beta-glucans protect against cancer and infectious diseases
Researchers conducted a key study on mice, which found that those injected with beta-glucan were not affected by a dangerous bacterial infection, while animals that didn’t receive beta-glucan died. Beta-glucan has no antibacterial properties. Therefore, the scientists hypothesized that it works by strengthening the body’s immune system.
The lead investigator, Dr. Rolf Seljelid, professor emeritus at the University of Tromsø in Norway, suspected that beta-glucans may also have a role in treating cancer. His research produced promising results. When mice with cancerous tumors received beta-glucan intravenously, their tumors disappeared.
Beta-glucans have been used in Japan as a treatment for cancer since 1980. An article in Medicina in 2007 reported that beta-glucans can prevent oncogenesis, which is the process by which healthy cells become cancer cells.
Members Only Content
To continue reading please subscribe to WellnessPlus by Dr. Jess MD
Be your own best doctor with our comprehensive suite of online health coaching tools.