β-Glucan is a component found in many mushrooms. It has effects such as strengthening the immune system and suppressing cholesterol levels, and is still being researched as an ingredient with many possibilities.
What is β (beta) glucan?
β-Glucan is a type of polysaccharide [*1] that is abundantly contained in mushrooms and yeast , and is a member of dietary fiber . Since its discovery, β-glucan’s effects have been gradually clarified. β-Glucan is a component present in the cell walls [*2] of mushrooms, yeast, and other organisms.
β-glucan β-glucan was discovered from baker’s yeast in the 1940s. Later, in the 1960s, Dr. Nicholas Dirge extracted it from the cell wall of baker’s yeast and named it “β-1.3D glucan.”
Currently, β-glucans from shiitake and Yamashita mushrooms are being put to practical use as anticancer agents.
β-glucan β-glucan has a structure in which a number of glucose (glucose) are linked together. The name β-glucan derives from the fact that this bond is a β-bond. Glucans are broadly divided into α-glucans, such as starch, in which glucose is α-linked, and β-glucans, depending on their structural differences. Glucan also includes glycogen and dextrin.
●Function of β-Glucan
β-Glucan is said to have the effect of enhancing the immune system.
Furthermore, β-glucan is attracting attention for its anti-cancer effect. β-Glucan is abundantly contained in mushrooms, and β-D-glucan, which is abundantly contained in mushrooms belonging to the family Porphyrinaceae, Remembrances, and Agaricus, is said to work to suppress cancer cells. I’m here.
Ganoderma lucidum, a member of the Agaricaceae family, and agaricus, a member of the Agaricaceae family, have long been used as herbal medicines in anticipation of their health benefits, and in recent years have often been used as raw materials for supplements.
●Points to consume
β-glucan β-glucan is abundant in mushrooms such as shiitake and maitake, yeast such as baker’s yeast, oats and barley. Beta-glucan can be ingested from these foods, and can also be easily supplemented with supplements.
The best time to take β-glucan is on an empty stomach. Since β-glucan acts on the immune cells on the inner wall of the intestine, it is said to be suitable for fasting when the intestine is almost empty.
Excessive intake of β-glucan does not pose a serious health hazard because β-glucan is a component similar to that of foodstuffs.
Types of mushrooms and β-glucan
It is said that there are more than 10,000 types of mushrooms in the world, and about 2,000 types in Japan. Among them, Agarics, one of the high-class mushrooms, has long been popular as a medicinal mushroom rich in β-glucan. Agarics contains not only β-glucan, but also nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and other active ingredients. Ganoderma lucidum, which is used as an herbal medicine in traditional Chinese medicine, also contains β-glucan. Among them, the extremely rare Reishi mushroom “Kazuno Reishi”, which is grown under severe conditions and has a branched shape, contains more healthy ingredients such as β-glucan than Reishi mushroom, and is used to prevent lifestyle-related diseases. Improvements are expected.
Effects of β (beta) glucan
β-glucan enhances immunity and enhances resistance to viruses and bacteria. In the human body, β-glucan activates the functions of macrophages, which are responsible for immune function, Natura’s blood cells, T cells and B cells of white blood cells, and promotes the production of interferon, a substance related to immunity. This medicine enhances immunity by activating factors related to immunity. If your immune system is low, you will not be able to fight off viruses that come in from outside your body, causing colds, flu, and lifestyle-related diseases, prolonging your illness.
In this way, β-glucan works on the immune system, so it is expected that the intake of β-glucan will also prevent colds and prevent and improve allergic symptoms.
β-Glucan is expected to have an anti-cancer effect by increasing immunity. Although the specific mechanism of cancer development has not yet been elucidated, it is believed to be caused by the sudden transformation of cells into cancer [*3] due to factors such as smoking and diet.
β-Glucan activates immune cells such as natural killer cells and macrophages that attack cancer cells, and is known to have a tumor-suppressing effect. β-Glucan attacks cancer indirectly by enhancing its own immune response, unlike general anticancer drugs.
● Cholesterol – lowering effect
β-glucan is a type of insoluble dietary fiber that lowers blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble dietary fiber is said to be effective in relieving constipation as it absorbs water, traps excess substances, and is discharged from the body. Soluble fiber is sticky and digests slowly, preventing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.
In addition, since β-glucan reaches the intestine without being digested, it has the function of adsorbing cholesterol and excreting it out of the body. As a result, it helps reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
When blood cholesterol levels rise, bumps form in the blood vessels, blocking them and slowing blood flow. As a result, it leads to arteriosclerosis. Too much cholesterol can also lead to stroke and high blood pressure.
To keep cholesterol levels normal, it is important to reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase good (HDL) cholesterol. Elevated bad (LDL) cholesterol is partly due to excessive consumption of foods high in animal fats, such as meat and butter. It is important to eat low-fat foods and high-fiber vegetables to keep cholesterol from rising.
●Efficacy to regulate the intestinal environment
β-glucan, a type of dietary fiber, eliminates unnecessary substances in the body such as foreign substances present in the intestine, and has the function of regulating the intestinal environment. It can be expected to be effective in preventing and improving constipation.