(1,3)-(1-6) beta D glucan is a natural supplement that helps boost overall health. The two types of beta D glucans, including (1,3)-(1-6) and (1,3)-(1-4) beta D glucans, differ only based on the length of beta chain attached to D-glucose. Beta glucans a component of the cellular walls of yeasts, fungi, bacteria, algae, oats, barley, and other foods. They’ve been studied for their ability to regulate glucose and insulin levels, boost the immune system and lower the risk of infections.
1. Helps Boost Immunity and Lowers the Risk of Infection
If you easily catch colds, beta glucan could help reduce your risk of infection. Beta glucans are even given intravenously to people after surgeries to help prevent infections . Consuming them orally has been shown to help increase the activity of white blood cells in the intestines of mice. In a study on rats, beta glucans increased immune response and resistance when infectious pathogens were introduced. In another study on mice, all mice treated with beta glucans survived anthrax infection, while half the control animals died. These studies suggest that beta-glucan may improve immune function in humans .
Human studies on beta glucan’s effects on immune function have also been done. One study on 162 healthy individuals found that (1,3) (1,6) beta D glucan taken orally for 16 weeks helped reduce the number of cold infections by 25 percent compared to a placebo .
2. Helps Improve Skin Appearance, Fights Aging and Speeds Wound Healing
Used topically, (1,3) (1,6) beta D glucan can play a role in cosmetic products due to its antioxidant, anti-wrinkle and moisturizing abilities. It’s shown to help reduce damage caused by ultraviolet light and improve wound healing . Beta-glucan works by stimulating increased production of collagen, which is the main structural protein in the skin. This suggests doesn’t just speed up wound healing, but also slows the progression of aging, in which the production of collagen slows .
3. Helps Lower Blood Sugar
Beta-glucan may help prevent and manage diabetes, which is characterized by resistance to insulin–the hormone responsible for transporting glucose from the bloodstream into cells. In several animal studies, beta glucan was shown to lower blood glucose levels in diabetic rats and increase insulin sensitivity . In a human study on patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, beta glucan lowered glucose levels in both groups. The higher the dose of beta-glucan and the longer it was administered, the greater the effects were in improving diabetes .
A research review that looked at studies on beta glucan and diabetes found that beta-glucan can help protect people with diabetes against diabetes complications by improving blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure .
4. Helps Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Beta glucan is shown to help lower LDL cholesterol, which is the type linked to heart disease. It also raises levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the type that binds to LDL cholesterol and carries it out the body . One study found that daily oat consumption was linked to a 7 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol levels due to the beta-glucan content in oats . By improving cholesterol levels, beta glucan lowers your risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”).
5. Helps Treats Hypertension
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a risk factor in diabetes and heart disease. Studies have shown that beta-glucan helps reduce systemic blood pressure in hypertensive, diabetic and obese animals. This suggests it may be effective in helping to treat hypertension and lowering your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease .
6. Provides Antioxidant Support
Beta glucan has been shown to help increase antioxidant activity in animals. In red snapper fed (1,3)-(1-6) beta D glucan, there was increased antioxidant and digestive enzyme activity, as well as increased growth, suggesting the antioxidants in beta-glucan supported overall health . In rats with spinal injuries, beta glucan was shown to have an antioxidant effect when administered after the trauma occurred .
In test tube studies, beta glucan was shown to have antiplatelet activity due to its antioxidant effect. This means it helps prevent abnormal blood clotting, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Beta glucans may also help prevent inflammatory diseases since blood platelets can function as inflammatory cells .
7. May Help Prevent and Fight Cancer
The immune system recognizes cancerous cells and reacts to them by destroying them. However, the immune system may not be strong enough to kill all the cancer cells, allowing cancer to survive and spread . Beta glucan helps the body fight cancer by activating immune cells and proteins that kill cancer cells. Although human trials are lacking, animal studies have demonstrated beta glucan’s ability to stop the spread of cancerous cells. This evidence suggests beta-glucan may be able to play a role in cancer treatment, and at the very least assists in its prevention .
Sources of (1,3)-(1-6) Beta D Glucan
Beta-glucan comes from various edible sources, and side effects of taking it in supplement form are rare. However, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can sometimes occur. Food sources of beta-glucan include oats, barley, whole grains, seaweed, algae and certain mushrooms, including reishi, maitake, and shiitake . You can incorporate more beta glucan in your diet by consuming more of these foods, taking a supplement like barley fiber or reishi mushroom capsules, or by taking beta glucan in supplement form as (1,3)-(1-6) beta D glucan.
(1,3)-(1-6) Beta D Glucan is an immune system activator that helps lower your risk of catching colds and can even help fight off cancer cells. It comes from the cell walls of yeast and bacteria and is found in certain grains and mushrooms. You can take beta glucan to help bolster your immune system and improve other markers of health, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. This powerful supplement provides antioxidant support and has an anti-aging effect on the skin.