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Mushroom Beta Glucan: A Powerful Natural Source for Optimal Health
Dec 15, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Mushroom Beta Glucan: A Powerful Natural Source for Optimal Health

  • by Sony Sherpa
  • |
  • 6 min read

Mushrooms are everywhere, from hearty breakfast favorites to decadent dinner fare. They are even popping up on skin and hair care products. Not only are these mushrooms a culinary and cosmetic wonder, but functional fungi also have a place in holistic health. They have been around for thousands of years, helping treat various diseases like infections and cancer.

The various nutrients and bioactive components in mushrooms give them these valuable properties. The mushroom beta glucan polysaccharide, a solid biological response modulator, deserves special attention.

There is no denying that this potent polysaccharide is supported by growing scientific research and evidence. In reality, the usage of beta glucan is supported by more than 80 good clinical investigations. According to several researchers(1), the question is not whether these chemicals will be used in medications but rather when.

So, what are the mushroom extract beta glucan benefits that make them much sought after?

Beta glucans can effectively stimulate the host's immune response to fight against bacterial, fungal, viral, fungal, or parasitic illnesses. In addition, they have proven anti-diabetic, anticancer, and anti-hypercholesterolemic effects in multiple research trials and can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Below we will uncover more about the polysaccharide, including beta glucan mushrooms benefits. Let’s begin by understanding what beta glucan is.

What Is Beta Glucan In Mushrooms?

What Is Beta Glucan In Mushrooms?

The glucose molecules that are beta-linked together to produce the common fungal polysaccharide are referred to as beta glucan. These polysaccharides are found in barley, oats, yeast, bacteria, and algae, in addition to the cell walls of medicinal mushrooms like Turkey Tail, Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake.

The structure of beta glucans derived from the various sources varies. For instance, the types and complexity of side chain branching and the length of the beta glucans' core chains vary. A beta glucan function or mode of action is thought to be influenced by these structural variations, and it has been hypothesized(2) that more complex structures have more potent anticancer and immunomodulatory effects.

Functional mushrooms can significantly promote everyday health and wellness because humans cannot produce beta glucans. The medicinal mushrooms containing biologically active beta glucans are:

  • Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum (contains GI-1 beta glucan)
  • Maitake or Grifola frondosa (contains  maitake D-fraction and Grifolan)
  • Turkey tail or Trametes versicolor (has Polysaccharopeptide PSP and Polysaccharide Krestin PSK(3)).
  • Lion’s mane or Hericium erinaceus.

Beta Glucan Mushroom Benefits

Beta glucan has many potent advantages that can enhance your general health.

They may aid in boosting your immune system so that your body is better able to fight off illnesses. They might also support the preservation of intestinal health.

Additionally, they might assist in controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reducing the burden on the heart and liver. The potency and capacity to modify biological responses distinguish the effects of beta glucan from other compounds.

Mushroom beta glucan benefits include:

  • Fight against malignant cells.
  • Immune system stimulation.
  • Encourages the development of natural killer cells.
  • Maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Decrease harmful cholesterol.
  • Maintains heart health and lowers the risk of heart disease.

So Why Look For Beta Glucan Content In Mushrooms?

So Why Look For Beta Glucan Content In Mushrooms?

Supplements and products made from mushrooms also include fillers called alpha-glucans. These include compounds like pullulan, glycogen, starch, and dextran.

It's unnatural to have high alpha-glucan concentrations in mushroom products, as beta glucans are the main polysaccharides.

Research(4) has shown that many functional mushroom products on the market today have low beta glucan concentrations while having high alpha-glucan concentrations. This results from the market's high prevalence of mycelium grown on grain (MOG) goods. The mycelium of the fungus is grown on a substrate of sterilized grains, typically brown rice. The issue with this technique is that much leftover grain (starch) remains in the finished product and isn't filtered out in the process.

Look for products that state the number of beta glucans in detail. Ensure that the polysaccharides content is no more than 5% higher than the beta glucans if your product includes both.

FAQs

What Do Beta Glucans Do For The Body?

Beta glucans trigger several immunological changes in the body, including activation of immune cells, antibodies, interferon production, tumor spread inhibition, and inflammation reduction. Additionally, these polysaccharides promote healthy gut bacteria, moisturize and firm the skin, reduce cholesterol levels, and help maintain healthy body weight.

Which Mushroom Has Highest In Beta Glucan?

The highest beta gluten content is found in the wild mushroom Tricholoma portentosum. Several edible medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Maitake, and Turkey tail also contain beta glucans in quantities beneficial for health.

Can Beta Glucan Cause Inflammation?

No, instead, beta glucan is known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Several scientific studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of the polysaccharide on inflammatory bowel disease.

Final Thoughts

Although studies on the mushroom beta glucan health benefits are still in their early stages, it is clear that their capacity to support immune health, heart health, and gut health is sufficient to make them a wise addition to your diet.

Mushrooms like Reishi, Turkey tail, Lion’s mane, and Maitake are rich in beta glucans. Taking mushroom supplements is a simple way to add beta glucans from functional mushrooms to your diet without necessarily having to cook.

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References

  1. Beta Glucan: Supplement or Drug? From Laboratory to Clinical Trials, (1)https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/7/1251 
  2. The effects of β-glucan on human immune and cancer cells, (2)https://jhoonline.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-8722-2-25 
  3. Chapter 27 - Polysaccaride Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharopeptide PSP, (3)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123850959000270
  4. Measurement of β-Glucan in Mushrooms and Mycelial Products, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26957216/
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