Beta Glucan Immunotherapy

Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2013 Jun;13(5):699-708.

The effects of β-glucans on cancer metastasis.

Abstract

Beta-glucans (β-glucans), naturally occurring polysaccharides, are present as constituents of the cell wall of cereal grains, mushrooms, algae, or microbes including bacteria, fungi, and yeast. Since Pillemer et al. first prepared and investigated zymosan in the 1940s and others followed with the investigation of β-glucans in the 1960s and 1970s, researchers have well established the significant role of β-glucans on the immune system relative to cancer treatment, infection immunity, and restoration of damaged bone marrow. However, information on their biological role in anti-metastatic activity remains limited. As an immunomodulating agent, β-glucan acts through the activation of innate immune cells such as macrophages, dendritic cells, granulocytes, and natural killer cells. This activation triggers the responses of adaptive immune cells such as CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells and B cells, resulting in the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis. Reports have shown that β-glucans exert multiple effects on cancer cells and cancer prevention. However the mechanisms of their actions appear complex due to differences in source, chemical structure, insufficiently defined preparation, and molecular weight, hence the inconsistent and often contradictory results obtained. This review is focused on the potential of β-glucans as anti-metastatic agents and the known mechanisms underlying their biological effects.

PMID:
23140352

 

Beta glucan is a type of soluble fiber made up of polysaccharides, or combined sugars. It is not naturally found in the body. You can, however, get it through dietary supplements. There are also a number of foods high in beta glucan including:

Beta glucan and cancer

The body’s immune system protects it from infections, diseases, and other illnesses. The presence of bacteria, fungi, and viruses triggers an immune response in the body.

When you have cancer, the immune system recognizes abnormal cells and reacts to kill them off. However, if the cancer is aggressive, the immune response may not be strong enough to destroy all of the cancer cells.

Cancer affects the blood cells that fight off infections, weakening the immune system. Doctors may recommend biologic response modifiers (BRMs). A BRM is a form of immunotherapy that boosts the immune system and triggers a defense response. Beta glucans are one type of BRM.

Beta glucans can help to slow cancer growth, and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. Beta glucan therapy is still being researched as a treatment for cancer.

Benefits of beta glucan

Though research is ongoing, BRMs are substances that enhance immune responses. Beta glucan helps to boost weakened immune systems from:

Beta glucans may also be able to help treat cancer. Serious infections and diseases like cancer can over-activate your immune system and affect how the body defends itself. Beta glucans help to activate immune cells and trigger a defense response.

In cases of cancer, this triggered response helps the body create a coordinated attack on cancer cells. It also helps slow the growth of cancer cells.

Beta glucans have also been linked to:

See Also

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Side effects of beta glucans

Beta glucans can be taken orally or as an injection. Doctors recommend taking beta glucan as a supplement since there are little to no side effects. The few common side effects include:

If your doctor needs to inject beta glucans directly into your bloodstream, you may experience other adverse side effects including:

Outlook

Researchers are still investigating beta glucan as a treatment for cancer. While there are some success stories from immunotherapy, it is still important to pursue traditional treatment options.

If you decide to proceed with beta glucan treatment, be mindful of potential dangers and side effects. If you begin to experience any adverse reactions from beta glucans, visit a doctor immediately.

Article resources

 

 

 

Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2013 Jun;13(5):699-708.

The effects of β-glucans on cancer metastasis.

Abstract

Beta-glucans (β-glucans), naturally occurring polysaccharides, are present as constituents of the cell wall of cereal grains, mushrooms, algae, or microbes including bacteria, fungi, and yeast. Since Pillemer et al. first prepared and investigated zymosan in the 1940s and others followed with the investigation of β-glucans in the 1960s and 1970s, researchers have well established the significant role of β-glucans on the immune system relative to cancer treatment, infection immunity, and restoration of damaged bone marrow. However, information on their biological role in anti-metastatic activity remains limited. As an immunomodulating agent, β-glucan acts through the activation of innate immune cells such as macrophages, dendritic cells, granulocytes, and natural killer cells. This activation triggers the responses of adaptive immune cells such as CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells and B cells, resulting in the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis. Reports have shown that β-glucans exert multiple effects on cancer cells and cancer prevention. However the mechanisms of their actions appear complex due to differences in source, chemical structure, insufficiently defined preparation, and molecular weight, hence the inconsistent and often contradictory results obtained. This review is focused on the potential of β-glucans as anti-metastatic agents and the known mechanisms underlying their biological effects.

PMID:
23140352

Beta Glucan and the Immune System:

Beta glucan is a powerful immune stimulating compound found in several mushrooms, yeasts and other foods.  Beta glucan is a polysaccharide that is made up of multiple sugar molecules linked together.  The major beta glucan molecule is called 1,3-D glucan.

Polysaccharides are a diverse class of macromolecules that have a high capacity for carrying biological information due to their large structural variability. Polysaccharides interconnect at various points and form a wide range of branched structures.  The position and length of the branching gives them specific labels such as the Beta 1,3D glucan.

Beta glucans are known by scientists as “biological response modifiers” that bind to the surface of innate immune cells which allows the cells to have better coordination in their attack.  This reduces the tendancy towards auto-immune reactions and hyperinflamatory activity when the body is under attack.

Beta Glucan and Cancer:

Even a healthy immune system can get easily overwhelmed with fast growing cancer cells.  Beta glucan acts to bind to the surface of the antibodies, macrophages and NK cells in order to activate them and coordinate their attack.  This provides a significantly stronger and more efficient immune response.

Beta glucan also helps the anti-body antigen response by priming the immune cells to recognize complement –antibody complexes in order to kill the tumor cells.  The cooperation of antibodies with beta glucan is more potent than radiation or chemotherapy.  This also acts without the delirious side-effects that these traditional treatments have.

This compound activates certain immune cells such as key T-cells, macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells and the cytokines interleukin (IL) 1 and 2.  Studies have shown that it inhibits the growth of cancer and strengthens the immune response to microbial invaders. (1)

NK cells are a critical player in keeping tumor growth under control as that is there primary life focus.  These cells are designed to search the body, target and eliminate cancerous growths all day long.

Beta Glucan and Immune Stem Cells:

Beta glucan also helps stimulate the production of immune stem cells within the bone marrow.  This leads to the release of new immunocytes into the bloodstream and various lymphoid organs.

This increases the immune surveillance against potential invaders and improves the attack against cancer cells.  This is even more important when the individual is also receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation.  These conventional therapies lower circulating immune complexes and decrease immunocyte numbers making the body more susceptible to infection.

Beta glucan also stimulates various cells in the body to release anti-cancerous molecules throughout the body.  These include tumor necrosis factor, interleukins 1 & 6, hydrogen peroxide and gamma interferon which are all proven effective in the fight against cancer and invading microorganisms. (2)

Beta Glucan Helps Fight Infection:

Beta glucans have been studied for their ability to mitigate cancer cell growth and reduce the symptoms of the common cold.  In one report by the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism they studied firefighters and tracked their cold/flu symptoms.   Firefighters have very physically and emotionally stressful positions that demand a lot out of them.

The results of the study showed that those who took beta glucan instead of the placebo had a 23% reduction in upper respiratory tract infections. (3) “These results are consistent with previous clinical research involving marathoners, individuals with high stress lifestyles and the general population,” wrote Brent C. Rudy, the director of the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism.

Beta Glucan Beats Traditional Therapies:

Beta glucans ability to stimulate immunoactive molecules and improve the immune-modulation within the body is quite remarkable.   Priming and coordinating the immune system is one of the most important factors in preventing infection and the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.

There are over a thousand published scientific studies describing the various biological effects of beta glucan.(4)  The cancerostatic and immunostimulating properties that beta glucan brings to the table make it one of the safest and most potent substances available.  It is very low-cost compared to various medical interventions and much safer which make it an attractive addition to a natural cancer prevention or cancer healing program.

How Are Beta Glucans Harvested?

Beta glucans are naturally occurring polysaccharide molecules that are extracted from the cell walls of yeast.  Insoluble (1,3/1,6) B-glucans are found in brewers yeast or saccharomyces boulardii and medicinal mushrooms such as maitake, reishi and agaricus blazei murrill mushrooms.  Oats and barley contain soluble (1,3/1,4) B-glucans in their undigestable soluble fiber.  This fiber has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Research has demonstrated that insoluble (1,3/1,6) B glucans have greater biological activity and immune modulating effects than the soluble form.(5)  Many individuals will benefit from consuming these through fermented foods and medicinal mushrooms.

It is also recommended to supplement with this insoluble B glucan in order to enhance your immune system function.  The specific supplemental versions of beta glucans are isolates that have removed all the potentially harmful proteins for those who are sensitive or allergic to yeast.

The Best Beta Glucan Supplement:

Not all glucans are created equal, not all sources are equal. Glucans widely differ in physiochemical and biological properties. Some glucans have no biological activity at all. This is why it is so important you know which one is the best.

After reviewing the literature, I have found that Transfer Point’s active ingredient, Glucan 300, is the most effective dietary supplement for a healthy immune system on the market.

Every single batch of TP ingredients is tested twice: when it’s first made, and then again when it is ready to be encapsulated or mixed in a formula. This ensures that the ingredient has not degraded, and that it has retained complete purity and full potency.

All the assays are conducted by independent 3rd parties. Few other supplement manufacturers can say the same. n fact, many supplement manufacturers don’t even bother to test regularly. Some of them use certificates of authenticity that are years old, which means the current lot has not been tested.

Transfer Point has every single lot receive its own certificate of analysis and they put that information right on the bottle.  I value the extra energy they put forth into guaranteeing there product is pure and effective and I know I can trust it to get my clients the results they need!

I recommend 500mg daily for good immune support, 1000 mg for high level immune support and 1000 mg – 2x daily for advanced disease cases.  Always take Beta Glucan away from food to maximize absorption.  I typically recommend 30 mins – 1 hour before a meal.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Akramiene D, Kondrotas A, Didziapetriene J, Kevelaitis E. Effects of beta-glucans on the immune system. Medicina (Kaunas). 2007;43(8):597-606. PMID: 17895634

2. Beta13DGlucan – Beta Glucan in the Fight Against Cancer Link Here

3. Talbott SM, Talbott JA. Baker’s yeast beta-glucan supplement reduces upper respiratory symptoms and improves mood state in stressed women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012 Aug;31(4):295-300. PMID: 23378458

4. Beta Glucan Research – Condition, Function and Disease Indexed References Link Here

5. LeBlanc BW et al. The effect of PGG-beta-glucan on neutrophil chemotaxis in vivo. J Leukoc Biol. 2006 Apr;79(4):667-75. Epub 2006 Jan 13.

6. Harger-Domitrovich et al. Effects of an Immunomodulating Supplement on Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms in Wildland Firefighters. Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism, University of Montana, Missoula MT. Presented American College of Sports Medicine, 2008.

 

 

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