Functional mushrooms have a long history of being used for medicinal purposes worldwide.
Many bacteria fungi, including Reishi and Turkey Tail, have many potential health benefits, from supporting immune health to combating cancerous cells.
These functional mushroom benefits come from the many nutrients and bioactive ingredients contained inside them. Of particular note is a polysaccharide called beta-glucan, which is a potent biological response modifier.
Learn how beta glucan supplementation can stimulate the immune system and boost your overall health and why functional mushrooms are the best way to get them.
What Is Beta Glucan?
Beta glucans are a polysaccharide, like cellulose, glucose, and fructose.
The carbohydrate arrangement of a polysaccharide is a long simple sugar molecule chain. This arrangement allows it to support cells or tissues and be used for energy storage.
Beta Glucan Benefits
Beta-D glucan carries many powerful benefits that can help improve your overall health.
They have the potential to help support your immune health so that your body can better combat infections. Beta glucan may also help maintain your gut health.
Plus, they may support the regulation of blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels, easing the strain on a person's heart and liver.
What sets them apart from is their potency and potential as a biological response modifier. They have the potential to:
- Simulates the immune system
- Combat cancerous cells
- Maintain blood sugar levels
- Promotes natural killer cell production
- Regulate cholesterol levels
- Ease inflammation
- Promotes heart health
- reduce the risk of heart disease
- Reduce bad cholesterol
Beta glucan is found in the cell walls of most plants. However, there are very high amount found in medicinal mushrooms.
Improved Gut Health
β glucans may support gut health by:
- Balancing Intestinal health
- Acting as a prebiotic
- Affecting the growth of bacteria species
- Improving macrobiotic health
- Increasing SCFAs to support cholesterol levels and decrease inflammation
If there is an imbalance in your gut's microbiome, it can cause an overgrowth of harmful microbes. This can affect your body's overall health.
With a healthy microbiome, the maturation of immune cells is better supported to fight infections, including respiratory and post-surgical infections. It may also help decrease inflammation in those with irritable bowel disease.
Improved Immune Health
Beta-D glucan's potential to help stimulate and enhance the immune system improves its ability to support the combat of:
- Cell mutations
This may also help stimulate the production of macrophages. The large white blood cells that combat pathogens and foreign cells in your body.
Because β glucans can boost immune health, they can also be used as a complementary treatment for immune related conditions.
Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Regulation
Beta-D glucan is a soluble fiber. It partially dissolves in water to slow the transit of food in the intestine and the digestion of carbohydrates. This helps you feel satisfied for a longer period.
This has the potential to support the metabolic system and may also help maintain blood sugar. The slowed digestion of food help reduced blood sugar absorbion.
Plus, as soluble fiber is indigestible, it must travel through the entire digestive tract. This allows it to attach to the cholesterol found in food and help excrete it from the body.
Foods Rich in Beta Glucans
As humans don't produce beta glucans, it is vital to incorporate them into your diet.
Thankfully, numerous foods contain β glucans:
- Medicinal mushrooms
- Oat bran and barley
- whole grains
- Most cereals
- Seaweed and other ocean plants
Several grams of Beta glucan can be found in many foods, however those found in functional mushrooms tend to have a higher weight and complexity. The molecular difference found in these mushrooms' beta glucans makes them more active and potent.
Functional Mushroom Supplements
When choosing a functional mushroom supplement, it is essential to choose one that comes from a trustworthy producer.
There are many supplements on the market that do not contain much β glucans. Instead, they contain high alpha glucan content from starch or use the mycelium instead of the fruiting body.
Make sure to choose a producer that grows functional mushrooms under good conditions. Growing conditions and the maturity of a mushroom's fruiting body can affect the amount of beta glucan in them.
Figuring Out Which Supplement to Choose
You will also want to research which type of functional mushroom will work best for you.
Beta-D glucan's effect on the immune system will not be the same across mushroom species. While all functional mushrooms tend to have similar benefits, the main effects of their β glucans may change based on its:
- Extraction method
For example, the beta-D glucan in Turkey Tail is beneficial as a complementary cancer treatment. It can also help promote a healthy microbiome and increase SCFAs.
The beta glucan in the Reishi mushroom, on the other hand, may have a higher impact on:
- Regulating weight
- Improving insulin resistance
- Easing inflammation
- Supporting REM sleep
The Best Source of Beta Glucan Today
Beta glucan has the potential to support your immune health, gut microbiome, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and much more.
Functional mushrooms are the best source, but it's essential to buy them from a reliable, trustworthy source.
Annanda Chaga has provided quality functional mushroom supplements for ten years. All products are harvested and/or grown under ideal conditions and are certified organic by Ecocert Canada and USDA Organic.
Check out our Reishi and Turkey Tail teas and extracts today for a naturally rich source of beta glucans.