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How to choose the right Beta-glucans?

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From the dawn of humanity, people have always aspired to be healthy. Amidst pandemic conditions and modern stressful life, the importance of immunity has been recognized in maintaining good health and well-being.  

One of the ingredients that are synonymous with immune health are Beta-glucans.
Over the past few decades, thousands of published scientific papers support this fact.
Beta glucans can be used in food and dietary supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, powders or even gummies.  

There is a wide variety of beta-glucans available as active ingredients on the global market, and it can be difficult for manufacturers to choose the right one – let’s review the different types that are available on the market.

What are Beta-glucans?

β-glucans are glucose polysaccharides naturally produced in cerealsbacteria, yeast, fungi, and microalgae,  such as Euglena gracilis (E. gracilis). 

Beta-glucans cannot be digested or absorbed by our digestive system, since humans do not have the enzymes to break them down. They, therefore, reach the gut, where some of them act as dietary fibers and others as biologically active substances on the cells of the immune system. 

The immune system has evolved to recognize β-glucans as they are found on the cell surface of disease-causing fungi β-glucans, are specifically recognized by cellular receptors, thereby activating immune cells.

Each source of b-glucans differs in primary structure, molecular weight, solubility, degree of branching, linkages type, health benefits and diverse biological effects, such as hypocholesterolemia and immunomodulatory activities [1-6]. 

 

The differences between various Beta-Glucans sources

beta glucan source

Cereal Source

Beta glucans derived from cereal grains are composed of unbranched linear chains with beta 1-3 and beta 1-4 bonds. They are effective dietary fibers but are not recognized as immunomodulators.
They were found to be useful in managing cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health.

Fungi and Yeast Source

Yeast and fungi beta glucans consist of beta-1,3-glucan chains with branches attached to it by beta-1,6-glycosidic bonds. The difference between the yeast and fungi β-glucans structure is in the length of the branches, which is long in the yeast and short in fungi.
Both sources are known for their immunomodulating properties.
In fungi and yeast, beta-glucans are bound to the cell structure and in order to obtain the beta-glucans from these sources, it has to be extracted by means of a complex process of breaking the cell wall, dissolving the beta-glucans and then extracting it via complex chromatographic techniques, resulting with an extraction that contains solvents and various additives.

Microalgae Source

The microalgae Euglena gracilis produces linear beta 1,3-glucans called Paramylon.
Paramylon is also known for its immuno-modulatory functions.

E. gracilis is easily digested and it contains a high content of beta-glucans, complete proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals, free of solvents and additives.
beta glucan source

Why is Euglena gracilis a high source of Beta glucans?

Euglena gracilis is a single-cell microalga, living in most freshwater habitats. As opposed to yeast, fungi and cereals, Euglena cells lack a cell wall, making the process of beta-glucans absorption much easier, simpler and safer (no solvents or additives required), with a higher yield of β-glucans.
Euglena use paramylon as a principal energy-storage compound, comparable to starch or oils/fats in other algae. E.gracilis can accumulate a large amount of paramylon, deposited as membrane-bound granules in the cytoplasm, within the cell. In addition, E.gracilis synthesizes protein containing essential amino acids, pro-vitamins and lipids as well [7-8].  

 

BioGlena™ – Solabia-Algatech Nutrition’s high Source of the Beta-glucan

BioGlena™   is the next generation source of beta-glucan, 100% natural and completely unprocessed not containing any solvents or additives and it is suitable and safe for the whole family for daily use. 

BioGlena™  is 100% natural whole Euglena gracilis algae ,produced using proprietary fermentation technology that ensures a high beta-glucan content (>55%), in addition to complete protein essential vitamins and minerals.

Importantly, BioGlena™ has been recognized by the FDA as a G.R.A.S. (Generally Recognized As Safe) substance.

 

References:

  1. Wang, Q., Sheng, X., Shi, A., Hu, H., Yang, Y., Liu, L., Fei, L., & Liu, H. (2017). β-Glucans: Relationships between modification, conformation and functional activities. Molecules, 22(2), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22020257 
  2. Chan, G. C. F., Chan, W. K., & Sze, D. M. Y. (2009): The effects of β-glucan on human immune and cancer cells. J Hematol Oncol. 2009; 2: 25.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2704234/
  3. Du, B., Meenu, M., Liu, H., & Xu, B. (2019). A concise review on the molecular structure and function relationship of β-glucan. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(16). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20164032 
  4. Novak, M., & Vetvicka, V. (2008). β-glucans, history, and the present: Immunomodulatory aspects and mechanisms of action. Journal of Immunotoxicology, 5(1), 47–57. https://doi.org/10.1080/15476910802019045 
  5. Sima P., Vannucci L., Vetvicka V. (2018): β-glucans and cholesterol (Review).
    International Journal of Moleculae Medicine, Volume 41 Issue 4, 1799-1808
    https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/ijmm.2018.3411 
  6. Vetvicka, V., Vannucci, L., Sima, P., & Richter, J. (2019). Beta glucan: Supplement or drug? From laboratory to clinical trials. Molecules, 24(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071251  
  7. Monfils, A. K., Triemer, R. E., & Bellairs, E. F. (2011). Characterization of paramylon morphological diversity in photosynthetic euglenoids (Euglenales, Euglenophyta). Phycologia, 50(2), 156–169. https://doi.org/10.2216/09-112.1
  8. Gissibl, A., Sun, A., Care, A., Nevalainen, H., & Sunna, A. (2019). Bioproducts From Euglena gracilis: Synthesis and Applications. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 7(May), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2019.00108