Which Beta Glucan is Best?
Personally, I wonder how two or three different companies, each selling a product that claims to do the same thing, can all be “The Best.”
After working for Better Way Health for almost four years, I have found that our world of beta glucan is not exempt from marketing gimmicks and misleading tricks.
Every manufacturer claims that their supplement is the best value, the purest, and the most effective. Many even use fictitious terminology, like “Micronized,” to market inferior products to the deceived public.
For those who want to slice through clever jargon and uncover the truth, there are a plethora of peer-reviewed studies available to the public. On any given day, dozens of Universities and Hospitals are specifically studying beta glucan as an immunomodulator; in fact, glucans are actually the most studied natural immunomodulator on Earth.
Scientists, PhDs, and MDs facilitate these tests with no bias toward specific brands, variations, or the companies involved. Their sole purpose is to analyze the material to discover what these products can really do, rather than what they claim they can do.
Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka’s Findings in 2014
This “false-claims” epidemic is the underlying issue behind a 2014 beta glucan comparative published by the Department of Pathology from the University of Louisville: “Comparison of Immunological Effects of Commercially Available β-glucans.” This study succeeds the 2010 work, “β1,3-Glucan: Silver Bullet or Hot Air?“
With brands like Cheerios® jumping on the bandwagon, Beta Glucan is quickly becoming a household name. Although many people in the natural health realm are now beginning to associate beta glucan with immune support, there is still confusion around which variety is the most effective.
The author of this study, Dr. Vetvicka, tells us that direct comparisons on individual glucans are rare. There are over 7,000 publications on the immunological effects of glucan, yet they only focus on biological activity and chemical properties. Only a scarce amount of these works answer our imminent question, “Which Beta Glucan is the Best?”
Spoiler Alert: this 2014 study shows one specific type of Beta Glucan that scored considerably higher than the others on every test administered.
In this examination, there were fifteen varieties of glucan differing in source (yeast, mushroom, oat, and barley), solubility (both soluble and insoluble), and origin (United States, Germany, Denmark, South Korea, and the Czech Republic).
While the results entrenched on previous research showing some of these products can have an effect on innate immunity, there are still several that yield “little or no immunological activity” (example, p5). In other words, some commercially available glucans are a waste of money, while others are worth their weight in gold.
The 6 Immune System Tests
The effectiveness of Beta Glucan on your immune system is backed by indisputable research boasting numerous benefits that include but are not limited to; anti-infectious immunity, the potentiation of cancer defense, stress reduction, and even cholesterol regulation.
Test 1: The primary way to see how well a particular immune system product works is to examine its effect on phagocytosis: the ability of your immune cells to “gobble up” foreign invaders.
If a product does not stimulate phagocytosis, it will have little-to-no effect on the body’s defense system.
Notably, 50% of the products tested by Vaclav had no “stimulative” activity, even at the highest dose.
Test 2: The second test administered was the “IL2,” or Interleukin 2, which is a type of cytokine-signaling molecule in the immune system. IL2 is the protein regulator for the activities of the white blood cells responsible for “immunity.” It is part of the body’s natural response to microbial infection and it discriminates between foreign (“non-self”) and “self”; i.e., immunomodulation. If the product does not help to “pour” more white blood cells into your body, then it is not going to be effective on overall immune response.
Test 3: This third trial concerns antibody formation. Antibodies are specialized immune-proteins; the production of antibodies by immunocytes is a major function of the immune system. These antibodies are critical, as they help recognize and bind to foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. Once bound by antibodies, specific immune cells are deployed to rid your body of these foreign invaders. Without proper antibody formation, it is undeniably harder to oppose external threats.
Test 4: Superoxide Production, which plays one of the most important roles in your immune system, is one of the most powerful compounds of immune support. This element is essential for the destruction of bacteria. Dr. Vaclav’s results showed only mushroom and yeast derivatives capable of stimulating the production of the superoxide anion, whereas, oat-derived glucans could not. For maximum immune support, choose a supplement that increases Superoxide production.
Test 5: The fifth test conducted presents the ability to spark IFN-γ (Interferon gamma) secretion. IFN-γ is a cytokine that functions as an antiviral and antiparasitic agent. In addition, IFN-γ secretion is synergistic with other cytokines, such as IL-2. This cytokine induces immunomodulatory effects on a wide range of other types of cells to help activate the (NK) Natural Killer cells in your immune system. This additional test truly shows which glucans have the best overall effect on your defenses.
Test 6: The most impressive test conducted was for tumor inhibition and the suppression of breast cancer growth. After just 2 weeks of glucan injections, there was a significant reduction of cancer growth with 5 of the products tested. The other 10 products were either very insignificant or showed no effects on tumor growth.
Dr. Vetvicka summed up the purpose of the two comparative studies best when he stated:
In our previous work, we compared 16 different glucans. From the time of publishing of the original study, the number of commercially available glucans multiplied in numerous countries. This inspired us to compare the new batch of available glucans. In the present paper, we used some of the same reactions (phagocytosis, superoxide formation, antibody reaction and IL-2 secretion) that have already been published. However, the original study showed that some glucans stimulate some types of immune reactions, and are without any activity in other areas of immunity. Therefore, for better evaluation of individual glucans, we added two more activities – IFN-γ secretion in blood and suppression of breast cancer growth. (example, p.10)
After testing 31 different glucans between the aforementioned works, Dr. Vetvicka explains, “several glucans showed no activity even at their highest dose.” In contrast, Transfer Point Beta Glucan (Glucan 300) topped the charts even at its lowest dosage.
With over twenty years of research, 200 peer-reviewed publications, seven books, and five international patents, Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka is one of the world’s leading researchers on beta glucan and immunology.
Dr. Vetvicka concludes, “Glucan #300 [Transfer Point Beta-1, 3D Glucan] is the benchmark … in every [test], Glucan #300 was the most active sample” (example, p.10).