We are what we eat. We're all familiar with this expression, but the more medicine advances, the more we realize just how true it is. Researchers at the University of Bonn, Germany, have proven that an unhealthy diet can cause the immune system to act as if it were responding to bacterial infections.
The study, published in Cell, showed that poor-quality food makes the body's defenses more aggressive in the long term. This ultimately accelerates the development of diseases such as cancer .
If you think about it, it's not very surprising:the body makes do with what it's given. If we supply it with poor-quality, adulterated fuel, it will function less well, age faster and fall ill.
On the other hand,it is possible to improve your immune system and general health by eating quality food, and by helping yourself tonatural food supplements.
For some years now, beta-glucans have been in the spotlight for their benefits, particularly for the immune system.
What are beta-glucans?
Beta-glucans are polysaccharides (long sugar molecules) found in cell walls.of fungi, certain plants and bacteria, as well as in whole-grain cereals, yeast and algae.
They can be consumed by eating these types of foods, however, dietary supplements such asImmupran are a serious option for increasing daily intake.
They have been studied for their potential role in health.their beneficial effectsparticularly with regard to immunity.
The immune-boosting benefits of beta-glucans
One of the reasons for beta-glucan's benefits is that it is a soluble fiber. Soluble fibers delay gastric emptying and slow glucose absorption,absorb cholesterol particles and stimulate immune cells in the intestine..
How do beta-glucans affect the immune response?
Beta-glucans act bystimulating the responses immune responses responses, byincreasing white blood cell production (lymphocytes) and boosting the activity of immune system cells.
Their aim is to activate the immune response by increasing the function of macrophages and NK cells.
Macrophages are immune cells that play an important role in defending against infection and disease by ingesting and digesting foreign cells and particles.
NK (Natural Killer) cells are defense cells that help protect our bodies against infection and disease by targeting and killing infected or cancerous cells.
But how do beta-glucans act on macrophages?
They act on macrophage receptors by binding to them, stimulating the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and cytokines, which in turn activate other protective cells.
|Cytokine: a messenger produced by our body that enables cells to communicate with each other|
Activated by beta-glucans, they have an enhanced capacity to phagocytose pathogens and tumour cells, making them more effective in fighting disease and illness.act against viruses or cancer, for example.
|Phagocyting: process whereby the body's protective cells ingest and digest particles and foreign substances.|
According to recent research conducted by Drs. Elena De Marco Castro , Philip C. Calder and Helen M Roche and published on Pubmed, beta-glucans may have the capacity to boost the pathogenic defenses of immunoprotective cells. This means they canincrease our resistance to ailments such as colds, flu, respiratory tract infections, allergies and so on.
Most current scientific research has focused on beta-glucans derived frommedicinal mushroomscalled polysaccharides and bound to proteins. The Journal of Hematology & Oncology published a study demonstrating their usefulness in preventing several types of cancer.
Some experts, including Dr Jane E Ramberg , believe that beta-glucans in concentrated doses (not from food sources) can stimulate immune responses to destroy cancer cells and help prevent tumor growth.
Some healthcare providers administer beta-glucans to patients intravenously to help boost their immune systems when fighting cancer or AIDS, or when recovering from surgery.
|A study carried out in India by Dr Kadalraja Raghavan and his team even demonstrated the beneficial effects of beta-glucans on Covid-19 patients .|
Beta glucan and cholesterol
As previously mentioned, beta-glucans are soluble fibers that can control cholesterol levels and reduce its absorption in the intestinal tract, leading to a reduction in total and LDL (bad) blood cholesterol levels.
They can alsoincrease HDL cholesterol (good) cholesterol in the blood.
It's important to note that these effects may vary depending on the dose and source of beta-glucans consumed.
The benefits of beta-glucans and Reishi, the winning combination
In addition to providing a substantial daily intake of beta-glucans, Immupran contains yeast beta-glucans.saccharomyces cerevisiae but also beta-glucans from mushrooms,Reishi extracts to be precise.
Reishi is the Japanese name for the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom. Recognized as one of the most powerful herbal remedies in traditional Chinese medicine, it is called "ling zhi", which translates as "holy herb".
Reishi has been included in the pharmacopoeias of traditional Chinese medicine since around 200 BC. Back then, it was reserved for royalty or the very wealthy, due to its rarity. Thanks to modern cultivation, it is now much easier to obtain, and its popularity is spreading worldwide.
With this growing interest, research into the Reishi mushroom is also expanding, and we're learning more about its health benefits as well as its specific compounds and their actions. Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi are mainly recognized for their properties and action on the immune system and to calm the nervous system.
To date, there are no known side effects associated with the consumption of beta glucans. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use, and avoid side effects.
To sum up, beta-glucans are soluble fibers that have beneficial effects on our immune system by activating and enhancing the function of macrophages and NK cells.
They also have beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption and increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
To reap these benefits, it is recommended to include foods rich in beta-glucans in the diet, such as mushrooms, whole grains and legumes.
For faster results,natural food supplements such as Immupran, which combines beta-glucans with Reishi extractsextracts, are one possibility.
Note that these effects may vary according to the dose and source of beta-glucans consumed. When consuming a supplement, it is important to follow the manufacturers' recommendations and maintain a balanced diet to obtain an adequate source of beta-glucans.