Some Beta Glucans Support Immune Health

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07/15/2013
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Interviewer: Doctor, we hear a lot of people talk about immune support. There's a lot of products out there. Why should people be concerned about their immune system?

Dr. Donald Cox: Sure. Well, your immune system is involved in many routine functions to help keep you healthy. And those functions occur year round, so your body encounters potential health events, or health challenges, year round. Of course, we all understand the typical challenges when we talk about cold and flu, or other health events, that you want a strong immune system to help you repel those potential challenges.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Donald Cox: But there are other challenges. There's the days when you don't get enough sleep. There's the days when you're overly active or you're under other stresses. And these also impact your immune health. So supporting your immune health during those stressful times can be very important for helping to maintain your overall health. 

Also, as you age, and we all age. The alternative is not very pleasant. And as we age, our immune systems become a little less efficient. So helping your immune system by supporting it with good supplementation with ingredients like Wellmune WGP is key to helping you maintain your overall health. 

And these events, whether it be stress or the typical challenges we face from a health issue, occur every day. So these are events that occur 365 days a year. So maintaining your immune health, and helping to support your immune health daily, is very important for your overall health.

Interviewer: You mentioned Wellmune WBG. Can you explain exactly what that is?

Dr. Donald Cox: Sure. Wellmune WGP is referred to as a yeast beta glucan. It's structurally, chemically from a baker's yeast. It's called saccharomyces cerevisiae is the scientific name. And the material itself that is removed, or isolated, from the cell wall of that baker's yeast is beta 1316 glucan. And Wellmune is primarily beta 1316 glucan. It has a lot of research behind it to support the safety and clinical efficacy of the ingredient. And it is well-versed in terms of research publications that support the overall ingredient.

Interviewer: So you mentioned beta glucans. What are those exactly?

Dr. Donald Cox: Sure. Beta glucan, as a term, is probably not ideal for describing a broad range or a large class of carbohydrates. And these carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates. Many of our people who listen to this will probably  understand complex carbohydrates if we use terms like starches . . .

Interviewer: Mm.

Dr. Donald Cox: . . . and fibers and soluble fibers. Things we've heard about that are good for us and help us in many ways. Beta glucans are a type of fiber that, in this case for our material, are in the cell wall of baker's yeast. But there are other forms of beta glucan as well that are structurally quite diverse, very different from the yeast beta glucan that makes up the consistency of Wellmune. 

Other beta glucans that our audience might be familiar with would be oat and barley beta glucans which are structurally quite different. So it's very much like talking about protein or even minerals. Someone might say, well, what kind of a mineral or what kind of a protein? 

When we talk about beta glucans, it's important to discuss what different structures these beta glucans have, and how that structure impacts the biological activity. So our glucans from oat and barley are well known for some of their cardiovascular benefits. When we consume these particular beta glucans, they have a role, in our gastrointestinal tract of being soluble carbohydrates. 

They are soluble fibers. They help to block the uptake of cholesterol. Thus, the cardiovascular benefit. Most people are aware of the role . . . 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Donald Cox: . . . in cholesterol in our overall heart health. In an analogous fashion, the beta glucan from yeast is structurally very different. First of all, in its native form, it's not soluble. It's an insoluble. And more directly, it's an insoluble particle, typically, in the Wellmune beta GP beta glucan. 

This particular form of glucan has a unique chemical structure that is recognized by your immune system. And the immune system, in particular, immune cells, white blood cells, recognize and bind to the Wellmune. And when they bind to the Wellmune beta glucan, immune cells have a particular reactivity, or a typical action, that they execute that helps to protect the body.

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Donald Cox, Ph.D. discusses the importance of the immune system and how it can get damaged throughout the year. He also describes beta glucans, what they are and how they can help support immune health.

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