Author: Betül Gürünlü

Medical Applications of Beta-Glucan

eBook: US $49 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $83
Printed Copy: US $59
Library License: US $196
ISBN: 978-981-5039-24-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-981-5039-23-8 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2022
DOI: 10.2174/97898150392381220101


Beta-glucan is a polysaccharide and an important food supplement that strengthens the immune system. Beta-glucan can be obtained from many food sources such as mushrooms, yeast, or oats. Beta-glucan has a therapeutic use in the treatment of many diseases, thanks to its immune system strengthening effect. Its use helps curtail the need for administering high levels of antibiotics in case of serious infections.

This book presents information about the medical applications of beta-glucan. Starting with an introduction to the basic biochemistry and classification of beta-glucan, the contents explain the readers about its use in treating a variety of medical conditions. These include cancer, allergies, COVID-19, respiratory tract infections, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and many other other endocrinological, immunological and infectious diseases.

This book is a comprehensive resource about the medical use of beta-glucan where any reader can find topical information and learn about recent studies on the therapeutic effects of beta-glucan on the treatment of different diseases.

Audience: medical doctors (general physicians and specialists), pharmacology researchers, clinicians and biochemists.


Beta glucan has been used in Asia as immunostimulant, adaptogenic and detoxifying medicine. Goro Chihara, from Teikyo University in Kawasaki, Japan, first isolated β -glucan from mushroom shiitake and named it as lentinan in 1969. There are various natural sources of β -glucans such as reishi, maitake and shiitake mushrooms, barley fibers, oats and whole grains, seaweeds, algae; however, they are most frequently prepared from fungal cell walls. Beta glucan are polysaccharides that are composed of linear chains with (1 → 3)-β -d-glycosidic linkages or branched ones containing additional (1 → 6)-β -d-glycosidic linkages.

Global pandemic diseases such as COVID-19, which have resulted in severe case losses in all over the world, have made us much better understand the importance of health. In this sense, we have seen that keeping our immune system strong is a very important issue. Thanks to beta glucan supplement that strengthens the immune system, it is an important support for the body to cope with many diseases such as cancer, allergic diseases, upper respiratory tract obstruction, ear infections, and diabetes. β-Glucan has been used as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer since 1980, primarily in Japan. Yeast β -glucan is able to absorb mycotoxins (such as zearalenon, aflatoxin B1, deoxynivalenol, ochratoxin A, and patulin), probably through hydrogen bonds and van der Waals forces; this β -glucan effect is important particularly for livestock. Certain cereals (barley, oats) and edible mushrooms decreased levels of serum cholesterol and liver low-density lipoproteins, leading to lowering of arteriosclerosis and heart disease hazards. In the central nervous system, β -glucans activate microglial cells. These cells act as scavengers of the brain cell debris and play a positive role in Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis.

Briefly, β-Glucan provides diverse and impinge effects on the immune system. They are natural products useful in preventing various diseases, they have been highly sought after throughout human history. This book is an important source that showing the capabilities of beta glucan as a preventive and therapeutic against many diseases and providing you about the way of contribution of beta glucan for strengthening your immune system.


Not applicable.


The author declares no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

Betül Gürünlü
Üsküdar University
Bioengineering Department


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