Beta Glucan

Beta glucan: boosts immunity and hydrates

While our ancestors had known from time immemorial that our health depends on good food, nowadays we know that good immunity is of key importance for a long healthy life. Bad nutrition is proven to be accompanied by infections, while malnutrition or the inability to absorb nutrients are a sure path to ill health. Since ancient times, people have been aware of the value of certain foods, mushrooms for example, and used them both as food and medicine. It is precisely the medicinal properties of mushrooms that are mentioned in Indian records that back 5,000 years. Modern research has confirmed this ancient knowledge and explained what ingredients in some foods act as medicine, i.e. what ingredients have immunomodulatory properties. Beta glucan has been shown in numerous studies to be the most effective immunomodulator. As our body is not able to produce beta glucan, we need to obtain it from food.


In effect, it is better to ask what beta glucans are – they are polysaccharides of the cell walls of cereals, mushrooms, bacteria and yeasts. If we ingest these soluble fibres through food, for example with oatmeal, we help the body to absorb less cholesterol, but we also stimulate our immune system. Only 3 grams of these polysaccharides per day contribute to lowering cholesterol levels. Beta glucan is especially useful for people with elevated cholesterol levels in the blood because it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It is also valuable for allergies, diabetes, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and even cancer.

The first mention of the immunomodulatory properties of polysaccharides dates to 1940, when American scientists Shear and Turner were studying the otherwise dangerous bacterium Serratia marcescens; during this study they discovered that the polysaccharide they isolated from it caused tumour necrosis. In their scientific paper, they described that it “causes severe bleeding in the tumour within a few hours”. Further scientific research aimed to isolate polysaccharides from safer organisms and revealed that oral intake of beta glucan achieves great results in immune stimulation and protection against infections by strains such as Leishmania major, L. donovani, Candida albicans, Toxoplasma gondii, Streptococcus suis, Plasmodium berghei, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Mesocestoides corti, Trypanosoma cruzi, Eimeria vermiformis and Bacillus anthracis. Further research focused on the anti-cancer effect of beta glucan, which is achieved by beta glucan promoting cytokine production and antibody response.

How does beta glucan work? These extremely powerful modulators of the immune system stimulate the activity of macrophages – cells of our immunity whose task is to destroy pathogens – harmful substances that enter our body and destroy it. In this process, they encourage other immune cells to attack. Macrophages also release cytokines that enable immune system cells to communicate with each other. And that is not all: beta glucan also stimulates white blood cells to attach to virus cells or tumour cells and destroy them.

The mechanisms of glucan transport through the digestive system are still not completely clear, but what is known is that the speed of its “travel” through the intestines can vary from half an hour to a full 12 hours, which depends on the physical and chemical properties of the glucan itself, and that it settles in the cells after 24 hours. In contrast to some earlier incorrect claims, now we know that isolated and water-soluble beta glucan taken orally is absorbed quite well and that the body makes excellent use of it.

An illustration of healthy and damaged skin.


Although its antitumor effects are fascinating, beta glucan has also found its place in skin care and treatment. Research has shown that it has exceptional healing powers, most likely through the stimulation of macrophages, but also that it additionally achieves significant aesthetic effect by stimulating fibroblasts and promoting the production of collagen and elastin.

Beta glucan has, above all, an exceptional hydrating effect. By retaining moisture on the surface of the skin, it creates a kind of barrier, a thin film that protects the skin from external influences. This is especially important for people with skin prone to redness and irritation, as well as more complex skin disorders, such as eczema and dermatitis, or skin that has been affected by burns or decubitus.

As a famous immune stimulator, beta glucan also improves skin resistance. By stimulating macrophages and other immune cells, it prevents pathogens from passing through the skin. This property, alongside the powerful hydration that these polysaccharides provide, makes them ideal for the care of dry, cracked and rough skin.

By locking in moisture both on the surface and deep in the skin, beta glucan also has a strong anti-aging effect: it tightens and firms the skin, and by stimulating the production of elastin and collagen, it is proven to “erase” small wrinkles and irregularities. And since the harmful effect of UV rays is one of the biggest culprits for accelerated skin aging (the so-called photoaging), and for malignant diseases, its immunomodulatory properties come to the fore here. Supplementation with beta glucan has proven to have strong anti-melanoma properties, which, along with the ability to calm the skin and reduce redness, make it a brilliant ingredient in sunscreen lotions or after-sun creams.

Bearing in mind the exceptional properties of beta glucan, Herba Svet experts have included it in numerous Devi collection preparations: in Illuminative cream, it contributes to skin’s rejuvenation and revitalization and to the strengthening of our immunity; in Marine Collagen cream, together with marine collagen, it promotes the production of collagen and elastin and slows down the aging process. It is part of Whitening cream, for lightening the complexion and reducing the visibility of freckles and spots; additionally, there are two preparations intended for men that do not only rejuvenate and care, but also soothe the skin and prevent irritation: Fresh gel anti-age men and Calming anti-age gel men.

Devi cosmetics for men

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