Medicinal mushrooms contain several compounds that provide amazing health benefits. Polysaccharides are the main active compounds found in medicinal mushrooms. Others include peptides, flavonoids, triterpenoids, among others.
The most scientifically compound in fungi is a specific polysaccharide type known as beta-glucans (beta-d-glucans). They belong to a group of physiologically active compounds known as biological response modifiers.
According to this study, mushroom beta-glucans have attracted attention due to their numerous health benefits, such as antimicrobial, antioxidative, anti-cancerogenic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, and immunomodulatory activities.
Immune Protecting Properties of Beta-Glucans
Beta-glucans are considered the best immune modulators globally. They enhance and stimulate all aspects of one's immune functions. This makes the immune system more effective in combating pathogens, parasites, infections, viruses, and cancer-causing cell mutations.
Numerous scientific research has been conducted to study the effects of beta-glucans and the immune-boosting elements of medicinal mushrooms. The beta-glucans in the polysaccharides stimulate the productions and supply of macrophages. Macrophages are large white blood cells responsible for combating and eliminating foreign threats in the body, such as pathogens.
Taking medicinal mushroom supplements provides you with several health benefits, including support and enhancement of your immune system.
How Do Beta-Glucans In Medicinal Mushrooms Influence the Immune System?
- Cordyceps, Maitake, Reishi, and Shiitake mushrooms feature protein-linked glucans, which allow for improved immune-boosting potency than ordinary free glucans
- Certain mushrooms, such as the Reishi, release the fungal immune-modulatory proteins (FIMS), which are immune-stimulating glycoproteins
- Beta-glucans inhibit prostaglandin synthesis
- Activates the reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines
- Increased interferon production
- Boosting the antibody production
- It activates the inhibition of tumor metastasis
- It mobilizes the immune response against various cancer cells
- Beta-glucans stimulate the complexity of functions in the immune system.
Benefits of Beta-Glucans in Medicinal Mushrooms
When ingested and broken down, beta-D-glucans enhance the natural killer cells and immune system cells' ability to direct resources away from or towards a specific location. Medicinal mushrooms have been a part of dietary supplements in different parts of the world. Japan has been using medicinal mushrooms as effective anti-tumor and anti-cancer treatment for over three decades.
Besides influencing the effectiveness of your immune system positively, beta-D-glucan also has other benefits. These include;
- It improves the cardiovascular and gastro-digestive systems
- It regulates your blood pressure
- It regulates your cholesterol levels by preventing cholesterol absorption from food in the intestines and stomach
- It reduces stress and anxiety. It also stimulates and enhances the nervous system functioning
- Beta-glucans help combat the cancerogenic cells. They activate a triggered response in a coordinated attack on the cancer cells. This destroys or slows down the growth of cancer cells.
- Moreover, beta-glucans increase the survival time -for individuals with advanced cancer stages
- It also regulates the blood sugar levels, helping to control diabetes
- Beta-glucans improve the brain functions
- It reduces fatigue and increases energy levels.
Beta-Glucan Content in Medicinal Mushrooms
The most crucial element in medicinal mushrooms is the amount of beta-D-glucans as opposed to polysaccharide contents. This is because it is the beta-glucans that determine the potency and efficacy of the medicinal mushroom supplement.
Most mushroom producers focus on increasing the polysaccharide measurements by growing mushrooms on substrates such as starch. The mushroom quickly absorbs the starch, which increases the amount of polysaccharides with higher levels of alpha glucans (starch). Unfortunately, these mushroom supplements tend to have love beta-glucans amounts, meaning low nutritional value.
The content of beta-glucans in medicinal mushrooms is also affected by the growing conditions and how early they are harvested. Harvesting your mushroom too early before maturity means the nutritional value will be minimal.
How to Get High-Quality Medicinal Mushroom with Good Beta-Glucan Content
If you want to get the best mushrooms with high beta-glucan levels, below are a few factors to favor your plans;
- High-quality medicinal mushrooms are grown in their indigenous environment and not on grains.
- Do not use any growth stimulating agents
- Harvest your mushroom at their full maturity.
These factors make mushrooms unique at delivering the best bio-active nutritional value.
Incorporating beta-glucan into your dietary supplements can be a major boost for your health. It supports and stimulates your immune system. Beta-D-glucans can also benefit individuals who have cancer, cardiovascular challenges, and nervous issues, among others. Fortunately, medicinal mushroom supplements come with sufficient beta-glucans to help your immune system and general well-being.