Immune-modulatory effects of dietary Yeast Beta-Glucan
A well-functioning immune system is crucial for staying healthy. Therefore, the potential of natural substances to strengthen the immune system has long been the subject of investigation. There are many synthetic and natural preparations claiming to be immunomodulators. Probably the best known herbal preparations that exhibit effects on the immune system are preparations made fromEchinacea, Viscum (mistletoe), and Pelargonium. There is, however, another very interesting and, by now, properly investigated class of immunomodulators - the β-glucans.
Long before the substance class of β-glucans themselves were identified as immunomodulators, the beneficial effects of β-glucan-containing mushrooms such as Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) in Japan or Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) in China were utilized in the traditional Oriental medicine for the strengthening of the body’s immune system.