Beta-Glucans - Support and Modulate the Immune System
Mushrooms are made up of chain linked polysaccharides (Carbohydrates-sugars). These sugars are linked together in all kinds of ways but they are classified into only two groups – Alpha glucans and Beta glucans. Our bodies are designed to breaks down and digest alpha linked polysaccharides. They are found in simple starches such as rice, wheat and potatoes. But the cell walls of mushrooms are made up of Beta glucans. Beta glucans are a certain type of polysaccharide that have a profound effect on our immune system. Not all Beta glucans are the same. They very widely in shape, size and configuration dependent upon what mushroom and what part of the mushroom they come from. We share 50% of our DNA with fungi and we contract many of the same viruses as fungi so our bodies can interact with these Beta glucans and build on the natural immunities that fungi have developed. Polysaccharides have the ability to bind to key immune cells in our system. Helping our immune system cells target and destroy other pathogens. Basically, Beta glucans are able to modulate our immune system. Either by kicking an underactive immune system in to gear or calming down and overactive one. They also help kill cancer cells and tumors along the way.
Extraction is necessary for our bodies to process and use these Beta glucans. They are tucked away inside the outer cell walls of the mushroom. This cell wall is called “chitin” which is something our bodies are unable to process. Use corn as a visual. Corn does not get broken down by our bodies and is released from our bodies completely intact. Beta glucans are water soluble so hot water extraction is necessary and the majority of Beta glucans are found in the mushrooms and not the mycelium. So, when searching look for products that contain “100% fruiting body” and stay away from “mycelium added”. Mycelium is not bad and does contain some Beta glucans. But the issue is the added filler from the way it is extracted. You don’t want something watered down for lack of a better term. Think about roots of a plant. You can’t grab the roots without also getting the dirt so why try at all when the mushrooms contain what is needed to get the job done.
Extraction method: Water
Mushrooms in this catagory of extraction include Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail and Cordyceps