beta-Glucans (generic name)
- Auto Immune Conditions
- Bladder & Kidney Health
- Brain & Nervous System
- Care Transitions
- Dental Health
- Emotional Health
- Eye Health
- Falls Prevention
- Financial Planning
- General Safety
- Health Care Basics
- Healthy Living
- Hearing Loss
- Heart Health
- High Blood Pressure
- Life Transitions
- Lung Health
- Men's Health
- Nutrition & Weight Management
- Pain Management
- Preventive Health
- Sexual Health
- Stomach & Digestive Health
- Stress & Anxiety
- Women's Health
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Allergies, anti-aging, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral, asthma, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), bedsores, bladder sphincter disorders (sphincter deficiency), colorectal adenocarcinomas, common cold, constipation, Crohn's disease, dermatitis, diabetic ulcers, diarrhea, diverticulitis (colon), ear infections, eczema, fibromyalgia, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, immunomodulator, immunostimulant, influenza, lung tumor, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), radiation burns, respiratory infections, rheumatoid arthritis, shock, skin care, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, wounds, wrinkle prevention.
Adults (18 years and older)
Beta-glucan has been taken by mouth for a variety of conditions. Cereals containing beta-glucan or concentrates containing fiber (typically 8-15 grams of beta-glucan) are the most common forms. For hyperlipidemia, 3-16 grams of beta-glucan daily have been studied and found moderately effective in reducing HDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels. For high blood pressure, 5.52 grams of beta-glucan daily have been studied. For cardiovascular disease, 4 servings daily of two dietary fibers, beta-glucan (0.75 grams per serving) and psyllium (1.78 grams per serving), have been studied. For diabetes, 50-90 grams carbohydrate portions of barley grain with meals have been studied for up to 12 weeks. Higher amounts of fiber and beta-glucan may result in a stronger effect. In addition, 10 grams of a barley beta-glucan fiber supplement (Cerogen®) that contained 6.31 grams of beta-glucan has been added to foods and drinks. For breast cancer, patients have taken 1-3, 1-6, D-beta glucan daily for 15 days. For heart protection during coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), 700 milligrams or 1,400 milligrams of beta-1,3/1,6-glucan has been taken for five days in a row before surgery.
Beta-glucan has also been applied to burns on the skin as a collagen matrix for 24 hours.
Injections of beta-glucan forms have also been studied, and these should only be given under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for beta-glucan in children, and use is not recommended.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to beta-glucan.
Side Effects and Warnings
Taken by mouth, both yeast and fungal beta-glucans seem to be well tolerated with minimal adverse effects. Beta-glucan has a generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status in the United States. Lentinan and schizophyllan have been safely used in studies. Although not well studied in humans, the co-administration of aspirin and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with beta-glucan can lead to severe gastrointestinal damage resulting in enteric-induced bacterial peritonitis.
There is insufficient information regarding the safety of beta-glucans when used topically (applied on the skin) or subcutaneously (injected under the skin).
Most studies that have evaluated the parenteral use of beta-glucans have used specific forms including PGG-glucan from a proprietary strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and certain fungal-derived beta-glucans lentinan and schizophyllan (SPG). PGG-glucan has been safely used in studies when given at the appropriate times under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.
When given intravenously, beta-glucans may cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, hives, flushing, rash, high or low blood pressure, or excessive urination.
Beta-glucan has also been associated with inflammatory airway disease and lung inflammation.
Particulate beta-glucan may not be safe. Preliminary evidence suggests intravenous beta-glucans in the microparticulate form may cause serious side effects such as hepatosplenomegaly, granuloma formation, and microembolization.
Use cautiously in AIDS or AIDS-related complex (ARC) patients. Keratoderma of the palms and soles may develop in these patients who are receiving yeast beta-glucans. The condition may begin during the first two weeks of therapy and resolve 2-4 weeks after discontinuation of beta-glucans.