• Melanie Dixon

Beta glucan - the unsung hero of immune health (and other benefits)

It's likely that you've never heard of beta glucans before and, even if you have, you may not fully understand what they are and why they're good for you.

Beta glucans are 'functional foods', in other words a food ingredient which has health benefits. They are non-starch soluble polysaccharides (a type of dietary fibre) found in yeast, mushrooms, barley and oats.

Each of the different food sources contain a different type of beta glucan and these vary depending on how many glucose (sugar) linkages they have - they can be short to medium chain polysaccharides.

Each different beta glucan provides different health benefits:

  • Barley-derived glucans provide a source of dietary fibre and support heart health

  • Mushroom-derived glucans may provide some support for immune health but this isn't quite as effective as the yeast-derived glucan

  • Oat-derived glucans provide dietary fibre and are beneficial for heart health because of their cholesterol-lowering effects

  • Baker's yeast-derived glucans are beta 1,3/1,6 glucans from Saccharomyces cerevisiae which have been found to be the most effective type of glucan in supporting the immune system

By including a wide range of beta glucans in our diet we can enjoy a wide range of health benefits as they have been shown to support cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and the immune system, exerting antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties.

To keep yourself healthy this winter, start the day with a warm, nourishing oatmeal porridge to help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and support your immune system with a good quality supplement containing beta 1,3/1,6 glucans.

We need to 'Eat Well' to 'Live Well'.

To find out more about how to keep yourself healthy this winter, book an appointment for a nutritional therapy consultation with Foreshore Nutrition where you can discover which foods will support your immune system and for advice on high quality professional supplements.


  1. Du, B., Meenu, M., Liu, H., & Xu, B. (2019). A Concise Review on the Molecular Structure and Function Relationship of β-Glucan. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(16), 4032. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20164032

  2. Vetvicka, V., Vannucci, L., Sima, P., & Richter, J. (2019). Beta Glucan: Supplement or Drug? From Laboratory to Clinical Trials. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(7), 1251. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071251

  3. Geller, A., Shrestha, R., & Yan, J. (2019). Yeast-Derived β-Glucan in Cancer: Novel Uses of a Traditional Therapeutic. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(15), 3618. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153618

  4. Nakashmia A et al (2018) B-Glucan in foods and its physiological functions, Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 64(1), pp8-17. https://doi.org/10.3177/jnsv.64.8