Updated: Feb 16
The further scientists dive into researching mushrooms, the more they find out about the undeniable benefits of consuming them. Although humans have been eating mushrooms for many millennia, their impact on health hasn't always been made clear.
In recent years, it has been discovered that functional mushrooms all contain a valuable soluble fiber with great potential for health benefits. As stated in a study published on NCBI, "One of the special components found from mushrooms is beta glucan, which is predominantly composed in the fungal cell wall and is mostly composed of beta-D-glucose."
In case you don't know, "the phrase functional mushroom specifically refers to varieties that have a health benefit beyond providing nutrition." As it turns out, beta glucan is a prominent compound found in functional mushrooms, including:
The health benefits of beta glucans within grains and oats have been known for quite a while; however, the ones found in mushrooms are just now being recognized for their unique advantages. According to Science Direct, "While beta glucans from other food sources are well-known, mushrooms may 'provide a unique opportunity' for the discovery of novel bioactives with functional food potential, say researchers."
Many distributors of glucan supplements use grain or mycelium products that are very high in alpha-glucans but low in the valuable beta glucans. Although alpha-glucans do have benefits, beta glucans from whole fruiting body mushrooms are known for possessing those same positive health impacts plus more.
As reported by Nathan Gray on Nutraingreidients, "Mushroom beta glucans have been suggested to have multiple beneficial properties including the potential to enhance innate and cell mediated immune responses and antimicrobial activities."
Notably, Zenspora sells functional mushroom extracts made from the whole fruiting body of mushrooms, which means their extract capsules are more dense and rich in beta glucans than other similar products on the market. Check out these proven health benefits of beta glucans found in functional mushrooms extracts:
Boosts the Immune System
As it turns out, there is quite a bit of research out there on the benefits of beta glucan on the immune system. In one study published on NCBI, it is stated that "beta glucan effectively stimulates the host immune response to defend against bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections."
Furthermore, "Mushrooms are known for their immune-modulating and anti-tumour properties. The polysaccharide fraction, mainly beta glucans, is responsible for the immune-modulating effects" (Pubmed).
You read that correctly. beta glucans found in functional mushrooms are proven to strengthen immune systems and even shrink tumors. Conveniently, this leads up to the next top benefit of taking beta glucans through functional mushroom extracts.
Helps Fight Cancer
You guessed it! In addition to having anti-tumor properties, beta glucans have been discovered to have cancer-fighting benefits. In fact, "Preliminary research indicates that beta glucan may activate a number of cells and proteins that fight cancer (such as T-cells and natural killer cells). What's more, tests on animals have shown that beta glucan may inhibit the spread of cancer cells" (VeryWellHealth).
In a chapter published on ScienceDirect, beta glucan was observed to have reduced cancer with compelling statistics to back the claim. "In the CHO-k1 cell line, β-glucan had a chemopreventive effect in all the protocols tested: pretreatment showed a 35.0%–57.3% reduction, the simultaneous treatment showed a reduction of 19.7%–55.6%, simultaneous treatment with preincubation showed a reduction of 42.7%–56.4%, and posttreatment produced a 17.9%–37.6% reduction."
Since all functional mushrooms contain beta glucan, any of these mushroom extract capsules can be consumed to receive the benefits of this life-changing component.
Enhance Effectiveness of Other Medications
Beta glucan has become known as a "biological response modifier" that pushes the body to fight off bacteria, viruses, and diseases. Therefore, "In clinical applications, beta glucan is usually used as an adjuvant to enhance the effectiveness of the medicine" (NCBI).
Impressively, this means that beta glucan is often used alongside other medications as a way to enhance the effects of the primary medicine. Since beta glucan already helps the body battle ailments, it serves as an assistant to other medications.
Helps With Cholesterol Management
High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease and death by a heart attack. Shockingly, "One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. About 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year—that's 1 in every four deaths" (CDC).
As stated by HealthyEating, "Compared to other types of soluble fiber, beta glucans are especially effective at achieving and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, which makes them particularly useful for protecting against heart disease."
This means that taking beta glucans is amongst a few of the top ways to effectively manage cholesterol levels. With this information in mind, it is no wonder why many are turning to functional mushroom extracts containing beta glucan to lower their cholesterol levels!
Weight Loss Aid
Fiber is known for its health benefits when it comes to digestion. In addition, it is renowned for making us feel fuller faster, which inevitably helps us eat less in one sitting. Since beta glucan is a fiber, it is a healthy supplement to take in order to make your stomach feel satisfied without overeating.
Beta glucan has another layer of benefits that can help you keep the weight off. According to ResearchGate, "Beta Glucan reduces cravings by balancing responsible hormones, increasing the healthy to unhealthy gut flora ratio and increasing satiety."
Oftentimes, overeating is a side effect of imbalanced hormones. Luckily, beta glucan has the ability to even out those hormones to reduce extreme hunger pangs. To learn more about the important benefits of functional mushrooms, please feel free to Contact Us at any time!
While there is no question that functional mushrooms carry many health benefits, it is important to know that the essential properties of mushrooms must be properly extracted. Improper extraction can result in lackluster effects. For more information about why proper extraction is important for mushroom supplements, visit our Blog.