What Is the Connection between Beta Glucans and Cancer?

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  • Written By: Dan Harkins
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Along with traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments for fighting cancer cells in the body, some turn to other more homeopathic treatments like beta glutens. These carbohydrate compounds can be found holding cells intact in various mushrooms and other assorted plants, grains and algaes. It is not beta glucans and cancer that go head to head. Instead, beta glucans via a doctor's injection, are suspected to strengthen the immune system and its fight against cancerous cells and other microbial inhabitants that are not welcome to set up shop.

Many studies have successfully pitted beta glucans and cancer, with cancerous cells coming out on the losing end. Though research continues to focus on viable treatments, these glucose compounds have proven to be toxic to several types of cancerous cells. As far back as 1985, in a study published online by the National Institutes of Health, of 28 immunomodulators tested just beta glucans from a certain type of mushroom were discovered to be cytotoxic to tumor cells, at a level of nearly 100 percent. No organization has called for its use as an exclusive treatment. Though research has progressed to the point that beta glucans supplementation has become a fairly common alternative treatment for pushing cancer into remission.


A range of common plants can provide beta glucans, which cancer cells will not be able to discriminate. This compound is commonly derived from common ingredients like barley, oats, yeast, bacteria, mushrooms, lichens and other early-stage plants of the Agaricales fungus family. Patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatment often will be informed of the adversarial relationship between beta glucans and cancer.

These supplements have shown no adverse symptoms. According to the Alternative Cancer Web site, manufacturing beta glucans has been fairly expensive; in 2011, however, the material is cheaply distilled and widely used by cancer, HIV and other patients seeking to boost immune systems. Beta glucans and cancer have been successfully linked in several stories published by the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association.

According to the WebMD Web site, the key action of beta glucans oral supplements is to lower cholesterol in the blood. When taken as an injection, however, the intent is to strengthen immunoglobulin activity to help avoid infections and cancerous growths. These are just a few of the drug's many uses. It is used to treat various skin conditions, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and even more common conditions like colds and the flu.


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