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Immune Support for Children
The Common Cold,
Flu and Beta Glucan
The common cold,
typically caused by human parainfluenza viruses, remains one of the most
frustrating of medical illnesses, given its incidence and prevalence. The common cold has significant effects on
health, well-being, and productivity.
Each cold experienced by a working adult results in an average of 8.7
lost work hours, and 1.2 lost work hours due to attending to sick children.1 The economic burden of lost productivity
due to colds is approximately $25 billion annually, with lost productivity
from missed work days comprising the majority of the financial burden.2 There are no reliable interventions
currently available that significantly protect against influenza infections
or prevent the occurrence of this illness.
There have been several clinical trials evaluating a variety of
dietary supplements for the prevention and treatment of both experimentally
induced and naturally occurring colds.
Biological response modifiers such as beta-glucan, enhance
the innate immune response without inducing damaging pro-inflammatory
cytokines, and may represent a novel approach to protect against cold and flu
are glucose polymers derived from yeast, fungi, or from oats. In vivo studies suggest beta-glucans
may enhance the immune system responses to infectious organisms without
eliciting a pro-inflammatory cytokine response.3,4-8
In clinical trials, beta-glucan reduces postoperative
infection rates and shortens intensive care unit stay duration.9-11 One study also reported that increasing
doses of beta-glucan resulted in fewer infections after surgery.9
Beta-glucan appears to improve immune function in a
variety of animal models, without increasing pro-inflammatory cytokines or
inducing a febrile response.3,7,12,13
It appears that beta-glucan may be a powerful immune stimulator,
as evidenced by its ability to activate macrophages and stimulate positive
immune actions on B lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and suppressor T cells
in the immune system.14-16 Many in vitro studies have
shown that beta-glucan significantly increases microbiocidal activity of
human neutrophils and macrophages against a variety of pathogens without
directly stimulating synthesis of the cytokines, IL-1 or TNF. The exact pathway through which
beta-glucans interact with the immune system is unknown. One proposed mechanism is the activation of
Dectin-1 pattern recognition receptor on blood peripheral mononuclear cells.17,18
- Bramley TJ, Lerner D,
Sames M. Productivity losses
related to the common cold. J
Occup Environ Med 2002;44(9):822-9.
- Molinari NA,
Ortega-Sanchez IR, Messonnier ML, Thompson WW, Wortley PM, Weintraub E,
Bridges CB. The annual impact of
seasonal influenza in the US:
measuring disease burden and costs. Vaccine 2007;25(27):5086-96
- Niederman R,
Kelderman H, Socransky S, Ostroff G, Genco C, Dent R, Jr., Stashenko
P. Enhanced neutrophil emigration
and Porphyromonas gingivalis reduction following beta-glucan treatment
of mice. Arch Oral Biol
- Bedirli A, Kerem M,
Pasaoglu H, Akyurek N, Tezcaner T, Elbeg S, Memis L, Sakrak O. Beta-glucan attenuates inflammatory
cytokine release and prevents acute lung injury in an experimental model
of sepsis. Shock
- Ikewaki N, Fujii N,
Onaka T, Ikewaki S, Inoko H.
Immunological actions of Sophy beta-glucan (beta-1,3-1,6 glucan),
currently available commercially as a health food supplement. Microbiol Immunol 2007;51(9):861-73.
- Liang J, Melican D,
Cafro L, Palace G, Fisette L, Armstrong R, Patchen ML. Enhanced clearance of a multiple antibiotic
resistant Staphylococcus aureus in rats treated with beta-glucan is
associated with increased leukocyte counts and increased neutrophil
oxidative burst activity. Int J
- Onderdonk AB,
Cisneros RL, Hinkson P, Ostroff G.
Anti-infective effect of poly-beta 1-6-glucotriosyl-beta
1-3-glucopyranose glucan in vivo.
Infect Immun 1992;60(4):1642-7.
- Kaiser AB, Kernodle
DS. Synergism between
poly-(1-6)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-3)-beta-D-glucopyranose glucan and
cefazolin in prophylaxis of staphylococcal wound infection in a guinea
pig model. Antimicrob Agents
- Babineau TJ, Hackford
A, Kenler A, Bistrian B, Forse RA, Fairchild PG, Heard S, Keroack M,
Caushaj P, Benotti P. A phase II
multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of three
dosages of an immunomodulator (beta-glucan) in high-risk surgical
patients. Arch Surg
- Babineau TJ, Marcello
P, Swails W, Kenler A, Bistrian B, Forse RA. Randomized phase I/II trial of a
macrophage-specific immunomodulator (beta-glucan) in high-risk surgical
patients. Ann Surg
- Dellinger EP,
Babineau TJ, Bleicher P, Kaiser AB, Seibert GB, Postier RG, Vogel SB,
Norman J, Kaufman D, Galandiuk S, Condon RE. Effect of beta-glucan on the rate of
serious postoperative infection or death observed after high-risk
Betafectin Gastrointestinal Study Group. Arch Surg 1999;134(9):977-83.
- Sandvik A, Wang YY,
Morton HC, Aasen AO, Wang JE, Johansen FE. Oral and systemic administration of
beta-glucan protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced shock and organ
injury in rats. Clin Exp Immunol
- Kournikakis B,
Mandeville R, Brousseau P, Ostroff G.
Anthrax-protective effects of yeast beta 1,3 glucans. MedGenMed 2003;5(1):1.
- Brown GD, Gordon
S. Immune recognition of fungal
beta-glucans. Cell Microbiol
- Castro GR, Ranilaitis
B, Bora E, Kaplan DL. Controlled
release biopolymers for enhancing the immune response. Mol Pharm 2007;4(1):33-46.
- Rice PJ, Adams EL,
Ozment-Skelton T, Gonzalez AJ, Goldman MP, Lockhart BE, Barker LA,
Breuel KF, Depont WK, Kalbfleisch JH, Ensley HE, Brown GD, Gordon S,
Williams DL. Oral delivery and
gastrointestinal absorption of soluble glucans stimulate increased
resistance to infectious challenge.
J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2005;314(3):1079-86.
- Nerren JR, Kogut
MH. The selective Dectin-1
agonist, curdlan, induces an oxidative burst response in chicken
heterophils and peripheral blood mononuclear. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 2009 Jan
15;127(1-2):162-6. Epub 2008 Sep
- Shah VB, Huang Y, Keshwara R,
Oxment-Skelton T, Williams DL, Keshvara L. Beta-glucan activates microglia
without inducing cytokine production in Dectin-1-dependent manner. J Immunol 2008 Mar 1;180(5):2777-85.
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Common Cold, Flu and
Glucan 300® Research
The Immune Response Enhanced by Beta-1,3D Glucan
What Is Beta Glucan?