Beta glucan — also known as beta glucans, beta glycans, beta 1,3 and lentinan — is a polysaccharide compound derived from plant sources. Beta glucan is sold in both extract and powdered form as a dietary supplement that manufacturers claim can enhance your health and prevent the development of certain diseases. Beta glucan powder and beta glucan extract share the same properties and, while some research indicates that supplementation with either yields health benefits, both also may cause side effects. Speak to your doctor before using beta glucan powder or beta glucan extract for any medical condition.
Origin and Function
Both beta glucan powder and beta glucan extract — beta glucan in a liquid form — are derived from the cell walls of plants such as oats, wheat and barley; from baker’s yeast; and from certain species of fungi, such as mushrooms. Beta glucan may inhibit cholesterol absorption in the digestive system and stimulate the production of immune system enzymes and proteins in both animals and humans.