Glucan is a polysaccharide formed of recurring units (monosaccharides) of a sugar called "glucose."
- Glucose is one of eight monosaccharides in carbohydrate chain nutrients
- Two connected glucose molecules are referred to as glucose, and around ten connected molecules are referred to as an oligosaccharide.
The polysaccharide glucan is not available as an energy source and has zero calories.
Specifically, glucan is a general term for polysaccharides made up only solely of glucose molecules (on a molecular basis, polysaccharides have at least ten sub-units), and this term covers familiar molecules including beta-glucan, cellulose, and trehalose.
Glucan with glucose molecules linked by bonds of the alpha form are classed as alpha-glucan.
Glucan with glucose molecules linked by bonds of the beta form are classed as beta-glucan.
Beta-glucan is widely distributed in the natural world in such organisms as plants, fungi, and bacteria. The beta-glucan found in agaricus or bracket fungus is called "beta-1.3-glucan" and mainly has a chain 1 branch 3 molecular structure. It has been the focus of attention since around 1990 for its high functionality.
Whereas beta-1.4-glucan is always referred to as cellulose regardless of its source, beta-1.3-glucan has a variety of names that depend on the source.
n addition, although the term beta-glucan normally refers to beta-1.3-glucan, scientific analysis to measure beta glucan also tends to incorporate cellulose (beta-1.4-glucan) and other molecules with none of the functionality mentioned above as beta-glucan. Care is therefore needed not to misunderstand the beta-glucan in nutritional labeling of food products (including health food products) as only beta-1.3-glucan.
Among beta-glucan at present, attention is focused on "beta-1.3-1.6-glucan," which have the most reliable functionality.
Beta-glucan was originally discovered in the United States.
Solubility in water, water resistance (water insolubility), and insolubility
What is solubility?
That property of a substance by which it dissolves in water to form an aqueous solution.
The words "very soluble," "soluble," "slightly soluble," "sparingly soluble," and "insoluble" are used to describe the degree of solubility.
Dissolving. Also dissolved. In particular, that phenomenon by which a gas, liquid, or solid mixes with another liquid or solid resulting in a state of homogeneity. Normally, it refers to the dissolution of various substances in a liquid to form a solution.
Water-soluble beta-glucan, soluble beta-glucan, and insoluble beta-glucan
This generally refers to a state in which the substance is dispersed homogeneously throughout the solution (with no precipitation or separation) when dissolved in water at 1 atm and 20°C.
Since beta-glucan is "dietary fiber," whether it is completely dissolved or partly dissolved can be determined from differences in its refraction of light.
|Materials included in analysis of beta-glucan
|Type of bond
|Presence of carbohydrate chain
|Present in raw materials
|Present in traces in raw materials
|Present in raw materials
|Baker's yeast extract
* 1/3 of the bonds are 1.6
|None (present in raw materials)
A straight chain polysaccharide made up of a glucose main chain with beta-1.3 bonds and beta-1.6 bonds, with the ratio of beta-1.3 bonds to beta-1.6 bonds about 3:1
"Beta-1.3-1.6-glucan" has he highest functionality
Next comes molecules that are 1/3 1.6-glucan, such as laminaran.
After this comes beta-1.3-glucan. Beta-1.4-glucan has no functionality.
In addition, since it is a polysaccharide (polymer), its functionality is also affected by the fact that it is poorly soluble in water and poorly absorbed.
In addition, recent studies have found that "beta-1.3-glucan" by itself has low functionality. Agaricus is the same, but by eating everything, you will consume "carbohydrate chain nutrients" at the same time. It is thought that this was because it functioned organically within the body to display its characteristics. Specifically, products that were extracts of beta-glucan alone had rather poor functionality.
The idea that the functionality of anything can be enhanced by extracting it and removing other substances could be termed a chemical blind spot.
On this point, other fiber components present in addition to high concentrations of high quality beta-glucan can include allergenic substances, and this is very unfortunate for some beta-glucans derived from baker's yeast with the aim of purification and high purity.
We have used nanocapsule technology to overcome the problem of absorption and create a revolutionary product.
The etymology of the name beta-glucan and the history of research
The research group for beta-1.3-glucan was also in the United States
(the research group is said to have included Dr. Nicholas DiLuzio [1926-1986] of the Tulane University Medical School), and the name comes from the fact that the polymeric substance with a triple helical structure discovered in yeast cell walls consisted of carbohydrate molecules (hexose) with hydrogen bonds in the 1>3 direction.
(Beta-glucan is a substance that has been studied around the world)
In Japan, it can also be referred to as "beta-1.3-(D)-glucan," with the "D" representing a carbon arrangement that rotates to the right.
Since a few so-called beta-1.6-glucan molecular chains remain with hydrogen bonds in the 1-->6 direction during the isolation and extraction process of beta-glucan from yeast cell walls as well as the 1-->3 bonds of the sugar molecules, this is also sometimes called beta-1.3-1.6-glucan in Japan.
Because of this, although beta-glucan usually refers to "beta-1.3-glucan," there is no legal issue with labeling a food product (health food product) containing "beta-1.3-glucan" as "beta-1.3-1.6-glucan."
However, care is needed since beta-1.3-glucans including commonly available food products (including health food products), agaricus, Ganoderma lucidum (bracket fungus), and baker's yeast have hardly any branch 1.6 molecular chains.
Standard agaricus used as an ingredient for health food products is a mushroom grown in Brazil.
It is rich in nutrients and its high molecular polysaccharide beta-1.3-glucan content is much higher than that of other mushrooms.
Among the various types of agaricus, the beta-glucan contained in a mushroom called "Agaricus Blazei Murrill" (scientific name: Iwade strain 101) contains large amounts of main chain 1.3 branch 1.6 beta-1.3-1.6-glucan. This gives it rarity value and it trades for relatively high prices.
Ordinary products that include beta-glucan
o Agaricus o Bracket fungus o Maitake o Shiitake o Eringi o Nameko o Oyster mushrooms
o Oats o Barley
The history of beta-glucan is fairly long
Functional studies in the United States and elsewhere have generally focused on beta-1.3-glucan extracted from the cell walls of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (so-called beer yeast).
Around the world, the staple food in Western countries is generally wheat, usually bread, and this is probably the prime reason why research originated from within that food culture.
Another reason is that the yeast that is the raw material (baker's yeast, beer yeast, etc.) has a history of consumption as a food in various countries around the world stretching back for thousands of years, and sufficient quantities can be ensured.
The beta-1.3-(D)-glucan extracted from this has been studied for its functional effects on the body and considerable amounts of experimental data are available.
On the other hand, there are still many unknowns regarding the identification of beta-1.3-(D)-glucan extracted from yeast and the action mechanism of the substance. In addition to the early establishment of further methods of identification and methods of quantitative analysis, and statistical experiments, it is to be hoped that safety and action mechanism over time will be verified in humans.
Consumption of beta-glucan alone has not produced any results in the field of medicine beyond what was expected.
In addition, recent studies have gradually revealed that the functionality of "beta-glucan alone" is less than initially expected.
In fact, the arbitrary human presumption that "something extracted and isolated at a high concentration must be better" that has arisen out of the development of Western culture has given rise to this error, whereas it would be better to to consume original whole foods from the natural world that contain beta-glucan like bracket fungus or agaricus instead of beta-glucan alone.
In studies of carbohydrate chains, beta-glucan has been found to be involved in carbohydrate chain nutrients.
This suggests that, for mushrooms too, it would be of benefit to health if large amounts of carbohydrate chain nutrients were included in such dietary fiber as well as beta-glucan, and this were all eaten.
From now, beta-glucan + carbohydrate chain
There are still many points of uncertainty when it comes to beta-glucans and carbohydrate chains, but so long as there are limits on a human lifespan, we can’t afford to wait another 50 or 100 years.
At present, health management using an excellent combination of beta-glucans and carbohydrate chain nutrients seems desirable.
A 17-fold increase in the absorbance of beta-1.3-1.6-glucan. Beta-glucan consumed in nanocapsules
A world first. Beta-glucan with a remarkable increase in absorption
We have succeeded in "nano-encapsulation" of high-functionality "beta-1.3-1.6-glucan" from baker's yeast beta-glucan as is resulting in a dramatical increase in absorption.
One capsule contains a mixture of 240 mg of beta-glucan and a large quantity (200 mg) of swallow’s nest extract as an added ingredient, resulting in a "nanocapsule" that produces a remarkable increase in absorption.