The systems in our bodies work together to allow us to function daily. One such system is our immune system. We usually do not realize its importance until we fall sick and must miss an important work or a family event. The immune system works to keep us healthy, and a strong immune system is better able to naturally protect us, without us ever even noticing the daily threats our bodies encounter.
How does our immune system work?
The immune system is our body’s defense system. It not only protects us from damage causing microbes but also helps eliminate them from our body via a complex network of cells and molecules1. Our immune system works in two broad categories, called innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is the first line of defense and acts more rapidly against multiple types of pathogens. On the other hand, adaptive immunity is the second line of defense which is triggered when innate immunity is not sufficient to get rid of the pathogens. Adaptive immunity takes longer to get triggered and is specific to the pathogen1.
When foreign substances such as bacteria or viruses enter our body, they are recognized by our immune system which results in an immune response leading to their elimination. This crucial function of our immune system is regulated by several dietary and lifestyle factors. For example, lack of proper sleep, intense exercise, stress and/or lack of proper nutrition can compromise the functioning of our immune system2-4. In addition to managing these factors, taking immunity strengthening dietary supplements may also help support our immune system5,6. Certain classes of beta-glucans are one type of immunomodulating molecule that act by strengthening the innate immunity response, the first line of defense, within our bodies that work constantly to maintain our health6,7.
What is a beta-glucan?
Beta glucans are a broad class of a naturally occurring polysaccharides or carbohydrates which exhibits multiple health benefits depending on its molecular structure and size. For example, a specific kind of beta-glucan, found in some algae, mushroom and yeast exhibits immune boosting properties, as evidenced by an abundance of research in animals and humans6. When ingested, this type of beta-glucan reaches our gut where it is recognized by our immune system as “non-self” or foreign due to its chemical structure5,6. The immune cells then bind and engulf beta-glucan leading to the release of many signaling molecules that help prime our immune system allowing it to act quicker and more effectively5,7. This supports our immune system to help us stay healthy, which is especially relevant these days with our busy and stressful lifestyles.
Kemin Health recently launched BetaVia Complete, a whole cell fermentate sourced from a proprietary strain of algae, Euglena gracilis. Interestingly, Kemin’s BetaVia Complete is more than a beta glucan containing >50% beta-glucans, 15% protein along with vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and fatty acids. Not surprisingly, in a recent clinical study, young healthy active participants reported fewer sick days as well as lower severity of sickness compared to placebo as early as 30 days and sustained through 90 days8. This sustainably sourced, minimally processed, natural ingredient may be the much-needed nutritive boost for our immune system. Along with practicing healthy behaviors everyday such as eating a good diet, exercising, getting adequate and quality sleep, reducing stress and following hygienic practices, supplements containing BetaVia Complete can provide the additional support for our immune system to sustain a healthy life9,10.
References available upon request.