What is a “functional ingredient?”February 7, 2022
A functional ingredient is a bioactive compound that can be used in the manufacture of functional food products.
Functional ingredients cover a wide range of products that enhance taste, texture and other features. Modified starches, yeasts, dairy products and caseinates, for example, they are used as binding, thickening and texturing agents. Encapsulated flavors, for their part, provide interesting taste enhancements. These functional ingredients are produced in a variety of ways: heat treatment, enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis, emulsification, pressing etc.
Beta-glucans are types of fiber found in the cells of certain types of yeast, algae, bacteria, and fungi. They are also found in certain plants, such as oats and barley. Beta-glucans derived from yeast may aid in cholesterol reduction. They have been proven in studies to reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. However, they do not seem to affect HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. Beta-glucans have been studied in people with certain types of cancer.
Beta-glucans do not seem to directly kill cancer. However, scientists think they may help your immune system better fight tumors and bacteria. Early research suggests that the supplement’s immune-boosting properties might be beneficial to AIDS patients. It may also reduce the risk of infection following surgery or trauma. Supplements containing beta glucan (β-glucans) aid in optimal brain function.
Beta glucan can act as an immune system activator and cell response modifier. The binding of beta glucan to specific receptors can cause a cellular response that’s especially helpful in chemo- and radiotherapy-induced immunosuppression and depleted hematopoiesis, the process through which the body manufactures blood cells. Beta glucan also plays an important role in promoting the activity of lymphocytes, white blood cells known as Th1 and Th2 effectors. Th1 lymphocytes control immunity against intracellular parasites, while Th2 effectors control immunity against extracellular pathogens. Disruptions in the balance of these cells may cause an autoimmune response. Autoimmune responses occur when your immune system attacks healthy cells which can lead to serious problems.
Antitumor and Cancer Response
Extracted or purified β-glucans have been used in clinical cancer treatment. Beta glucan acts as an immunomodulating agent (helps fight disease) through the activation of innate immune cells. This activation sets off adaptive immune cell responses, inhibiting tumor growth and metastasis (when cancer spreads to a different body part from where it started). β-Glucans appear to be effective at enhancing immune function and reducing susceptibility to infection and cancer.
Beta glucan has demonstrated anti-osteoporotic activities in clinical trials. Osteoporotic fractures occur when people have osteoporosis, a disease in which bones are fragile due to low bone mass or deterioration. In order to create more effective treatment options in future clinical trials, a greater knowledge of the processes of β-glucan identification and subsequent immune activation is required.
Each beta glucan source has a different structure determining its biological activity. While there is clinical research supporting the safety, efficacy and benefits of beta glucans, it is crucial to use the right processing methods for extraction. There can be a loss of efficiency if the beta glucan’s structure is broken or altered during the manufacturing process, but the method Wellmune is created is unique, and research shows that Wellmune’s immune-supporting properties are far more effective.
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