When we think about taking supplements to boost our health, multi-vitamins, individual vitamins, and minerals come to mind. Beta glucan for skin is a very useful supplement that is not widely known, and just as supplemental vitamins and minerals are extracted from whole food sources, beta glucan for skin is derived from the cell walls of assorted foods, usually mushrooms or yeast.
Typically in capsule form, beta glucan supplements are absorbed by the intestinal tract and used where needed throughout the body. This may seem contrary to any benefit to the skin, but remember that the body functions as a unit, so the health of the body internally is reflected on the skin just as the skin filters out toxins from the body.
As a polysaccharide and fiber, beta glucan’s molecular structure is formed as a strand, with periodic branches along the chain. Formulations of beta glucan for skin are indicated by the point at which the branches occur, such as beta (1,3) (1,4) glucan, or beta (1,3) (1,6) glucan. While we refer to beta (1, 3) D-glucan, the bioactive form most commonly used for high quality supplements, as simply beta glucan, read the supplement labels to be sure of the specific kind of beta glucan that you are taking.
Beta Glucan for Skin Glowing
Skincare is a multibillion dollar industry, promising everything from anti-aging to UV protection to making us beautiful. But glowing skin is so much more than just a cover up. Skin is the largest organ of our body, and it’s involved in hormone exchange, waste, protection, temperature regulation and so much more.
The skin is our first line of defense against attack – a key function in immunity – and a last resort when normal detoxing and elimination fail – erupting in breakouts and rashes. Our skin should be carefully given as much concern as fragile internal organs would receive, not because it is delicate, but because it is important.
Beta glucan for skin is a gentle supplement that can be taken daily as the glowing skin’s ally in the intermixed arrangements of body systems and functions.
My family and I get beta glucan for skin from our dear friends at Better Way Health. We know the owners very well and believe in them, their mission and that their product is one of the purest (if not THE purest) on the market!
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Immune Support For Vibrant, Glowing Beta Glucan for Skin
Every body system is technically intertwined, but the immune system appears to be closely linked to each of the other systems. The immune system does much more than keep us from coming down with the common cold or other disease prevention.
The immune system regulates the way the body responds to stress, and stress is one of the biggest contributors to premature aging and skin problems.
Those little lines and wrinkles that pop up on the forehead are obviously connected to stress, evidenced by the descriptor “worry lines”; but stress is connected to skin diseases as much as aging. A bout of acute stress can be physiologically processed on the skin, breaking out into hives or other unpleasant symptoms. As researchers learn more about the immune system and stress responses, the connection between mental stress and the skin are increasingly clear. (1)
Normal immune response includes white blood cells called macrophages that travel to the site of intrusion or disease in the form of inflammation. When the immune system overreacts, or reacts to a perceived threat – such as stress – it is essentially chasing a ghost, creating uncomfortable and unnecessary inflammation without resolution. Beta glucan for skin helps at this crucial foundational level by helping the immune system to have more efficient responses to illness as well as stress, leading to a decrease in unnecessary inflammation. (2)
Topical treatments for anti-aging and disease have their place, but they often only address the symptoms and not the cause. We are able to protect our skin from the inside out when the effects of stress have been minimized and our immune system is stabilized. (3)
How Antioxidants Protect and Heal the Skin
When we look at the relationship between stress and the skin, we discover oxidative stress. As a medical and pathological term, stress is defined as anything that upsets the homeostasis which is our body’s natural balance.
When the body is off balance, each system works overtime to restore the balance. Stress, then, can be worry about finances or work situations, but it’s also about toxic exposure to cigarette smoke or synthetic chemicals, overexertion in the gym, and poor dietary habits.
Each of these circumstances can start the production of free radicals which are molecules that break free without an electron. To balance back out, they steal from other molecules, making them a free radical that robs from others, until the cell itself becomes unstable and breaks down. Free radicals left unchecked become oxidative stress, which leads to health concerns in the body system in question – skin included. (4)
Oxidative stress can be reduced by substances called antioxidants which are found frequently in richly colored fruits and vegetables – as well as in beta glucan. Antioxidants seek out free radicals in the body and eliminate them, and they also repair the cellular damage that occurred.
For the skin, this equates to both a protective and restorative effect. The quality of your diet, including your intake of antioxidants, can significantly affect your skin health. (5)
As an antioxidant source, beta glucan for skin can supplement the diet to help minimize and repair the damage done by toxins and stress. Nutritionally, a focus on a variety fruits and vegetables and a reliable source of beta glucan can target skin health from a cellular level.
Beta Glucan for Skin Cancer Prevention
According to recent numbers, one in five adults will be diagnosed with some type of skin cancer in their lifetime. The American Academy of Dermatology says that:
More than 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are diagnosed in more than 2 million people in the United States every year.(6)
While each type of skin cancer will show in different ways, the principle is basically the same across the board. Cells begin to go “off course” from their normal function and begin to replicate, creating abnormal tissue. Then abnormal masses, potentially send messengers throughout the body to reproduce in other areas and systems.
The same role that antioxidants play with free radicals, such as scouting and repair, may apply to potentially cancerous cells, as well. Regarding skin health and skin cancer, antioxidants act as a photochemopreventive (preventing cancer from light/sun damage) force against the damage that UV rays do to skin that can lead to cancer. (7)
More than its antioxidant effects, beta glucan may be an even stronger ally against skin cancer. In lab tests, beta glucan has shown antitumor effects, telling the body to stop the process that builds tumors. (8) At an even more basic level, it has shown itself as antimutagenic, which would cause the faulty cells from mutating in the first place! (9)
While we may not have a clearly defined and guaranteed way to prevent cancer, researchers are studying and learning more about cancer prevention and treatment all the time, and we have tools at our disposal, such as beta glucan, that we know have the ability to work with our bodies to give us the best possible chance.
Wound Healing Effects of Beta Glucan
The most dramatic display of the skin’s ability as an organ is the way wounds heal. From scratches to surgical wounds and everything in between, the stages of wound healing are remarkable.
Homeostasis stops bleeding with a clot and white blood cells fill the area, occasionally with visible pus. Fresh skin cells and tissue grow to close the wound, tighter and stronger than it was to begin with.
The better your nutrition is, the better your body will be able to carry out the wound healing process. (10) We see this with diabetes – when a person’s diabetes is out of control or advanced, and the nutrients consumed are not properly metabolized, wounds are slow to heal.
Just as beta glucan pairs with a well rounded diet for antioxidant capabilities, it is a partner in wound healing, as well. It is very important to give the body the fuel it needs to carry healing properties to wounds, and boosting the body’s efforts with a healing supplement like beta glucan is even better.
The reestablishment of skin tissue where the wound occurred is part of the wound healing process. With multiple layers and types of cells, skin is more than what we see. As a wound heals, the layers are rebuilt, including the collagen fibers which are strands that help glowing skin retain its elasticity.
Researchers have found glucan receptors in this part of the skin, which demonstrates that beta glucan can impact the rebuilding of collagen after a wound. (11)
Pure, carefully chosen sources of beta glucan appear to have major effects on this rebuilding process. When researchers in 2011 evaluated the cell regeneration process after a scratch, beta glucan from Transfer Point, the source that we highly recommend, advanced healing substantially, restoring cells and bridging the gap that the scratch had left. (12)
Not Just Any Beta Glucan Skin Treatment
As with anything in the natural health realm, quality is much more important than quantity – beta glucan is no different. In the wound healing study referenced above, Transfer Point’s source was not the only beta glucan tested. Several others were evaluated, as well, yielding little to no result.
Beta glucan is a fiber found in cell walls of plants, which means that there is no single source. Just as we think of snowflakes as unique, though they are all composed of ice crystals, plants are varied and unique while frequently sharing basic composition features. Beta glucan is a shared feature of cell walls in various plants, but the source may determine the effectiveness.
We’ve discussed beta (1,3) d-glucan as the highest bioavailable form – that’s the first thing to look for. Next, is the plant source. Mushrooms, grains, and other plants are beta glucan sources. Transfer Point’s beta glucan, which has tested very well as we have seen, comes from baker’s yeast, the type of beta glucan tested on so-called glucan receptors.
The purity levels of a beta glucan supplement are easily tarnished, and like any supplement, no federal requirements exist for testing or maintenance of a high level of quality. For beta glucan, low purity levels can hinder its effectiveness. (14) This is why it is critical to choose a beta glucan manufacturer that is reputable and also voluntarily shares its strict purity standards.
Topical Support for Beta Glucan Skin Health and Healing
There is no magic bullet in natural health – or life – and that is part of the beauty of wholistic health. We don’t expect to take one supplement, add or eliminate one food, or follow one order and then find our problems solved.
Our body systems do not function in a vacuum and we cannot expect to improve them with singular approaches.
We’ve seen how antioxidants are beneficial for cell and skin health from a nutrient source as well as a supplemental beta glucan source. We can also sooth it with topical antioxidants, as well. (15)
Topical antioxidants are nothing new. Vitamin E formulas have been part of pharmaceutical acne treatments for decades. Researchers are now finding that topical antioxidants may also help to protect and reverse existing photodamage. (16)
By incorporating an antioxidant-rich base oil with nutritive and healing essential oils, we can reinforce the skin from the outside while a healthy diet and beta glucan skin supplementation support it internally.
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