Important discussions are underway on the fight against serious infections and strategies for developing new anti-infection processes. In the present summary monograph we have pointed to the experience and future potentials in adopting the strategy to stimulate the body’s own innate defense system in a way which parallels early steps in the natural course of an infection. This strategy has been very successful in health management of farm animals, using beta-1,3/1,6-glucan preparations from yeast as prophylactic agent in feeds. Use of beta-1,3/1,6-glucan preparations as a dietary supplement to enhance immunity in humans is a practice that can be justified not only from the overwhelmingly positive results with animals, but also from human studies and a scientific foundation that show that beta-1,3/1,6-glucans:

  • Have molecular structures that are alien to the animal kingdom and therefore are trustworthy “alarm signals” for mobilizing the immune system to counter infections
  • Activate phagocytic cells by a mechanism that has been described in great detail at a molecular and cellular level
  • Cause enhanced protection against virus, bacteria, fungi and parasites by mobilizing innate immunity when administered onto mucous surfaces or as a dietary supplement;
  • Are non-toxic and do not induce antibody production against itself
  • Enhance specific antibody production against vaccine antigens and do not induce tolerance to vaccine antigens
  • Stimulate wound healing and repair of damaged cells
  • Counteract inflammations induced by infections

In addition, beta-1,3/1,6-glucans may be the supplement of choice for modern people living in urban societies to compensate for eventual insufficient or inadequate exposure to microbial challenges, and thereby possibly counteract immune related disorders that are more and more common in these societies.


Abstract 1. A functional description of immunity 2. Activation of innate immunity by microbial products 3. The history of beta-1,3/1,6-glucans 4. Chemistry, properties and manufacture of glucans and beta-1,3/1,6-glucans 5. Mode of action and biological effects 6. Safety 7. Selected pre-clinical "proof-of-concept" studies 8. Description of selected clinical trials 9. Skepticism to beta-1,3/1,6-glucan 10. Conclusion References