The Science

The Immune System
With beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan



Animals are under constant attack by a threat of invasion by an array of microorganisms that plan to make the body their home and exploit it for food. To prevent the entry of of microorganisms and to destroy microorganisms that have gained access, the body has developed a series of complex and effective defenses. These defenses are both passive and active. 

1. Passive defenses consist of:

a) The skin, which acts as a physical barrier to the entry of toxins and infectious agents.
b) The high acidity of the stomach, which can kill some ingested organisms. 
c) Chemicals, such as lysozyme and the complement system, which can kill bacteria 
            directly. Lysozyme is secreted by many cells and is found in blood and tears; the 
            Complement System is a series of about 30 proteins that can attach to bacteria and 
            disintegrate them. 

2. Active defenses are the real of the Immune System, which plays an important role in maintaining optimal health and longevity and is the body's primary defense against a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other organisms that have gained access to the body as well as cancerous cells.

The Immune System can be separated into two distinct, but related, branches: 
a) Innate Immune System: The granulocyte, monocyte/macrophage cells branch. 
                The granulocytes and monocyte/macrophages form the first line of adaptive immune 
                defense. These cells are recruited into action when they recognize foreign invaders, 
                such as microbes, toxins, tumor cells, etc.
b) Aquired Immune System: The T and B cells branch. T cells and B cells 
        called into action by various specific signals. 

This video represents a macrophage (big eater) eating and destroying viruses.


The first cells to respond to an insult are the neutrophils (a type of ganulocyte) followed closely by the macrophages. If their response is inadequate to fight off the invasion, B cells and T cells are called in to join the battle. The B and T lymphocyte response can be humoral or cell-mediated. In the humoral response, B lymphocytes produce specific molecules (antibodies) that recognize and react to the specific challenge. Antibodies are especially effective to fight bacterial infections. In the cell-mediated response, T lymphocytes recognize foreign organisms as well as cells that have been invaded by viruses or that have transformed to cancerous cells and initiate a cellular response through chemical mediators called cytokines. The cell-mediated response is especially efficient against tumor cells, fungi and viruses.  
The Immune System has been developed to prevent an organism from becoming victim of microbes and toxins that are present in the environment.  Some cells of the Immune System are placed into action as soon as the presence of a foreign agent is perceived; the cells, namely macrophages, granulocytes, and Natural Killer cells, form the "innate defenses".  T and B cells are placed into action only after specific signals are perceived and form the "acquired defenses". 

The Immune System of man and animals is a complex system, which is exquisitely sensitive to respond to many environmental insults.  At the slightest provocation the Immune System begins a series of defensive actions aimed at destroying the offender and repairing any damage that may have occurred.  In most cases the Immune System is very effective in fighting off infecting organisms.  However, in an environment that is highly contaminated with bacteria, viruses and other germs (such as stables), or when the environment is suppressive to the immune system, such as in crowding, by chemicals to diets, by the presence of specific viruses, the Immune System may not be sufficient to defeat the offending organisms.   

Are there any means to increase the ability of the Immune System to combat infections?  Yes!  A substance purified from Baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cereviciae) has been shown by many scientists to be very effective in increasing the ability of the Immune System to fight infections and maintain the organism healthy.  This substance is called beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan.

Beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan activates the Immune System of humans and animals by recognizing and binding to specific receptors on the surface of macrophages, neutrophils and NK cells. The binding of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan to the cell surface receptors of these cells initiates a series of reactions that result in the enhancement of the activity of these cells, specifically these cells will become much more aggressive in the killing of microbes and in the production of factors that are released into the blood stream to recruit other cells of the immune system to combat any foreign substance or organism.  Thus, beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan administered to animals increases resistance to bacterial and viral infections, to radiation damage, and increases the production of red blood cells, platelets and lymphocytes. In addition new studies we have done show that beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan suppresses the inflammatory response.

inAltara has developed a process to purify large quantities of biologically active beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan from yeast.   The beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan has been used in laboratory studies to show that it activates the immune system, and in field trials to show that it is effective in maintaining the health of horses, poultry, cattle, pigs, shrimps as well as humans.