WGP™ beta-glucan

WGP™ beta-glucan may be the most important discovery in decades for improving our immunity.

I suggest including this beta-glucan supplement on a daily basis for almost everyone.

What is Beta-glucan?

Beta-glucans are simple, highly purified, complex carbohydrates, derived from food grade baker's yeast which provide a safe and extremely effective boost for immunity. (Note WGP contains both beta 1,3 and beta 1,6 glucans, hence the plural is more accurate)


Traditional healers in the East have known about beta-glucans for a long time. They are found in the cells of many of the mushrooms (reishi, shitaki, astragalus) traditionally used in Oriental medicine as immune boosting supplements. Beta-glucans are also found in yeast and grains like wheat and oats. When cooked, grain Beta-glucans produce the thickening in sauces and gravy.

Beta-glucans are complex carbohydrates built of simple sugar molecules, much the same way as is cellulose. When used as a supplement to support immunity, they do not contain any appreciable calories so do not contribute in any way to problems with sugar intake in the case of diabetes. Baker's Yeast

Beta-glucan Description:

In the 80's WGP™ Beta-glucan was patented. It is derived from the highly purified cells of the food, baker's yeast - seen to the right. It has been of extraordinary benefit to many of my patients who, when they take it daily, have experienced a reduction in the number of viral illnesses, an improvement in energy and well-being, and a reduction in Candida problems. It has helped my patients clear up illnesses, both bacterial and viral more rapidly than would have been expected. It can safely and effectively be used at the same time as an antibiotic. It is currently being researched as an adjunct in cancer therapy. During the anthrax scare, the Canadian military tested WGP beta-glucan™ and found it extremely effective in preventing anthrax infections.

How Does WGP beta-glucan™ Work?


The islands of lymph tissue in the small intestine are programmed to look out for yeast and to defend against it. WGP beta-glucan™ fools the immune system into thinking that immunity is in jeopardy thus, waking it up.

When yeast is present in the intestine, the macrophages and neutrophils in the lymph islands become activated to defend against an invasion.

In a usual yeast invasion, whole yeast cells which includes protein, chitin and carbohydrate, are identified by the lymph tissue in the small intestine where special receptors pass the information to macrophages and neutrophils which become much more active. The activated neutrophils rapidly spread though the whole body, greatly enhancing immune capability.

Why is WGP™ Beta-glucan so effective?

WGP beta-glucan™ gives the immune system in the intestine the signal that a yeast invader is coming because it contains the highly purified sugar molecules whose physical shape the receptors are designed to identify as yeast (and thus a likely pathogen).

These receptors recognize and facilitate the uptake of the WGP beta-glucan which is then transported to local macrophages and neutrophils. They in turn activate other local macrophages and neutrophils. Local immune surveillance is thus 'ramped up'.

Part of this activity involves making the white blood cells more able to travel to areas of trouble and rapidly deal with infection. Another benefit is that the 'turned on neutrophils' travel quickly through the body, reaching distant lymph tissue in a matter of minutes and waking it up too.

The body does not tire of this 'wake up' and clinical experience has demonstrated that people can use WGP beta-glucan every day for years without the benefit diminishing.

How to take Beta-glucan

This beta-glucan is usually supplied in 250 mg. or 500 mg. capsules. In order for it to work to support immunity it must be taken on an empty stomach (at least two hours after eating or 1/2 hr. before food).

The reason why it has taken on an empty stomach is because the binding sites in the small intestine (the M receptors see above) which take up beta-glucan can get plugged up by dietary fiber. In order to leave these binding sites open, leaving a space after meals or taking it well ahead of food containing fiber, increases its effectiveness. For children, it can be mixed with a non-fiber food. Sometimes yogurt has been effectively used for this purpose.

One capsule per day is usually enough to give support to most people. In the case of an impending illness, or when illness is already established, up to three may be taken spaced out through the day. More will not be of benefit but will not be harmful. It may safely be taken be people of all ages including children. It may be combined with a non fibre food (like yogurt) or a clear juice. It may be taken concurrently with an antibiotic when it will speed healing. It will not interfere with an antiviral medication. People with severe yeast allergies may be intolerant.

Beta-glucan and Swine Flu

Korean researchers have demonstrated a direct anti-viral effect of beta-glucan against the influenza virus. Scientists exposed two groups of newborn pigs to the swine flu virus....one group of piglets received beta-glucan for three days before being infected with vitamin swine flu, while the other group received only a placebo for three days before infection with live virus. Objective evidence of swine flu infection in the lungs of piglets that had been infected, but not given beta-glucan, was significantly more severe than in the infected animals that had been pretreated with beta-glucan.

Furthermore, pigs that had been pretreated with beta glucan had significantly higher concentration of natural disease-fighting substances, including interferon-gamma, in fluid obtained from the lungs within a week of infection. The researchers concluded that beta-glucan reduced signs of lung disease and the viral replication rate in the test subjects. These findings support the potential application of beta-glucan to prevent or treat influenza virus infection. (pg. 45)
Reference: Life Extension. Winter 2006-2007. Pg's. 45-46

Is it OK to take WGP™ Beta-glucan and other Beta-glucans (reishi etc.)?

WGP™ Beta-glucan should be taken on its own and not with other beta-glucan foods like reishi etc. These foods may however be taken at other times of the day when they may also have the benefit of amplifying the beneficial effect of WGP™ beta-glucan.

WGP™ Beta-glucan and Athletes

December 14, 2009 –

WGP™ Beta-glucan significantly reduced upper respiratory tract infection symptoms in marathon runners while increasing vigor and overall health, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 75 runners (35 men, 40 women) ages 18-53 (mean age 36 years) from the 2007 Carlsbad Marathon in California. During the four-week period following the marathon, subjects consumed WGP Beta-glucan.

WGP™ Beta-glucan is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Clinical research demonstrates that WGP Beta-glucan activates neutrophils, the most abundant immune cell in the body, to more quickly recognize and kill foreign challenges.

Previous published research shows that physical and psychological stress reduces key immune system components, weakening immune defenses and rendering individuals more susceptible to health challenges. “The data demonstrates the ability of WGP Beta-glucan to naturally enhance the body’s immune system, resulting in broad protection from stress-induced health challenges,” said Shawn Talbot, Ph.D., research director for Supplement Watch, Inc., and the study’s principal investigator.

“These health benefits are not limited to elite athletes; average consumers under daily stress can strengthen their immune systems with WGP™ Beta-glucan.”

Study Results: Physical Health

The physical health results demonstrated a significant decrease in upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms at two and four weeks for subjects taking 250 mg of WGP™ Beta-glucan daily. The most common URTI symptoms reported were sore throat, stuffy or runny nose and cough.

Incidence of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms* Placebo Group WGP Beta-glucan Group Week 2 68% 32% Week 4 24% 8% *(P < 0.05) Study Results: Psychological Well-being When asked how the supplement regimen was affecting their overall health, participants consuming 250 mg of WGP™ Beta-glucan daily reported 38% higher scores compared with the placebo group. In addition, the subjects reported significantly better scores on a variety of mood states, including a:

  • 22% increase in vigor **
  • 48% reduction in fatigue
  • 38% reduction in tension
  • 38% reduction in confusion
  • **500 mg WGP Beta-glucan

Mood and Emotional Effects

The study employed a Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire, a validated psychometric test that measures six moods states (vigor, fatigue, tension, confusion, depression and anger) using 65 adjective-based intensity scales. The POMS profile has been used in more than 2,900 health studies. “The marathoners taking WGP™ Beta-glucan experienced fewer symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections so their energy levels and general sense of wellness were higher than the placebo group,” said Talbot. “WGP™ Beta-glucan supports both physical health and a general sense of well-being.”

Recent evidence about the benefits of taking daily WGP Beta-glucan® on stress and viral illnesses

Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech (2010) 21:21-24.

It is scientifically well established that stress can decrease immune function, rendering individuals more susceptible to health challenges.

Previous clinical studies demonstrated that WGP Beta-glucan reduced the severity and duration of upper respiratory tract infection symptoms (URTI) in physically stressed individuals as well as in non-stressed subjects. 

In this double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, 150 people (45 men and 105 women; mean age 39 years, range 18-65 years) with moderate to highly stressful lifestyles consumed WGP Beta-glucan or a placebo each day for four weeks. The study measured both stress-related incidence of URTI symptoms (i.e. nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, cough, fatigue, headache, general malaise and body aches) and psychological well-being, including levels of vigor, tension, mental clarity and fatigue. Follow this link to access the abstract:

Physical Well-Being

After two weeks, 32% of the subjects in the placebo group reported URTI symptoms, compared with only 10% in the group taking 250 mg of WGP Beta-glucan.  At four weeks, 28% of the placebo group reported URTI symptoms, compared with 8% in the group taking WGP Beta-glucan  (p value <0.05). 

Psychological Well-Being

The WGP Beta-glucan group reported a 41% increase in general health when compared with the placebo group over the four-week study period.  In comparison with the placebo group, the WGP Beta-glucan group reported statistically significant increases in vigor and reductions in fatigue (38%), tension (19%) and confusion (15%). (All reported data was p<0.05 vs. placebo.) 

The psychological health assessment was obtained with a Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire, a validated psychometric test that measures six moods states (vigor, fatigue, tension, confusion, depression and anger) using 65 adjective-based intensity scales. The POMS profile has been used in more than 2,900 health studies.

The following article is taken from: J Am Coll Nutr vol. 31 no. 4 295-300

Baker's Yeast Beta-glucan Supplement Reduces Upper Respiratory Symptoms and Improves Mood State in Stressed Women

  1. Julie A. Talbott, MBA

+Author Affiliations

  1. SupplementWatch, Draper, Utah
  1. Address reprint requests to: Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, FACN, SupplementWatch, 648 Rocky Knoll, Draper, UT 84020. E-mail: smtalbott@supplementwatch.com


Objective: Several studies have shown a baker's yeast beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan, extracted from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is effective in reducing the incidence of cold and flu symptoms. This study evaluated the effect of a specific beta-glucan supplement (Wellmune) on upper respiratory tract symptoms and psychological well-being in women with moderate levels of psychological stress.

Methods: Healthy women (38 ± 12 years old) prescreened for moderate levels of psychological stress, self-administered a placebo (n = 38) or 250 mg of Wellmune (n = 39) daily for 12 weeks. We used the Profile of Mood States (POMS) psychological survey to assess changes in mental/physical energy levels (vigor) and overall well-being (global mood state). A quantitative health perception log was used to track upper respiratory symptoms.

Results: Subjects in the Wellmune group reported fewer upper respiratory symptoms compared to placebo (10% vs 29%), better overall well-being (global mood state: 99 ± 19 vs 108 ± 23, p < 0.05), and superior mental/physical energy levels (vigor: 19.9 ± 4.7 vs 15.8 ± 6.3, p < 0.05).

Conclusions: These data show that daily dietary supplementation with Wellmune reduces upper respiratory symptoms and improves mood state in stressed subjects, and thus it may be a useful approach for maintaining immune protection against daily stressors.


About WGP Beta-glucan®

WGP Beta-glucan® is a natural ingredient that is clinically proven to enhance key immune cells that are the body’s first line of defense. WGP™ Beta-glucan activates innate immune cells to more quickly find and kill foreign challenges. WGP™ Beta-glucan is Generally Regarded As Safe under regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is patented, Kosher, Halal, non-allergenic and GMO-free. The ingredient is recipient of an IFT Innovation Award and a Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Research Award.

How to Obtain WGP Betaglucan

The ONLY Betaglucan which has been scientifically tested is produced by Biothera Corp. Wellmune WGP Betaglucan(R). Another product which contains the Biothera product is Immune Health Basics. It is widely available on the internet (for example Amazon).