Medicinal mushrooms are known worldwide to be able to stimulate the immune system through their beta-glucans. A variety of in vitro experiments proves this. However, beta-glucans can only be absorbed in small amounts by the body since they are insoluble in water. A new production technology PuranoTec from a Bavarian start-up company that makes immune-stimulating beta-glucans bioavailable changes this, thus opening up new ways in immunotherapy for medicinal mushrooms.
Beta-glucans are the prime ingredients of medicinal mushrooms and responsible for immunostimulation. Glucans are found in nature as constituents of the cell walls of mushrooms, some plants and bacteria. They are polysaccharides composed of individual glucose units which can be linked differently. Beta-glucans are known as pathogen-associated structures. Without the complete pathogen, they trigger an immune activation but do not cause symptoms of disease.
Sources of beta-glucans include oats, barley, yeast and medicinal mushrooms. Within this context, the strength and type of branching of the glucose units differs between the different organisms.
Beta 1.3-1.6 glucans with short sections between branches are more immunostimulatory
Oats and barley contain beta-1.3-1.4-glucans before, which are known for their cholesterol-lowering effect. However, their immune-stimulating effect is significantly lower than that of beta-1.3-1.6-glucan compounds, since they cannot be recognised by the major Dectin-1 receptor of macrophages (phagocytes).
Yeast contains long-chain beta-1.3-1.6-glucans. The distances between the branches 1.3 to 1.6 are larger than beta-1,3-1,6-glucans that occur in medicinal mushrooms.
Beta-glucan types of different organisms with a schematic structure and description (according to: Volman, JJ (2003). Dietary modulation of immune function by beta-glucans. Dissertation.)
Only medicinal mushrooms contain beta-1.3-1.6-glucans with short sections between 1.3-1.6 branches (see table above). This structure is particularly important for effective immune stimulation and 1.3-1.6 branches must be present on immune cells for optimal binding to the Dectin-1 receptor.
Agaricus blazei Murill contains both a high proportion of the immunostimulatory beta-1.3-1.6-glucans as well as a wide range of other polysaccharide compounds with different branches and molecular sizes. This diversity allows for optimal immune activation by beta-glucan compounds.
Medicinal mushrooms stimulate the innate immune system
Beta-glucans are recognised by special receptors (Dectin-1 and others)and internalised by macrophages (phagocytes). The cells are able to break up the beta-glucans and present the constituents on their surface. By this macrophages activate the formation of other cells of the immune system, which can then protect the body against new pathogens in the blood and lymph system.
Only medicinal mushrooms have the effective beta-1.3-1.6-glucan compounds
Sources of beta-glucans include oats, barley, yeast and medicinal mushrooms. Within this context, the strength and type of branching of the glucose units differ between the different organisms.
Oats and barley contain beta-1.3-1.4-glucans, which are known for their cholesterol-lowering effect5). However, their immune-stimulating effect is significantly lower than that of beta-1.3-1.6-glucan compounds, since they cannot be recognised by the important Dectin-1 receptor of macrophages (phagocytes)6).
Yeast contains long-chain beta-1.3-1.6-glucans. The distances between the branches 1.3 to 1.6 are larger than beta-1.3-1.6-glucans that occur in medicinal mushrooms.
Only medicinal mushrooms contain beta-1.3-1.6-glucans with short sections between 1.3-1.6 branches. This structure is particularly important for effective immune stimulation and 1.3-1.6 branches must be present on immune cells for optimum binding to the Dectin-1 receptor6).
Beta-glucan is insoluble in water and therefore insufficiently absorbable
The disadvantage of beta-glucans, however, is that they are insoluble in water and are thus only poorly absorbed by the human body. This is why in-vitro experiments showed good to very good results but tests on humans or animals have never been able to confirm these very good results.
Medicinal mushrooms can be absorbed by the body if they can overcome the natural barrier of the intestinal mucosa. This can only happen with particles up to 10 microns, but preferably those having a size of 0.5 microns. This was proven in animal experiments. "If conventional medicinal mushrooms products, which are packaged in capsules, are dissolved in a liquid which corresponds to the physiological environment of the small intestine, we have found that about 90% of the particles of medicinal mushrooms products are too large to be absorbed by the small intestine" said Dr. Brand of Apurano Life Sciences Ltd..
HighTech from Bavaria makes medicinal mushrooms bioavailable and increases therefore their immune stimulating effect
Apurano Life Sciences, a start-up company from Bavaria, has recognised the problems of water solubility of beta-glucans and developed PuranoTec. PuranoTec provides heavy water-soluble constituents of plants or mushrooms using a physical method in a form which can be optimally absorbed by the body. Neither chemicals and preservatives or alcohol must be used. With PuranoTec the entire plant or mushrooms body is converted to a liquid form, which is sprayed into the inner cheek and under the tongue by means of an ActiveSpray.
This has several advantages:
- PuranoTec provides the entire plant and mushrooms in a size of less than 0.4 microns, so that the active particles can pass through the oral mucosa and mucosa. The oral mucosa can be a natural barrier by only absorbing particles up to 0.4 microns. The intestinal mucosa only absorbs those up to 10 microns, but preferably particles of 0.5 microns.
- Through the application via the oral mucosa, the liquid plant or mushrooms is directly absorbed by the body and transported to the destination, before it is metabolised by the liver.
- There PuranoTec transfers the entire plant or mushrooms in a liquid form, all components of the plant or mushrooms can be obtained and can thus act synergistically.
According to scientific test results by Apurano the following features of medicinal mushroom products are determining for stimulating the immune system.
- Particle size
- Particle count
- Type of beta-glucan branching
The size of the particles determines the capacity of the product in the body. The oral mucosa only allows the passage of particles that are smaller than 0.4 microns. Particles that are absorbed by the intestinal mucosa must be smaller than 10 microns and, at best, have a size of 0.5 microns.
The size of the particles determines also their internalisation capability by the macrophages of the immune system, once the particles have crossed the barrier of the oral or intestinal mucosa. Phagocytes of the immune system accept particles with a size below 0.5 microns. Particles larger than 4.5 microns are only internalised by 20% compared to the ones smaller than 0.5 microns7). With a particle size of 15-25 microns, phagocytes have reached their limits and can no longer internalise these particles.
The immune system will be better stimulated, if more beta-glucan particles are available to the phagocytes. The daily dose of APUXAN2® contains about 2 trillion beta-glucan particles. This means that theoretically every macrophage in the body has more than 1000 beta glucan particles available. This large range of beta glucan particles ensures very good immune stimulation.
Various products can have with an identical beta-glucan concentration - depending on particle size - a significantly different number of individual beta glucan particles. That is to say, products with significantly larger beta glucan particles contain, at the same concentration, much fewer beta-glucan particles. So the phagocytes have fewer beta glucan particles available and they have more difficulty being internalised. Therefore, little immune stimulation can be expected with conventional products.
Only about 10% of beta-glucan products having an average particle size of 200 microns are absorbed. Beta-glucan products with an average size of 0,3 microns are almost completely absorbed. Thus the phagocytes have nearly 2,000 times more beta-glucan particles available than with the 20 microns product. An unbeatable advantage when it comes to effective immune stimulation.
Only medicinal mushrooms have the short-chain beta-1.3-1.6-glucan compounds that are best suited for immunostimulation. Other beta-glucans are not as effectively bound by the Dectin-1 receptors and therefore the immune system cannot be sufficiently activated8).
The Free State of Bavaria promotes Apurano
Even the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology evaluated Apurano'sPuranoTec method of as particularly innovative and has promoted it since 2014 as part of a research and development project. "With PuranoTec, we have developed a platform technology", says Dr. Brand, CEO of Apurano Life Sciences Ltd., "which allows us to make all poorly water-soluble plant or mushrooms materials optimally absorbable in their entirety. We can potentiate the effects of medicinal plants or mushrooms or enable their effectiveness. This will be also used by researchers from Apurano to develop the drugs of the future".
Meanwhile, Apurano has developed its first product APUXAN2® and will launch it via mail order pharmacies in Germany on 1 September 2016. APUXAN2® is an immune activator from the almond mushroom Agaricus blazeiMurill. "More products will follow in 2017", says Dr. Brand.
Sometimes high-tech must be applied to make the healing power of nature suitable for humans. High Tech from Bavaria.
An ActiveSpray introduces the active ingredients directly into the body
In addition to the PuranoTec production process, Apurano has developed easy to use administration to get the drugs into the body quickly. Since particles of products produced with PuranoTec are smaller than 0.4 microns, they can be very well absorbed by the oral mucosa. Therefore, Apurano provides its products as ActiveSpray.
The Apurano products are natural without preservatives and alcohol, as they are filled and packed in the highest clean room class A. Thus Apurano follows a clear trend and opens its products up to use by children.
The dosage for childern is accordingly less and adapted to the children's weight.
Apurano - High Tech in Life Sciences
Apurano Life Sciences Ltd. was founded in early 2014 and specialises in the development and manufacture of high quality and nutritionally effective dietary supplements. For this, Apurano uses its patent pending production technology PuranoTec that makes the entire medicinal plant or medicinal mushrooms with its water-insoluble constituents as a whole to be optimally absorbable by the body in liquid form. This process does not involve any chemical additives or other solvents.
With the help of an ActiveSpray developed with PuranoTec, medicines or food supplements can be sprayed onto the inner cheek or under the tongue. Due to the special galenics of APUXAN2®, the ingredients are immediately absorbed into the body and thus the immune system can be trained effectively.
For further information please contact:
Apurano Life Sciences Ltd.
Dr. Werner Brand
Tel: +49 8024 46869-01
1) Wang, Q., and Ellis, P.R. (2014). Oat beta-glucan: physico-chemical characteristics in relation to its blood-glucose and cholesterol-lowering properties. Br J Nutr 112 Suppl 2, S4-S13.
2) Adams, E.L., Rice, P.J., Graves, B., Ensley, H.E., Yu, H., Brown, G.D., Gordon, S., Monteiro, M.A., Papp-Szabo, E., Lowman, D.W., et al. (2008). Differential high-affinity interaction of dectin-1 with natural or synthetic glucans is dependent upon primary structure and is influenced by polymer chain length and side-chain branching. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 325, 115-123.