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The almond mushroom (Agaricus blazei Murill1)) is the nutritionally important component of APUXAN,

In its homeland, the Brazilian rainforest, the almond mushroom has a long history as a remedy. It was discovered west of São Paulo, but also grows in other moist and warm parts of South America. The inhabitants of the region around the village of Piedade see the almond mushroom as the "cogumelo de Deus" (Mushroom of God) and it is used both as an edible fungus as well as a remedy. Villagers enjoy a long life and hardly suffer any geriatric diseases. In the sixties of the last century, Japanese researcher Takatoshi Furumoto became aware of the almond mushroom. Since then the fungus has been the focus of many research projects and is frequently used in complementary therapies and to boost immunity, especially in Japan.

Its high content of beta-glucans distinguishes the almond mushroom2). Comparative studies have also shown that the cultivation area has a great influence on the composition of the ingredients3).

We examined Agaricus blazei Murill from different areas of origin and selected the place of production which ensures the highest beta-glucan content (see graph below).

Our APUXAN almond mushroom comes exclusively from sustainable sources in Brazil. Regular quality control by Apurano Life Sciences ensures that this original growing location is unencumbered by contaminants (heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides).

In addition to the glucan compounds, the almond mushroom contains more health promoting ingredients. These include proteoglycans and agaritine, where a protective role is attributed in the defence against malignant cells4).

Medicinal mushrooms are good beta-glucan suppliers

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. When choosing the beta glucan source, in addition to pure content of beta-glucans, their branching and of course the general chemical composition of the plant or fungus is also important.

Sources of beta-glucans include oats, barley, yeast and medicinal mushroom. 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, 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 major Dectin-1 receptor of macrophages6).

Yeast contains long-chain beta-1.3-1.6-glucans. The distance between the branches 1.3 to 1.6 are larger than that of 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 distances 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 optimum binding to the Dectin-1 receptor6).

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.

Beta-glucane are a safe immunostimulant

In modern society of developed countries we are now only exposed to a fraction of the pathogens to which our immune system has adapted over the course of evolution. In the evolutionary past, people ingested beta-glucans by a nutrition in harmony with nature but partly contaminated and thus stimulated their immune system. Beta-glucans, as a component of mushrooms and bacteria, are regarded as pathogen-associated structures. That is to say, the immune system recognises beta-glucans as components of pathogens and is activated by them, without symptoms of disease being caused. A nutritional supplement containing beta-glucans is therefore a safe, natural and sensible food supplementation to train the immune system.

Determining factors for the effectiveness of beta-glucans

In the case of beta-glucans, not only the amount is important but more their ability to stimulate the immune system.
The following factors are decisive for the effectiveness of beta glucan products:

  • Particle size
  • Particle count
  • Type of beta-glucan branching

Particle size

The size of the particles determines the resorbability 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 resorbed by the intestinal mucosa must be smaller than 10 microns and, at best, have a size of 0.5 microns (for more details see here).

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.

Particle count

The immune will be better stimulated system, if more beta-glucan particles are available to the phagocytes. The daily dose of APUXAN 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 a very good immune stimulation.

Various products can have depending on the particle size a significantly different number of individual beta glucan particles at an identical beta-glucan concentration. 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 resorbed. Therefore, little immune stimulation can be expected with conventional products.

An example:

Only about 10% of beta-glucan products having an average particle size of 200 microns are resorbed. Beta-glucan products with an average size of 0.35 microns are almost completely resorbed. Thus the phagocytes have nearly 2,000 times more beta-glucan particles available than with the 200 microns product. An unbeatable advantage when it comes to effective immune stimulation.

Type of beta-glucan structure

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).

Why is a continious training of the immune system important?

Among other factors, the current underuse and insufficient training of the immune system is a proven cause of allergies and immune weakening. Just like muscles and the cardiovascular system should be trained regularly to prevent disease, the immune system should also be trained. A healthy and responsive-ready immune system can better ward off disease, shorten the course, or weaken it. We'll show you how to train your immune system properly here.

1) Scientific name: Agaricus subrufescens Peck, but more known as Agaricus blazei Murill.
2) Smiderle, F.R., Ruthes, A.C., van Arkel, J., Chanput, W., Iacomini, M., Wichers, H.J., and Van Griensven, L.J. (2011). Polysaccharides from Agaricus bisporus and Agaricus brasiliensis show similarities in their structures and their immunomodulatory effects on human monocytic THP-1 cells. BMC Complement Altern Med 11, 58.
3) Toledo, R.C.C.C., M. A.; Lima, L. C. O.; de Barros Vilas-Boas, E. V.; Dias E. S. (2013). Measurement of beta-glucan and other nutritional characteristics in distinct strains of Agaricus subrufescens mushrooms. African Journal of Biotechnology 12, 6203-6209.
4) Endo, M., Beppu, H., Akiyama, H., Wakamatsu, K., Ito, S., Kawamoto, Y., Shimpo, K., Sumiya, T., Koike, T., and Matsui, T. (2010). Agaritine purified from Agaricus blazei Murrill exerts anti-tumor activity against leukemic cells. Biochim Biophys Acta 1800, 669-673.
5) 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.
6) 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.
7) Pacheco, P., White, D., and Sulchek, T. (2013). Effects of microparticle size and Fc density on macrophage phagocytosis. PLoS One 8, e60989.
8) Goodridge, H.S., Wolf, A.J., and Underhill, D.M. (2009). Beta-glucan recognition by the innate immune system. Immunol Rev 230, 38-50.