News, April/May 1993, page 5
There are a growing number
of companies using beta glucan (variably labeled 'beta-1,3-glucan' or
'beta-1,6-glucan' or 'yeast extract' or 'yeast cell-wall extract' or
'yeast derivative' or 'Nayad', etc.) in their skin care formulations.
Contrary to the claims of
its critics, beta glucan does penetrate the epidermis. In fact, it is
one of the very few molecules of such size that can penetrate well into
the dermis. How can it do this? Beta glucan is a glucose-type molecule
that travels freely through the network of dendritic cells(e.g.
Langerhans cells and melanocytes) which are present in both the
epidermis and dermis.
This does not mean that beta
glucan is beyond criticism. Ironically, its single tragic flaw has been
completely overlooked by its most vociferous opponents. And all the
competing proponents of beta glucan who claim they have the best product
because it is beta-1,6-glucan instead of beta-1,3-glucan or because
theirs comes from barley instead of yeast, still have nothing but a
marginally effective product because of the 'single tragic flaw.'
The Single Tragic Flaw: Beta
glucan is merely a 'helper molecule in adding 'muscle to your immune
system. Beta glucan is an embarrassingly poor builder of immune response
when used alone in its purest form. All the beneficial effects
attributed to beta glucan when used topically are in reality due to the
master it serves, mannoprotein.
Whereas beta glucan is just
a D-glucose polymer that stimulates immune system response through
anatagonism of the immune cells ('antagonism' is necessary for keeping
immune cells in a heightened state of vigilance against outside
invaders), only mannoprotein will build lasting strength into the immune
system. The two exist together in the yeast cell wall, but
over-purification separates them.
Mannoprotein is a sugar-protein (glycoprotein)
that is linked to beta glucan in yeast and barley cell walls.
Mannoprotein has a hormonal effect and similar growth factor that is
selective for Langerhans (immune) cells. It directly increases the
structural integrity, alertness and number of immune cells. Beta glucan
being only a sugar, energizes while mannoprotein builds. All of the
claims made about beta glucan's long-term effects in the skin can only
be realized by the use of products containing a certifiable (measurable)
mannoprotein/beta glucan complex.