The ability of the human body to quickly recognise and eradicate invading pathogens is essential for controlling infections and preventing infectious disease. Nature has therefore armed the body with a highly efficient defence apparatus: the immune system.
The immune system normally has the upper hand on opportunistic microorganisms; thanks mainly to the evolutionary conserved innate immune defence which fights back more than 99 % of all the microbial threats the body is exposed to every day.
Beta-1,3/1,6- glucan from baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a biological response modifier which through direct interaction with cells of the innate immune system, safely primes the immune system to respond quickly and adequately to infectious challenge. This feature has, over the last 20 years, made beta-1,3/1,6-glucan from baker’s yeast attractive as a dietary supplement and as a functional food ingredient. Here, we explain the current understanding of the mode of action of beta-1,3/1,6-glucan on the immune system.