Ensuring that your dog has a healthy and strong immune system is an important factor in taking care of your pet. While healthy food, plenty of water, and exercise are great places to start, there is more that can be done to provide your dog with a boosted immune system.
But you don’t want to give just anything to your beloved furry friend without knowing more about it first. Through this article, we will dig a little deeper, so to speak, into the benefits of Beta-Glucan and how it can help ensure the longevity of your dog’s immune system.
Why is Your Dog’s Immune System So Important?
According to Dr. Carlin Colitz, Ph.D., DVM, DACVO, who wrote an article for Animal Wellness Magazine if your dog has a weakened immune system, this can predispose her body to contract infections, cancer, and she may develop the inability to heal herself when injured.
Most of the immune system resides in the gastrointestinal tract, all that passes through, such as food, fluids, and any medications have a direct effect on her immunity. If you want her to have a happy and healthy life, you need to ensure that her immune system is working at peak efficiency.
What is Beta-Glucan?
Before you consider administering this product to your dog, it is important to understand what Beta-Glucan is. As viewed at Better Way Health, Beta-Glucan are polysaccharides, which are essentially polymeric carbohydrate molecules composed of monosaccharides that are bound together, in plain words, glucose or a form of fiber.
Health Line breaks down the different forms of dietary fiber, that of soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is able to be dissolved, particularly in water, while insoluble cannot be dissolved, and therefore it cannot be broken down or absorbed into our bodies. Beta-Glucan, specifically, is a form of soluble fiber.
Where is Beta-Glucan Found?
It is found naturally in the cell walls of cereals, types of mushrooms, yeasts, seaweed, and algae, as referenced in Today’s Dietitian. The largest amount is found in barley, followed by oats. Whether or not the food is cooked, the fiber will still be intact for consumption.
As the polysaccharides come from a variety of natural sources, it is important to keep in mind that not all are created equal. For example, consumption of cereals, such as oats, are more likely to be used in weight control, while other forms of fiber can be consumed to combat cancerous cells.
Not everyone relishes consuming the fiber naturally, whether you or your dog are not a fan of cereals (you follow a grain-free diet) or you or your dog are opposed to eating mushrooms or seaweed, it is available in supplemental form.
Studies on Beta-Glucan
Many of the studies that have been conducted have been primarily performed on animals; Today’s Dietitian goes into great detail of some of the studies and research that have been performed and is worth the read.
Health claims approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) believe that by consuming 3 grams of Beta-Glucans each day can help to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Other studies, according to the article on Today’s Dietitian “have suggested that beta-glucans also may boost the immune system, increase satiety, help regulate blood glucose levels, and decrease the risk of developing some types of cancer.”
How Does Beta-Glucan Work?
Further to the article found on Better Way Health, it teaches us that when Beta-Glucan is ingested it activates the immune cells known as Macrophages. The Macrophages are special because they can target, trap, and eliminate foreign substances that do not belong in the body.
Through the activation of these Macrophages, the immune system becomes more responsive to fighting off foreign entities. Beta-Glucan helps to make the immune system stronger and smarter, ready to handle whatever comes its way.
Health Line describes the process in more detail. As Beta-Glucan is a soluble fiber it has the ability to slow down the food that moves through our, or your dogs, intestines. The slower the food moves, the longer it takes for the body to digest the food passing through.
When digestion of food slows down, so too does the digestion and absorption of sugar. This is helpful for those, including dogs, with diabetes, or high blood sugar, as it helps to keep the blood sugar levels stable. It also takes cholesterol out with it and thusly lowers the cholesterol levels of an individual, or animal.
Is it Safe for Dogs (And Other Pets)?
Certainly, we can hear you asking the question, should I be administering this product to my dog? And according to the experts, the answer is yes. Watch below to see the discussion of Beta-Glucan and its use on animals.
Keep in mind, however, that in some human conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, where the immune system is already overactive, precautions are necessary. It is therefore advisable that you discuss your dog’s conditions with your veterinarian before you decide to give her the supplement.
What Are the Benefits of Beta-Glucan?
Mostly advertised for its benefits to the immune system, it has other beneficial roles as discussed in Today’s Dietitian. It can also aid in lowering insulin resistance and an individual’s blood cholesterol while having an impact on the obesity of an individual or animal.
Since, like humans, dogs can develop cancer and diabetes, see Pet MD to further understand diabetes in dogs, and here to better understand cancer in dogs, adding this dietary soluble fiber to her diet can benefit her quality of life considerably.
But the benefits go further than that, according to Healthy Dog For Life, a dog who consumes Beta-Glucan regularly can expect to be less allergenic, have lower stress, is more resilient, and can fight off infection from microbes, viruses, and bacteria.
Where to Find Beta-Glucan?
First, recall that it does come naturally in food, so if you can get your dog to consume the fiber this way, whether present in the current food your dog eats, or through adding it along to your dog’s wet food, this should be the first way to try it.
If you do choose to give your dog supplements, (which can be easier) make sure the brand that you select comes from a dependable source; discuss it with your veterinarian. (Our supplement has Beta-Glucan for dogs, and can be found here.
How Much Does Your Dog Need?
According to Healthy Dog For Life whether you choose to purchase capsules or another form of the supplement, a smaller dog would require 50 mg while a larger dog can consume 100 mg, daily. That said, always refer to the instructions on the package, as well as discuss the proper amount with your veterinarian.
Now that you know more of the facts about the benefits of Beta-Glucan our hope is that you can walk away from this article feeling completely informed. Remember that our bodies, and that of our dogs, need this soluble fiber to help aid our bodies in being our most efficient.
Before you provide your furry friend with this supplement make sure you do the research and that you recall the following:
- Whether your dog is healthy or is suffering from a weak immune system, cancer, or diabetes, you should consider Beta-Glucan
- Beta-Glucan comes from a variety of natural sources, including cereals, fungi, yeast, and photosynthetic organisms that include algae and seaweed
- Beta-Glucan helps to activate Macrophages and eliminate foreign entities within the body
- You can add to your dog’s diet naturally, but can also find supplements online
- Talk to your veterinarian about the proper amount to give and if you have more questions
If you have any questions, would like to know more, or even want to share with us a story where Beta-Glucan helped your dog, we would love to hear from you. As dog lovers ourselves, we understand the bond formed between a furry friend and a human, we want your dog to have the best health possible.