Health Guide

Beta glucan

What is it?

Beta Glucan is a carbohydrate that can be found in foods, such as mushrooms, oats, barley, and yeast. It is taken as an herbal medicine to prevent and treat cancer, lower cholesterol, treat HIV and diabetes, and to increase immune system function.

Other names for Beta Glucan include: Beta glycan, beta-1,3-glucan, and beta-1,3/1,6-glycan.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have a history of depression, breast cancer, have pheochromocytoma, or ulcers
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Beta Glucan you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Beta Glucan. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Beta Glucan, without talking to your doctor if you are taking:

  • Medicine used to treat pain or swelling: (examples: diclofenac (Cataflam(R), Voltaren(R)); etodolac (Lodine(R)); fenoprofen (Nalfon(R)); flurbiprofen (Ansaid(R)); ibuprofen (Motrin(R)); indomethacin (Indochron E-R(R), Indocin(R)); ketoprofen (Orudis(R), Oruvail(R)); ketorolac (Toradol(R)); meclofenamate (Meclomen(R)); Nabumetone (Relafen(R)); naproxen (Anaprox(R), Naprelan(R), Naprosyn(R)); oxaprozin (Daypro(R)); piroxicam (Feldene(R)); sulindac (Clinoril(R)); tolmetin (Tolectin(R))
  • Medicine used to prevent or treat blood clots, or to treat pain or fever: Aspirin (Bayer(R), Bufferin(R))


  • Before taking Beta Glucan, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

This medicine may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.


1. DerMarderosian A (ed): Beta glycans. In: The Review of Natural Products. Facts and Comparisons Inc, St. Louis, MO, USA; 2000.

2. Takahashi H, Ohno N, Adachi Y et al: Association of immunological disorders in lethal side effect of NSAIDs on B-glucan-administered mice. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 2001; 31(1):1-14.

3. Yoshioka S, Ohno N, Miura T et al: Immunotoxicity of soluble B-glucans induced by indomethacin treatment. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 1998; 21(3):171-179.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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