For the most part, dietary fiber is pretty bland stuff. It’s indigestible, not very reactive and, when dissolved in water, it's known and prized for its ability to thicken gels without interfering with the chemistry of foods, medication or skin care products.
An exception to its ordinarily inert nature is my all-time favorite source of fiber, a fascinating biochemical called Beta Glucan (BG). Beta Glucan is produced in copious amounts by all plants, bacteria, yeast and fungi. Unlike other forms of fiber, Beta Glucan (a type of cellulose and one of the most common substances in the natural world) reacts quite readily with biological cells. In particular, Beta Glucan reacts with the “macrophages”, one of the most prominent players of the human immune system. In fact, Beta Glucan is, according to Dr. Arcie Mizelle, possibly “the most ubiquitous macrophage activator in nature”.
Technically speaking, Beta Glucan is a long chain of glucose molecules. Pieces of glucose molecules (also known as blood sugar) can transform from a source of quick energy, to an incredibly beneficial health tool, when they’re linked up into a long chain called a “glucan”. (They can also be a source of trouble when the body loses its ability to handle glucose molecules.) Once the little nuggets of glucose are strung together into a biochemical necklace, they can no longer be used for energy or stored as fat. Rather this new “glucan” structure can be arranged into a shape (scientists have dubbed “beta”) that becomes one of nature’s most important medicines in helping strengthen the body’s immune system, lower blood fats and lower cholesterol. It also supports skin health, anti-aging and wound healing.