What is Schizophyllan?

Schizophyllan is an extracellular polysaccharide composed of glucose units derived from the cell wall of the Schizophyllum commune mushroom.  Schizophyllum species are known collectively as the split gill (schizo-) mushrooms.  Schizophyllan is a proven biological defense modifier that nutritionally potentiates the immune response.  This immune activation occurs by schizophyllan's ability to directly target immune cells in the host.  Molecularly speaking, schizophyllan is classified as a 1,3-1,6 beta-glucan.  Structurally speaking, beta-glucans in the 1,3-1,6 conformation (like schizophyllan) provide a better molecular fit, translating into enhanced activation of the immune cascade and a more effective physiological response.

What is a beta glucan?

Beta-glucans are polysaccharides that can be derived from multiple sources including grains and mushrooms.  They are widely recognized for their immune benefits.  Beta-glucans derived from water soluble mushrooms are considered the most effective and are proven in their ability to enhance the immune response.

Safety & Efficacy

Schizophyllan, classified as a beta-glucan, is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US FDA.  Also of note is the safety of schizophyllan exhibited in clinical studies showing no quantifiable adverse reactions.

Schizophyllan in the literature

Schizophyllan activates cell players to increase immune surveillance.  In effect, immunity is primed without the need for antigen recognition.

Scientific research establishes a protective effect for schizophyllan administration against challenge in a number of hosts.  A study reveals that subjects were conferred resistance by both intraperitoneal and oral preparations of schizophyllan (Hotta, 1993).  A follow-up investigation by exposes that oral administration of schizophyllan induces protection evidenced by prolonged survival rates in schizophyllan-treated cohorts (Itoh, 1997).

Additional research suggests the efficacy of 1,3-1,6 beta-glucans like schizophyllan for free-radical scavenging, the binding of heavy metals and toxins, enhanced cell protection, and stabilization of the intestinal microflora (Khoury, 2012).

In reference to topical application, studies show that schizophyllan has a positive impact on skin hydration, improving the overall appearance and condition of the skin.  Schizophyllan also increases collagen production in the skin.  

An independent, dermatologist-conducted study shows an improvement in skin clarity in 63% of patients after daily application for 30 days.

References

Hotta, H., Hagiwara, K., Ito W., Homma M.  Augmentation of protective immune responses against Sendai virus infection by fungal polysaccharide schizophyllan.  Int J Immunopharmacol.  15(1): 55-60 (1993). 

Itoh, W. Augmentation of protective immune responses against viral infection by oral administration of schizophyllan.  Mediators of Inflammation.  6; 267-269 (1997).  

Khoury, e al. Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. J Nutr Metab. 28:851362 (2012).