Dr. Jan Raa is a respected marine microbiologist from Tromsø, Norway who discovered a natural substance that could significantly increase resistance to infections without the harmful use of antibiotics. The immune enhancing substance, called beta-1,3/1,6-glucan, is a molecule that is extracted from the cell wall of baker's yeast.
Though Raa's discovery in 1987 was primarily aimed towards keeping farm salmon healthy, the benefits were so significant that he eventually used his findings to benefit human health. In 1990, Dr. Raa formed the company Biotec/Maximal, now called Biotec Pharmacon, where he initially mass produced beta glucan to be used as an ingredient in salmon feed. After experiencing successful results on himself when using the product to treat his joint pains, his company developed pharmaceutical products containing the ingredient. The product, which is called Immutol, surpasses the effectiveness of products such as echinacea and mushroom extracts.
Raa, who was born on Oct.11, 1939, was a professor at the University of Tromsø from 1972 to 1988. He earned his honorary degree at the same university. He was a director at the Directorate of Fisheries Institute of Nutrition and research director at Fiskeriforskning before developing the company Biotec Pharmacon. In 2010, he was decorated as a Commander of the Order of St. Olav.