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Beta glucans improve blood glucose control, insulin resistance, and cholesterol levels
… and have much more beneficial effects. Beta glucan is a glucose polymer with functional and bioactive properties found in the cell walls of cereals (eg, oats, barley), certain types of mushrooms (eg, reishi, shiitake, maitake), yeasts, seaweed, and algae. They are also found in wheat, rye, and sorghum. Medicinal mushrooms are used in traditional Oriental medicine for centuries.
The fermentability of beta glucans and their ability to form highly viscous solutions in the human gut may constitute the basis of their health benefits.
Beta glucans and cholesterol
Researches show that consuming 3 g of beta glucans daily can lower blood cholesterol levels by 5 to 8%! Here you can find described the mechanism: Viscous beta glucan is hypothesized to interact with bile acids and prevent their re-adsorption in the terminal ileum. This results in increased fecal excretion of bile acids thereby increasing the requirement for de novo synthesis of bile acids from cholesterol, a mechanism which lowers systemic LDL cholesterol.
How beta glucans help with glucose intolerance and insuine resistance
Beta glucans reduce the risk of glucose intolerance by slowing glucose absorption after a meal. They are able to form a gel in the intestine system which delays nutrient absorption, slows the delivery of glucose into the bloodstream and reduces the need for insulin. They may stimulate insulin release from the pancreas and alter glycogen breakdown by the liver and therefore affect the glucose metabolism and protect against insulin resistance. Beta glucans from mushrooms have the potential to decrease glycemic response between 17% and 25%.
Beta glucans reduce the risk of obesity
Beta glucans may supress appetite, and significantly increase satiety. This way it heslp with your long-term weight management. The mechanism how it helps is related to several stages in the process of appetite regulation such as taste, gastric emptying, absorption, and fermentation …
Meta-analysis of 22 clinical trials concluded that a 12 g increase in daily fiber intake is associated with a 10% reduction in energy intake and a 1.9 kg reduction in weight during an average study duration of 3.8 months.
Beta glucans boost the immune system
It was found that beta glucans regulate the immune system as they pass through the intestinal tract.and some of them even interact with immune cells and stimulate the immune system directly. Among polysaccharides that act as immunostimulants, beta glucans were found to be the most effective against infectious diseases and cancer.
The role of 1,3 beta glucans from yeast, fungi, mushrooms, and seaweed as biological immunomodulators has been well documented in the past 40 years. Studies show that they can enhance the responsiveness and function of immune cells, stimulating both humoral and cellular immunity. They can enhance the functional activity of macrophages and activate the anti-microbial activity of mononuclear cells and neutrophils.
Example:One study in obese hypercholesterolemic men, consumption of 12 g of yeast beta-(1,3;1,6)-D-glucan over 8 weeks lowered total cholesterol concentrations, and increased HDL-cholesterol levels only 4 weeks after discontinuation of glucan intake!
Where you can find the highest content of beta glucans?
The highest content of beta glucans you can find in barley typically and oats is on the second place.
1,5 cups of cooked oatmeal = 3 g of beta glucans
3 packets of instant oatmeal =3 g of beta glucans
1 cup of cooked pearl barley = 2.5 g of beta glucans
How to supplement beta glucans?
Food processing alters the physical, chemical, and physiologic characteristics of beta glucans. Both molecular weight and extractability are important components of the physiological activity of beta glucan and both can be affected by food processing. Try the supplements containing the beta glucans cerafuly extracted abd processed.