Beta glucans, properties and benefits

Beta glucans, properties and benefits

We speak generically of fibers and it says "eat foods rich in fiber, which are good for you".

Maybe it's time to ask why the ffood ibres they do so well and what are the characteristics that make them so healthy: let's start with beta-glucans.

It is a class of polysaccharides (consisting of D-Glucose units) indigestible or classifiable as dietary fibers e present in foods such as bran, oats, yeast, fungi and algae, but also in the cell walls of the municipality brewer's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).

What properties and benefits do beta-glucans bring to our body?


Beta glucans, properties

Recent research has shown that soluble beta-glucans from oats and barley (1,3 / 1,4) beta-glucans) have a particular functional role: thanks to their structure and due to their physicochemical properties they are capable of forming one at low concentrations viscous solution in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and subsequently come fermented in the colon.

It is precisely these characteristics that confer their main functional properties:

hypocholesterolemics, since they envelop with their viscosity a portion of the fat molecules taken with food, preventing its absorption and facilitating its elimination through the faeces.

hypoglycemic agents since they envelop with their viscosity a portion of the carbohydrate molecules taken with food, preventing its absorption and facilitating its elimination through the faeces.

immunomodulatorie, since the fraction of beta glucans digested in the large intestine, would give rise to molecules with immunomodulating action, moreover beta-glucans would be capable of stimulate the activity of phagocytes, a subclass of white blood cells that has the task of trapping and destroying foreign substances, such as fungi, viruses, parasites and bacteria.


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Beta glucans, benefits

As always, we rely on the advice of science and competent authorities who attest to the health benefits of consuming beta-glucans:

> The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), in a first scientific evaluation in 2009, stated that it is scientifically proven that "regular consumption of beta-glucans helps maintain normal cholesterol concentrations in the blood"; this indication refers to foods “that provide at least 3 grams per day of beta-glucans, whether they are derived from oats, oat flakes, barley, barley flakes, or mixtures of unprocessed or minimally processed beta-glucans, in one or more portions "

> At the end of 2010, EFSA published a new dossier whose message can be summarized as follows: "beta-glucans help reduce blood cholesterol. Reducing blood cholesterol can actually decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease". These benefits refer to a daily intake of at least 3 g of beta-glucans, to be taken with a varied and balanced diet.


Basically, i beta-glucans they have these benefits on our health:

> Reduction of blood cholesterol concentrations

> Improvement of the cholesterol ratio LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol

> Make more gradual absorption of sugars

> Increase in sense of satiety

However, let's pay attention to the use of beta-glucans especially in two particular situations:

> In patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or from other disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, for which the consumption of foods rich in Beta-glucans should take place with caution and with the doctor's consent.

> Recruitment simultaneous with drugs or supplements of vitamins and mineralsi since beta-glucans could reduce intestinal absorption and therefore bioavailability and efficacy.

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