Beta-glucan

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Beta-glucan is a fiber that comes from the cell walls of algae, bacteria, fungi, yeast, and plants. It is an edible plant part that is not digested or absorbed by the intestine.
Concentrated beta-glucan from yeast is easier to include in food products, compared to oat or barley beta-glucan. Yeast beta-glucan does not dissolve in water. When purified, it is easier to absorb than natural beta-glucan.
Making healthy changes in the diet may help reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition to reducing fat and cholesterol intake, adding fiber such as beta-glucan, may help lower cholesterol. Usually, several servings a day of these products are needed to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) claim of reducing heart disease risk.
There is strong evidence to support the use of beta-glucan in lowering cholesterol.
Many studies suggest that oat bran diets, barley, and barley products enriched with beta-glucan may improve blood sugar and insulin levels in type 2 diabetics.

Related Terms

1-3,1-6-Beta-glucan, (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan, 1,3-beta-D-glucan, (1,3)-beta-D-glucan, 1,3-beta-glucan, 1,3-beta-glucans, (1-6,1-3)-beta-glucan, 7alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one, amylodextrins, baker's yeast, barley, Barley Balance®, beta glycans, beta-(1-3),(1-6)-D-glucan, beta-1,3/1,6-glucan, beta-1,3-D-glucan, beta-1,3-glucan, beta-1,3-glucans, beta-1-6,1,3-beta-glucan, beta-(1,6) branched beta-(1,3)-glucan, beta-glucan collagen (BGC) matrix, beta-glucanase, beta-glucans, beta-glucosidase, beta-glucuronsidase, beta-glycans, Betafectin®, Biointo, carbossimetyl beta glucan, chitin-glucan, curdlan, curdlan sulfates, d-fraction, G. grandosa, grifolan (GRN), griton-d(r) (GD), Glucagel™, gluco polysaccharide, Imunoglukan®, lentinan, Lentinex®, MacroForce plus IP6, maitake mushroom, Nutrim®-OB, oat beta-glucan, oat fiber, oat fibre, oat gum, OatVantage®, PGG glucan, PGG-glucan, Plantago major L., pleuran, poly-[1-6]-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-[1-3]-beta-D-glucopyranose, poly-[1-6]--D-glucopyranosyl-[1-3]--D-glucopyranose glucan, Poria cocos sclerotium, Primaliv museli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, schizophyllan (SPG), Sparassis crispa, SSG, Wellmune WGP®, WPG®3-6, yeast-derived beta-glucan, yeast extract.
Note: Other Natural Standard bottom lines are available for barley, brewer's yeast, maitake mushroom, oats, Saccharomyces boulardi, salep, and shiitake mushroom.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
High cholesterol (Grade: A)
Many studies have looked at the effects of beta-glucan on cholesterol. Small reductions in levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol have been reported. Few significant changes have been found in levels of triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol.
Allergy (Grade: B)
Evidence suggests that supplementing with beta-glucan may help reduce the number and severity of ragweed allergy symptoms. More high-quality research is needed in this area.
Diabetes (Grade: B)
Whole grains such as beta-glucan have been studied for possible benefit in preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Beta-glucan has been studied for effects on blood sugar control with promising results. Larger high-quality trials are needed before a firm conclusion can be made in this area.
Antioxidant (Grade: C)
Some diseases, such as heart disease, may increase oxidative stress. Oats have been found to have antioxidant benefits. However, a study suggests that beta-glucan may lack an effect on oxidative stress. More research is needed in this area.
Burns (Grade: C)
Early study suggests that a combination treatment containing beta-glucan and collagen may benefit burns. This treatment may reduce pain, promote healing, and improve scar appearance, as well as eliminate painful daily dressing changes and decrease fluid loss. However, conflicting results have been found. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Cancer (Grade: C)
Whole grains such as beta-glucan have been studied for possible benefit in preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Studies have looked at a combination of beta-glucan and anti-tumor monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for cancer treatment. Beta-glucan may help improve quality of life and prolong life when used with chemotherapy in people with stomach cancer. More information is needed on the effects of beta-glucan alone.
Canker sores (Grade: C)
Early evidence suggests that beta-glucan may improve the number, size, duration, and pain in people who with recurrent canker sores. Although promising, high-quality research is needed before any firm conclusions can be made.
Disease diagnosis (Grade: C)
Studies have looked at the use of beta-glucan as a tool to detect fungal infections. However, early research has found conflicting results. More research is needed in this area to support the role of beta-glucan in disease diagnosis.
Gut disorders (Grade: C)
Beta-glucan has been studied for many stomach disorders. Early evidence suggests that beta-glucan improves stomach pain and bloating but lacks an effect on gut bacteria in people who have had surgery to remove growths in the intestines. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
Heart disease (Grade: C)
Whole grains such as beta-glucan have been studied for possible benefit in preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Early evidence suggests that consuming a high fat meal with a beta-glucan-containing cereal or vitamin E may help offset negative effects on heart health. Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure data is also promising. More research is needed in this area.
Heart protection during surgery (Grade: C)
Early study suggests that beta-glucan may help protect the heart during coronary artery bypass surgery. Although promising, more research is needed to confirm this benefit.
High blood pressure (Grade: C)
Whole grains such as beta-glucan have been studied for possible benefit in preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Early research has found conflicting results regarding the effect of beta-glucan on blood pressure. Further study is needed to support the use of beta-glucan for this condition.
Immune stimulant (Grade: C)
Early study suggests that beta-glucan may help reduce exercise-induced immune problems and lower the risk of colds and flu. More research is needed in this area.
Infection (Grade: C)
Beta-glucan has been studied as a tool to help guide treatment for fungal infections. Early research showed that beta-glucan may decrease infection risk in people undergoing stomach surgery but increase side effects. More high-quality research is needed in this area.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (Grade: C)
Early evidence suggests that Biointo, a combination treatment containing beta-glucan, may improve some IBS symptoms. However, further research is needed before firm conclusions can be made.
Skin care (Grade: C)
A combination treatment containing beta-glucan and chitin has been studied for improving skin moisture and appearance. More high-quality research is needed on the effects of beta-glucan alone.
Upper respiratory tract infections (Grade: C)
Beta-glucan has been studied for reducing the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds and flu, with conflicting results. More research is needed in this area.
Weight loss (Grade: D)
Whole grains such as beta-glucan have been studied for possible benefit in preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Early results report that beta-glucan may lack an effect on feelings of fullness, appetite, and food intake, both alone and as part of a combination treatment. More research is needed in this area.