Why Are Beta Glucans Important?
Beta glucans or β-Glucans are a group of polysaccharides that naturally exist in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeast, and cereals at varying physiochemical properties. They are believed to have potential health effects on the body as they may reduce the levels of saturated fats in the blood and support heart health. There have also been studies that found β-Glucans have immunomodulatory properties. They can be used in nutraceutical as well as in cosmetic products.
A study during the 1990’s found that beta glucans from yeast have a positive impact on infections in high-risk patients who have undergone surgery. Orally administered yeast β-glucan was found to be capable of lowering the levels of IL-4 and IL-5 cytokines in the body while raising the levels of IL-12. IL-4 and IL-5 cytokines are attributed to the manifestation of allergic rhinitis.
A Good Source of Beta Glucans
On the other hand, β-glucan from cereals (barley, oat, rye, and wheat) was found to induce many physiological effects that are deemed beneficial to health. They are believed to be helpful in the regulation of blood glucose.
Mushroom β-glucan is found in certain species of medically important fungi, especially the Aspergillus and Agaricus species. The Agaricus blazei species, in particular, was found to have cellular health properties. A study conducted by researchers from Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science found that the cultured fruit body of Agaricus blazei promotes cellular health activity based on a study with mice as test subjects.According to this research, mushroom β-glucan is believed to serve as “biological response modifiers.”
Benefits of Beta Glucans
Beta glucans positive health effects is something worth knowing. There are advantages in consuming food products or supplements that contain β-glucans. Absorbed by the body through the intestinal tract, they are soluble dietary fibers that help improve cholesterol levels, support heart health, and promote post-surgery recoveries. However, It is a good idea for pregnant women and those who breastfeed to consult with their healthcare professionals before taking β-glucan dietary supplements.