What is oat beta glucan?
Oct 29, 2020

What is oat beta glucan?

Oat beta glucan are water-soluble β-glucans derived from the endosperm of oat kernels known for their dietary contribution as components of soluble fiber. Due to their property to lower cholesterol and potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, oat β-glucans have been assigned a qualified health claim by the European Food Safety Authority and the US Food and Drug Administration.

Oat beta-glucan is a soluble (dissolves in liquid) dietary fiber that is made from oats. Beta-glucan is found naturally in several foods, including oats and barley. People have been growing and eating oats for more than 2,000 years and numerous food products containing oats are available in the US and around the world. Since the late 1980s, oat beta-glucan soluble fiber has been recognised as a beneficial dietary component. Originally, it was most commonly consumed in whole oats, rolled oats and oat bran, but oat beta-glucan is now also available as an additional ingredient for a variety of food products.

Oat beta-glucan is a natural soluble fiber. It is a viscous polysaccharide made up of units of the monosaccharide D-glucose. Oat beta glucan is composed of mixed-linkage polysaccharides.

oat beta-glucan

What is oat beta glucan used for?

Oat beta-glucans are sugars that are found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and plants, such as oats and barley. They are sometimes used as medicine.
Beta-glucans are most commonly used for heart disease and high cholesterol. They are also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses. β-glucans are used as texturing agents in various nutraceutical and cosmetic products, and as soluble fiber supplements.

In manufacturing, beta-glucans are used as a food additive in products such as salad dressings, frozen desserts, sour cream, and cheese spreads.

oat beta glucan benefits

Oat beta glucan benefits

Oat β‐glucans lower cholesterol level and promote heart health. According to scientific research results it has been known to scientists for over 2 decades that β‐glucan (oat β‐glucan) has strong cholesterol and triglyceride lowering properties leading to reduced cardiovascular diseases.

1.Boosts heart health

There’s solid evidence that beta glucan can boost heart health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source has approved a heart-healthy label for foods that have high amounts of beta glucan, based on this evidence. Several studies suggest that beta glucan may lower cholesterol and triglycerides. One found that eating oats with at least 3 g of beta glucan daily reduced bad cholesterol (LDL) levels between 5 and 7 percent.

2.Regulates blood sugar levels

It may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. It may also improve blood sugar control for those who already have diabetes. By helping to regulate blood sugar levels, it could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may help to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Research suggests that beta-glucan isn’t enough to regulate blood sugar levels alone, but it could potentially be used as a complementary method alongside a healthy diet.

3.Stimulates immune system

Researchers believe that beta glucan could have some positive effects on the immune system. However, more research is necessary. Most research to date has been in the form of animal trials. Scientists think beta glucan may be able to stimulate the immune system and help the body fight off disease and infection more effectively. However, the human immune system is complicated and researchers are still learning how it works. It may take some time before we know the exact effects beta glucan has and if it can improve immune system function.

oat beta glucan

4.Improve Gut Health

Beta-glucans form a major part of mushrooms. Used medicinally for thousands of years, mushrooms are still a relatively untapped power in the health world. As a rich source of carbohydrates like beta-glucans, mushrooms are a good choice of prebiotic to help feed the gut. Prebiotics feed the friendly bacteria in the gut. Probiotics can feed off of it to produce a healthy and balanced microbiome.

We already know that a healthy microbiome helps produce the antibodies we need to fight off disease. Research shows that mushrooms act as a prebiotic to stimulate healthy growth of good bacteria in the gut. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to a lot of benefits like a strong immune system, brain health, heart health, good sleep, and improved mood. To boost your beta-glucan intake, try incorporating some reishi or oyster mushrooms into your diet.

5.Decrease Inflammation

It’s thought that beta-glucans can decrease the body’s inflammatory response. Beta-glucans from fungi have been found to exhibit a range of activities including anti-tumor, immune-stimulating, and anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-inflammatory effect comes from beta-glucans' ability to regulate inflammatory markers in the body.

6.May Fight Cancer

Initial research suggests that beta-glucan may help to combat cancer by activating several cancer-fighting cells like natural killer cells and T-cells. Preliminary studies have found that beta-glucan may help to stop the spread of cancer.

Beta-glucans may be able to treat cancer by activating certain immune cells and triggering a defensive response in the body. More research is still needed to find out the precise effect that beta-glucan has on the spread of cancer.

7.Lower Risk of Obesity

In America, more than two in three adults are considered to be overweight or obese. Obesity is a global problem that can have disastrous impacts on health and quality of life. Beta-glucan may help to reduce the risk of obesity.

Research shows that mushroom-derived beta-glucan has been found to prevent obesity in initial studies. One study found that beta-glucan from turkey tail mushrooms could be beneficial in the fight against obesity. The beta-glucan exhibited anti-obesity effects through specific activity in the gut microbiome.

What foods contain oat beta glucan?

Oat beta-glucan can be found in whole oats, whole oat flour, rolled oats, and oatmeal. Oat beta-glucan soluble fiber is also added to beverages (smoothies, yogurt drinks, juice drinks), yogurt, nutrition bars, cereals, pasta, crackers, baked goods, soups, sauces, dressings, and dietary supplements.

One type of fiber that has received much attention lately is beta-glucan, a glucose polymer found in the cell walls of cereals (eg, oats, barley), certain types of mushrooms (eg, reishi, shiitake, maitake), yeasts, seaweed, and algae. A lesser amount is found in wheat, rye, and sorghum.

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