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Beta Glucan: You Beta Believe It!

by Carly Neubert, BA, NC February 03, 2021

You better believe beta glucan is advantageous when it comes to your health. Beta glucan is a form of dietary fiber that is strongly linked to improving one’s cholesterol levels and boosting overall heart health. It plays a role in maintaining a healthy and functional gut and can even help when fighting or preventing certain viruses.

Like many dietary fibers, it is also available in supplement form. Beta glucan, like all fiber, is a type of prebiotic. You can think of it as food for the probiotics that are already in your microbiome. If you’re curious as to how it contributes to weight loss, your immune system, where it can be found naturally, as well as some of its reviews as a supplement, you have come to the right place. We have another article detailing some of the general questions regarding beta glucan, so feel free to check that out as well. 

What foods contain beta glucan?

Since beta glucan is a dietary fiber, we ingest it naturally through plant-based foods. Beta glucan specifically is a soluble fiber, meaning it dissolves partially in water, however both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers are available within food sources. The amount and type of fiber present in a certain food varies from type to type, so it is useful to know where, and in what quantities, beta glucan can be found food-wise.

Some foods rich in beta glucan are: oatmeal, barley, shiitake/reishi mushrooms, seaweed, and algae. As I mentioned earlier, it is found in plant-based foods mostly, yet these five foods have been identified as packing the most punch when it comes to the amount of beta glucan present per serving. For example, oatmeal has been found to have 2 grams of beta glucan per cup. Similarly, one cup of cooked pearled barley contains 2.5 grams of this necessary dietary fiber. Though they aren’t nearly as potent as oats and barley, wheat and rye contain beta glucan too.

The table below provides a visual of the various food sources of beta glucan, along with its content (by percentage).

Source: Benison Media

How does beta glucan affect weight loss?

Various studies have classified beta glucan as a support for weight loss for numerous reasons. Firstly, it is known to help lower cholesterol levels, which have been linked to the development of metabolic syndrome in adults. Secondly, it helps with constipation, bowel issues, and fostering a healthy gut, thus it contributes to weight control overall.

Because it is a type of fiber, it may help you feel satisfied, eat less, and lose weight in that regard. Nonetheless, it is crucial to note that there has not been direct evidence that beta glucan causes weight loss directly, rather through the correlations I mentioned above. Likewise, optimal doses of beta glucans (in supplementation) have not been set.

One study listed in the US National Library of Medicine focused on the health benefits of beta glucan in adults with obesity and metabolic syndrome. 

In order to maintain a diet high in beta glucan and promote a healthy gut microbiome, dietitians recommend making oatmeal your go-to breakfast. Adding oats to a classic fruit smoothie is also an easy way to insert some extra beta glucan into a rather simple meal. An ideal beta-glucan-rich lunch could consist of vegetable soup with barley and chopped shiitake mushrooms. When baking, you can also substitute oat flour in place of normal flour to fortify a meal with a little extra beta glucan.

How can beta glucan fight viruses?

Viruses are a concern to many with the changing of the seasons. Luckily, multiple human trials have demonstrated that beta glucans stimulate immune activity against such viruses. Scientifically speaking, beta glucans function by acting on several immune receptors that stimulate immune cell activity overall. This increased immune response is vital when it comes to fighting off foreign species such as bacteria and viruses.

Furthermore, due to the fact that they control cholesterol levels and promote a robust gut, beta glucans prevent and reduce the impact of metabolic disorders and other non-communicable diseases. Because of this, beta glucan is considered to be a useful tool when it comes to supporting your immune system, especially in today’s climate. Here is more information about how it helps to activate your immune system against pandemic viruses.  

In fact, one thought-provoking study by the Annals of Translational Medicine found that mice, when fed with a glucan mixture, experienced reduced effects of influenza virus infection. While various foods contain beta glucans, the best way to get enough to stimulate your immune cells is by taking a supplement.

What are customers saying about beta glucan supplements?

Customer testimonies can often provide us with some insight into the actual functionality and applicability of a product. Let’s take a look at what people are saying about beta glucan. 

“Since I started taking supplement with beta-glucans, I have twice witnessed everybody around me being down with the flu or a strong cold. I was once a bit affected, but not something keeping me home. My product is a "multi," with a whole range of other beneficial substances, but I believe the beta glucans are the reason of why I stayed so untouched when others was quite sick.”

“The only problem I have with this supplement is that it has to be taken on an empty stomach. The only time that happens is when I wake up. That is when I am most forgetful. I have not had a cold or flu since I started taking BG.”

“It seemed that if I was even slightly exposed to a cold or a stomach bug I would become sick with it myself within a week. I felt as if I was constantly sick. I went to the vitamin store and this is what was recommended. I have taken this medication for four(4) months now and have not been sick once, not even when my young children have been ill. I was very hesitant to try beta glucan but I am glad I did. It is working so far.”

"Your explanation of Beta Glucan are excellent! I have been taking this product by the same manufacturing company (A.J. Lannigan) for over 8 years. Just turned 80 and still selling real estate, riding my Harley and working out! Very seldom have colds etc!"


Is beta glucan better than hyaluronic acid? 

Yes, it is. Beta glucan can also be found in topical skin creams. It is used in moisturizers and out-performs hyaluronic acid.  

If, after all, you are still curious about the functional benefits of beta glucan, please read our previous blog. You can buy beta glucan supplements just about anywhere, including Amazon. But, if you are looking for the most potent and studied beta glucan extract, then stick with Transfer Point Beta Glucan. If you’re ready to browse our assortment of beta glucan supplements available, click here. Remember, if you’re wondering how a singular dietary fiber can have all these impacts - you beta believe it!

For a personalized plan for introducing Transfer Point Beta Glucan into your wellness lifestyle, schedule a consultation with me. 

For additional recipes, biohacking tips and lifestyle hacks -- check out my other blog on my coaching site www.cleancoachcarly.com! I post weekly about nutrition and lifestyle topics, all backed by science. Happy Reading!

 

Sources
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-glucan-heart-healthy#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
  2. https://www.betterwayhealth.com/pages/what-is-beta-glucan
  3. https://www.nutraingredients-asia.com/Article/2017/07/25/High-beta-glucan-barley-aids-weight-loss-and-fat-reduction-Japan-RCT#
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236515/
  5. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/beta-glucans-uses-and-risks#1 
  6. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-rich-beta-glucan-10426.html 
  7. https://www.ifm.org/news-insights/functional-medicine-approach-covid-19-additional-research-nutraceuticals-botanicals/#betaglucans

Carly Neubert, BA, NC
Carly Neubert, BA, NC

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