Four Beta Glucan Benefits for the Whole Body

Four Beta Glucan Benefits for the Whole Body

Any person focused on building a healthier, happier life no doubt understands the value of fiber in the diet. This invaluable nutrient is renowned for its ability to regulate and maintain bowel health. That’s indisputable. What you may not realize is that fiber isn’t a one-size-fits-all substance. It comes in two varieties: water-soluble and water-insoluble. Health experts suggest consuming about 6 to 8 grams of soluble fiber each day. The only question that remains is how to find that fiber.

Enter beta glucan. This soluble fiber and polysaccharide is found in a variety of foods like oats, bran and barley. For those people who don’t see themselves eating boatloads of barley on a consistent basis, beta glucan has proven effective as a supplement. Though beta glucan isn’t the only soluble fiber on the table, there is more than one reason to pay close attention to this nutrient.

The benefits of beta glucan go far beyond injecting more fiber into your diet. Indeed, there’s more to this dietary fiber than meets the eye.

1. Lower cholesterol for heart health

According to the FDA, coronary heart disease (CHD) is one of the most common and most dangerous types of cardiovascular distress in the United States. Millions of people are diagnosed with this painful disease every year, despite the fact that the risks for CHD can be considerably reduced with just a little bit of help.

Experts suggest CHD is caused when an excessive amount of cholesterol—especially harmful LDL-cholesterol—builds up in your body. When this occurs, it can promote infections in your heart muscle and the blood vessels that support its function and lead to pain, shortness of breath and nausea.

Studies have shown that beta glucan can improve your overall heart health and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by lowering the amount of LDL-cholesterol in your system. When beta glucan hits your stomach, it isn’t digested. Instead, it turns into a gel that travels the length of your digestive system, soaking up bad cholesterol as it goes.

2. Beta glucan as an immune booster

New evidence suggests that beta glucan may also contribute to your immune response. These new studies indicate that, when introduced to your body, beta glucan acts as a hard-nosed coach that whips your immune system into shape. Indeed, researchers explained that beta-glucan was able to “train” the body’s immune system to produce a more controlled inflammation response to infection and pinpoint it more rapidly. That discovery could have massive ramifications for people with compromised immune systems, or people suffering from chronic fatigue.

That said, it’s essential to understand that the research being done is preliminary. Though promising, more human trials need to be conducted before one can confirm the positive impacts of beta glucan with absolute certainty.

3. Soluble fiber in the fight against obesity

Across the United States, millions of people struggle with obesity. In 2018, as many as 42 percent of U.S. citizens were considered clinically obese. Obesity can lead to a variety of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, artery disease and cancer. While there is no such thing as a single solution to the obesity issue, evidence indicates that beta glucan could be a potent ally when paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

One study from Japan had a large group of Japanese men and women eat a diet consisting of both white rice and barley. One group had barley enriched with beta glucan, the other had barley with no beta glucan. At the end of the study, those subjects who consumed the diet rich in beta glucan saw a substantial decrease in waist circumference and visceral fat, one of the leading causes of heart disease.

4. Reparative skincare

Though research on the topic is just beginning to take off, there is some research that indicates beta glucan may have some benefits to skin health. For those people afflicted with skin conditions, beta glucan can be taken as a supplement or applied as a balm.

One study returned promising results. Using a cream with beta glucan once daily for six months could provide some relief for the terrible itching and flares associated with eczema. Another study showed that 10 milligrams of beta glucan taken daily could reduce the severity and frequency of canker sores.

There’s so much more to learn

Thanks to emerging research, we know a lot about beta glucan, but what we don’t know is even more important. What’s certain is that beta glucan has a positive outlook as a promising supplement for those who want to optimize their wellness in a simple, meaningful way.

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