Beta-Glucans: A Hope in the Fight Against Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes and a Key to Healthy Bowels

Beta-glucans are natural compounds that are gaining increasing popularity due to their remarkable health benefits. They not only support the fight against insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia but also play a key role in maintaining gut health. Learn how beta-glucans can transform your health and improve your quality of life. Read on to discover why it’s worth incorporating them into your daily diet!

These plant compounds are typical polysaccharides in the fraction of soluble dietary fiber, which exhibit a range of beneficial health properties. These bioactive substances can be found in certain types of foods such as yeast, algae, and cereal grains, particularly in oat products. While they might sound like terms from biochemistry, they are significantly important for our health, especially in the context of diet and their impact on blood sugar levels. Remember, understanding how beta-glucans affect our body starts with knowing their role in food.

The structure of beta-glucans consists of D-glucopyranose residues linked by β-(1,3-) and β-(1,4-) bonds in the case of barley and oats, and β-(1,3-) and β-(1,6-) bonds in the case of yeast. Differences in structure depending on the source affect their biological activity. These properties determine the ability of beta-glucans to interact with other dietary components and their functions in organisms.

When we consume products containing beta-glucans, such as oatmeal or oat bran, these compounds interact with our bodies in an interesting way. Beta-glucans have the ability to form water-soluble gels, which helps protect the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract from the action of acids and digestive enzymes. They also exhibit prebiotic effects, regulating the microbiota and the content of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These properties contribute to improved gut health and overall body balance. Beta-glucans are also known as immunostimulatory substances. They work by activating leukocytes, particularly macrophages and phagocytic cells, as well as T lymphocytes. These cells play a crucial role in the immune response, enhancing the body’s acquired immunity and its ability to fight infections. One of the most interesting aspects of beta-glucans’ impact on our health is their ability to lower blood cholesterol levels. Studies show that regular consumption of products with beta-glucans, such as oatmeal or oat extracts, can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels (which is harmful to health), thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is because beta-glucans act like sponges, absorbing cholesterol and removing it from the body instead of leaving it in the bloodstream, where it can lead to health problems such as heart disease. Additionally, beta-glucans can reduce insulin resistance and regulate glycemia in people with type 2 diabetes, which is significant in the prevention and treatment of this disease.

Indeed, this connection is even more interesting because beta-glucans help control blood sugar levels, which can affect our overall weight management and metabolic health. Beta-glucans can slow down the absorption of sugars from the digestive tract, causing blood glucose levels to rise more slowly after a meal. This helps prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

Also interesting is the way beta-glucans work in our digestive system. Oat beta-glucans have the ability to surround starch granules, making them less accessible for digestion by enzymes. This can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which is particularly important for diabetics or people predisposed to diabetes.

The conclusions from the research are promising – regular consumption of products containing beta-glucans, such as oatmeal, oat bran, or products enriched with beta-glucans, may contribute to lowering levels of bad cholesterol, controlling blood sugar levels, and improving overall metabolic health. Therefore, it is worth considering incorporating them into your daily diet to enjoy the health benefits.

Gi pasta is precisely such a product enriched with these valuable substances, and although it may resemble traditional durum semolina pasta, it stands out for its health benefits and favorable impact on the glycemic index (GI) value.


Magdalena Makarowska - Clinical Dietitian

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