This review provides an extensive analysis of the health benefits of β-glucans, focusing on obesity and dyslipidemia. The article discusses how β-glucans, derived from various sources like bacteria, fungi, and algae, play significant roles in managing these health conditions.
For obesity management, the review highlights studies where β-glucan consumption led to decreased body weight and body mass index, particularly noting the anti-obesity effects of exopolysaccharides from Kefir grains and the impact of barley β-glucan on reducing obesity-related parameters. Additionally, it points out the effectiveness of the fungal β-glucan botryosphaeran in reducing feed intake and adipose tissue mass in obesity-induced rats.
Regarding dyslipidemia, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, β-glucans are shown to lower cholesterol levels in humans, rats, mice, and hamsters. The review emphasizes the role of β-glucans from cereals like barley, oats, and wheat in reducing postprandial glucose and insulin responses, as well as decreasing plasma total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. For instance, human clinical trials demonstrated significant improvements in lipid profiles with oat bran β-glucan treatment. The review also notes the cholesterol-lowering effects of oat products and suggests potential mechanisms of action, including the modulation of bile acid and cholesterol metabolism and the synthesis of biliary salts in the liver.
The authors underscore the potential of β-glucans in managing obesity and dyslipidemia, thereby contributing to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. It highlights the importance of these natural compounds in dietary interventions and their role in promoting overall health, especially concerning metabolic and cardiovascular functions.
Wouk, J., Dekker, R. F. H., Queiroz, E. A. I. F., & Barbosa-Dekker, A. M. (2021). β-Glucans as a panacea for a healthy heart? Their roles in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 172, 121-133.