Boosting Immunity with Beta Glucan simply with Pakodas and Rotis !
By Prithu Nath
So the Viral Season is back, but then did it ever go away or Politicians thought so with their wishful thinking ?
Immunity within is the best and the only line of defense and time and again I have been Emphasizing on this topic.
We have added Beta Glucan to our Pakoda / Cheela Mix and to our Multigrain Flour. So enjoy your healthy meals without having to add another item to your kitchen Inventory ! Links at the end of this article.
Beta Glucan is also an Immunity Booster that one must incorporate the daily diet. It is simple to incorporate and does loads of good in not only providing Prebiotics, but also helps in boosting Immunity, lowering of blood sugar levels, boosting immunity, helping maintain a healthy body weight, and controlling Blood pressure. Beta-glucan is full of bioactive compounds that play a primary role in functional health.
Where does one get Beta Glucan from ? Well Oats and Barley are rich in Beta Glucan. But Oats has a high GI of 71 which raises blood sugar levels therefore it is not the healthier alternative for Beta Glucan. Other sources of Beta Glucan to name a few are:-
- reishi, maitake and shiitake mushrooms.
Coming to the issue of Barley & how to incorporate Barley in our daily diets without even knowing so is simple and the links can be found at the end of this page:-
How much beta glucan should you take every day?
How does Beta Glucan Work ?
The cholesterol-lowering effect of cereal grains has been associated with the soluble fiber component of dietary fiber. β-Glucan is the major soluble fiber component of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and oat (Avena sativa L.).
Beta-glucans (β-g) are naturally occurring polysaccharide sugars that make up the cell walls of yeast, algae and fungi. More commonly though you’ll find it in cereal foods such as oats and barley.
It is a type of soluble fiber that has the ability to absorb water. It has a viscosity and thickness that can directly influence digestion – It basically keeps you feeling full for long periods of time.
Dietary fiber plays an important role in maintaining digestive health and is typically classified on polymer length as well as solubility.
The main two you need to know about here are insoluble and soluble.
- Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to your stools and delays gut transit time
- Soluble fiber: This type of fiber absorbs water to form a soft and sticky gel similar to wallpaper paste.
Viscous β-glucan is hypothesized to interact with bile acids and prevent their re-adsorption in the terminal ileum. This results in increased fecal excretion of bile acids thereby increasing the requirement for de novo synthesis of bile acids from cholesterol, a mechanism which lowers systemic LDL cholesterol
Because it’s a soluble fiber, beta glucan slows down food transit in the intestines. This means that it takes longer for the body to digest food. Slower digestion means the body doesn’t absorb sugar as quickly, reducing the likelihood of blood sugar spikes and helping keep blood sugar levels stable. Beta glucan is indigestible, so it goes through the whole digestive tract. As it travels through, it can take cholesterol out with it, lowering levels.
Eating more beta-glucans may positively affect your cholesterol levels, especially if your levels are already above normal. High cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States and a scourge around the globe. It’s believed that the enhanced gelling properties of beta-glucan reduces the amount of cholesterol and bile acids (intermediary molecules in cholesterol synthesis process) that your body absorbs.
As a result, your body draws on the pool of circulating cholesterol found in the blood where the liver uses the circulating cholesterol to supplement the Bile Acid in the gut to meet the needs. Decreased uptake from the gut and increased use of blood cholesterol means lower circulating cholesterol levels. The research in favor of beta-glucans for lowering cholesterol is strong—and 3-4 grams per day seems better than 2 for this purpose.
In fact, the evidence is so conclusive to date that the FDA and European Food Safety Authority both approve health claims related to the cholesterol-lowering benefits of Beta Glucan This is based on conclusive and consistent evidence showing a 5-8 percent decrease in cholesterol levels when consuming 3 grams of beta-glucans daily.
For Boosting Immunity
Based on in vitro studies, beta–glucans act on several immune receptors including Dectin-1, complement receptor (CR3) and TLR-2/6 and trigger a group of immune cells including macrophages, neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells and dendritic cells.
Beta-glucans bind to immune cells and helps them fight invading pathogens, inflammation markers and bacteria. This biological response helps to target and then destroy unwanted visitors by gently nudging immune cells into action.
This means that it has both anti-tumor and anti-microbial proprieties making it a potent booster for immune health
For Weight Loss
A high-fiber diet helps curb appetite, which is great for dieters. Foods high in beta-glucans are particularly well-suited for this purpose. The intensified gelling slows digestion while increasing your body’s production of “fullness” hormones.
A systematic review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed over 100 studies looking at the impact a high-fiber meal and diet has on satiety, concluding: “There is evidence that beta-glucan (from oats or barley), lupin kernel fiber, rye bran, whole-grain rye, or a mixed high-fiber diet may decrease appetite more frequently than other fiber types.”
Beta-glucans trigger the release of cholecystokinin, an appetite hormone that sends satiety signals to your brain. As the amount of beta-glucan you eat per meal increases, so does the amount of cholecystokinin released. Additionally, a study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that a meal containing 5 or more grams of beta-glucans reduced food intake by nearly 100 calories per meal compared to a dose of 2.5 grams or less.
Another study found that overweight men who consumed 7 grams per day of beta-glucans for 12 weeks experienced a significant reduction in body mass, waist circumference, and visceral fat compared with those consuming no beta-glucan.
Short-Chain Fatty Acids and Appetite Regulation —
Dietary fibers pass as unaffected through the small intestine, and upon reaching the colon, anaerobic bacteria degrade some dietary fibers via a fermentation process, yielding short-chain fatty acids. The fermentability of soluble fibers by colonic microbiota is greater than that of insoluble fibers. Pectin, resistant starches, gums, and polyfructans (such as inulin) are the most highly fermented substrates. Around 80% of short-chain fatty acids present in the human colonic lumen are in the form of acetate, propionate, and butyrate . About 90% of these short-chain fatty acids are rapidly absorbed in the colon; butyrate is almost entirely used by the colonocytes as their preferred energy substrates  while propionate is primarily removed by the liver . On the other hand, acetate passes more freely into the peripheral circulation . Several functions are attributed to short-chain fatty acids, being recently proposed as key energy homeostasis signaling molecules .
Accumulating evidence has attributed the satiating effects of fermentable carbohydrates to short-chain fatty acids, their major fermentation products . Short-chain fatty acids regulate appetite through several mechanisms. First, short-chain fatty acids have a role in slowing gastrointestinal motility, thus controlling digestion and nutrient absorption and eliciting an anorexigenic effect.
It is clear that β-glucan is an important food component in the modulation of metabolic dysregulations associated with the metabolic syndrome. However, dose, form, molecular weight, and the carrier food of β-glucan shape its effect. The physiological effects of β-glucan are mainly attributed to its physicochemical and structural characteristics interacting with the gastrointestinal tract, as reflected by its ability to generate viscous solutions at low concentrations in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and to undergo fermentation in the colon.
Although the physiological effects of ingested β-glucan are similar to other soluble fibers, its availability and ease of handling leads it to be increasingly incorporated into foods with the purpose of increasing daily fiber consumption.
However, in recent years our knowledge of both cholesterol metabolism and the physiological role of the gut microbiota has increased significantly. It has become clear that diet (including consumption of β-glucans) has the potential to significantly alter the composition of the gut microbiota. In turn studies have shown that the composition of the gut microbiota is a major regulator of both cholesterol and bile acid metabolism in the host. Studies in pigs have shown that β-glucan feeding alters the ability of intestinal cells to reabsorb bile acids and also alters the bile acid profile in the host, suggesting that changes in the microbiota are concomitant with the cholesterol-lowering effect. Other studies have confirmed an apparent “prebiotic” effect whereby the microbiota is altered through consumption of oat β-glucan in a manner that is suggestive of an ability to alter the bile acid metabolizing potential of the gut microbial community. In the absence of studies which precisely analyze the effect of β-glucan consumption on both the microbiota and bile acid profiles we outlined two hypotheses by which cholesterol metabolism may be impacted by gut microbiota-mediated alterations (section Mechanisms by Which β-Glucan May Influence Host Cholesterol Metabolism Through Alterations in BSH Activity of the Microbiome). We propose a microbe-centered model in which microbial bile acid metabolism results in reduced engagement of the host bile acid receptor FXR, stimulating enhanced de novo bile acid synthesis and enhanced TICE. Furthermore, in this review we outline that other microbe-host interactions may contribute to the cholesterol-lowering effects of β-glucan though stimulation of SCFA production, cholesterol degradation or via the effects of microbial EPS.
We have launched a multigrain Flour (Atta) and a multigrain Cheela / Fritters / Pakoda/ Fish fry mix with Barley as one component that provides the beta Glucan Necessary for boosting Immunity and a host of health benefits as mentioned above !