Beta glucan is a type of soluble fiber found naturally in a variety of food sources, including oats, barley, sorghum, and rye. It’s often found in the cell walls of plants, bacteria, and fungi. This type of fiber is found in foods such as whole grains, mushrooms, seaweeds and algae.
Beta glucan benefits are due to the fact that it’s a soluble and fermentable fiber. Soluble fibers have effects including delaying gastric emptying, slowing glucose absorption, absorbing cholesterol particles and stimulating immune cells in the gut.
Like other types of soluble fiber, beta glucan slows the passage of food as it travels through your intestines.
This increases how long it takes your body to digest food, which can keep you feeling full for longer. Beta glucan also slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This can help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar regulation.
Because certain beta-glucans (e.g., from oats and barley) are soluble fibers, they absorb water throughout the intestinal tract and bulk up stools, helping to promote regularity by improving constipation and diarrhea. Beta-glucans also act as prebiotics, feeding the good bacteria in your gut and helping balance your gut microbiome. In combination with digestive enzymes, beta-glucan has been shown to help improve gas, bloating, and abdominal pain in people with IBS and IBD.