Beta Glucan – Oat Derived

Beta glucan molecules are soluble fiber that comes from multiple sources, including mushrooms, yeast, oats and barley. Beta glucan is actually a group of different molecules of different sizes and different degrees of solubility into the bloodstream.

For example, there is high molecular weight Beta glucan and low molecular weight Beta glucan. There is also (1-3)-D-beta glucan and (1-6)-D-beta glucan. When looking at research done on this nutritional molecule, you’ll see that the effects one gets from one source of Beta glucan may not be the same effects you’ll find from another source of Beta glucan.

Research on oat Beta glucan has almost exclusively been associated with its effectiveness in lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol. More than one study has shown that feeding an individual or animal dietary Beta glucan from an oat source will lower the cholesterol by 9%.

Other studies confirmed that only certain types of people will respond to dietary oat fiber and still others show that cooking the oat-derived Beta glucan markedly decreased the effectiveness of the soluble fiber.

Diabetic research showed lower insulin and blood sugar levels with oat-derived Beta glucan as compared to control subjects. The mechanism of action of this product against high blood sugar was stated as unknown.

Finally, oat-derived Beta glucan seems to increase the amount of bile acids secreted in human test subjects. Bile acids come from the liver and gall bladder and contain a significant amount of cholesterol.

Interestingly, there were no studies looking at oat Beta glucan and things like the immune system or tumor-fighting abilities. Other sources of Beta glucan have numerous articles which speak of these aspects of Beta glucan. In fact, those aspects of oat-derived Beta glucan that were researched could all be explained by Beta glucan acting inside the digestive tract-binding sugar and cholesterol, for example.

It’s conceivable that this is because oat-derived Beta glucan is too big to be absorbed or is of a molecular structure that doesn’t allow for absorption into the body.

This means that systemic effects, like anti-tumor or inflammatory effects, just don’t happen with oat-derived Beta glucan.

The research to show the effectiveness of oat-derived Beta glucan on the immune system or against tumors just doesn’t seem to exist.

While both oat and barley glucan have been approved for the claim that can reduce cholesterol there is no peer-reviewed studies that have shown the beneficial effects of immune system support. Yeast-derived Beta glucan has shown positive results on cholesterol and blood sugar challenged individuals as well as it has proven to be a powerful immune system support material. Yeast-derived Beta glucan is not a treatment for any disease or condition. It is an immunomodulator that has been shown to support immune system function.


  1. Pick ME, et al. “Oat bran concentrate bread products improve long-term control of diabetes: A pilot study.” J Am Diet Assoc . 1996 Dec;96(12):1254-61.
  2. Braaten JT, et al. “Oat beta-glucan reduces blood cholesterol concentration in hypercholesterolemic subjects.” Eur J Clin Nutr . 1994 Jul;48(7):465-74.
  3. Kerckhoffs DA, et al. “Cholesterol-lowering effect of beta-glucan from oat bran in mildly hypercholesterolemic subjects may decrease when beta-glucan is incorporated into bread and cookies.” Am J Clin Nutr . 2003 Aug;78(2):221-7.
  4. Aman P, et al. “Starch and dietary fiber components are excreted and degraded to variable extents in iliostomy subjects consuming mixed diets with wheat- or oat-bran bread.” J Nutr . 1995 Sep;125(9):2341-7.
  5. Chang YJ, et al. “Structural and biological characterization of sulfated-derivatized oat beta-glucan.” J Agric Food Chem . 2006 May 31;54(11):3815-8.
  6. Uusitopa, MI, et al. “A controlled study on the effect of beta-glucan-rich oat bran on serum lipids in hypercholesterolemic subjects: relation to apoliproprotein E phenotype.” J Am Coll Nutr . 1992 Dec;11(6):651-9.
  7. Lia A, et al. “Oat beta-glucan increases bile acid excretion and a fiber rich barley fraction increases cholesterol excretion in ileostomy subjects.” Am J Clin Nutr . 1995 Dec;62(6):1245-51.

~ by 619 on August 5, 2010.

One Response to “Beta Glucan – Oat Derived”

  1. […] Oat – A source of dietary fiber and heart health and has shown beneficial hypocholesterolemic effects. Click here for more information on oat derived glucan. […]

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