Beta glucan enriched pasta boosts friendly gut bacteria and reduces LDL cholesterol in one two-month study on humans. Researchers hypothesized that beta glucan would encourage the growth of health-promoting bacteria in the digestive system and were happily surprised when participants also improved markers of heart health.
Participants had an increase in beneficial gut bacteria, like Lactobacilli, and a decrease in harmful bacteria, like Enterobacteriaceae. Lactobacilli and other friendly strains contribute to healthy levels of short-chain fatty acids (like 2methylpropanoic, acetic, butyric, and propionic acids), which promote healthy metabolism, blood sugar, and digestion.
The kicker was LDL cholesterol unexpectedly dropped from an average of 107.4 to 93.8 mg/dL in participants. LDL cholesterol is also known as “bad” cholesterol because it can calcify in blood vessels and block blood flow creating a multitude of problems.
“These results highlight the influence of fibres and of the Mediterranean diet on gut microbiota, and indirectly on human health,” said De Angelis of the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy.
How Beta Glucan Works for Your Body
Beta glucans are fiber extracts known for promoting healthy immune systems, cholesterol, insulin and metabolism. Here are three of the ways that beta glucans work:
- Slow digestion and absorption of nutrients, like glucose, which can spike blood sugar if too much hits the blood stream simultaneously.
- Promote use of dietary cholesterol for bile acid synthesis, ensuring thorough digestion and relieving the liver of the need to create more cholesterol.
- Modulate the immune system by binding to receptors on immune cells to promote an appropriate response to invaders.
Just 3 grams a day of beta glucan enriched pasta was enough to make significant improvements in participant’s digestion and heart health. But don’t rush to stores yet. It may be a while before beta glucan enriched pasta hits shelves. Follow up studies are needed before the product can get approved for distribution. However, you can still get all the benefits of beta glucan from other sources like supplements.