Calm and restore the intestines with fiber

Beta-glucan supplements improve gut permeability, which may benefit patients with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic enteritis.

Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber found particularly in barley and oats, which forms a gel in the presence of water. They are already known for their ability to regulate the peak of blood sugar after eating, as well as to reduce the level of cholesterol by slowing down its absorption in the intestine.

Now, on intestinal permeability that this fiber could have beneficial effects, which would allow patients with Crohn’s disease, but also people who do not have an overt inflammatory disease and yet are there to improve their intestinal health.

Intestinal permeability causes many diseases

Previous studies had already suggested that chronic or acute stress could weaken the intestinal barrier, via mast cell lysis. This phenomenon is the cause of inflammation. When the intestinal barrier weakens, it becomes more permeable. It is suspected that increased intestinal permeability is a factor implicated in various diseases, including obesity.

The researchers would like to determine, through this study, whether beta-glucan can attenuate excessive permeability caused by mast cells in the follicular epithelium (FAE) and villi (VE), in patients with Crohn’s disease or in healthy patients. FAE and VE samples were taken from 8 patients with Crohn’s disease and 9 ‘control’ subjects, to be exposed to a beta-glucan biosimilar from baker’s yeast.

Improve intestinal permeability and reduce inflammation

The results showed that the beta-glucan:

  • reduce the permeability of neighboring cells in both groups,
  • Decreased mast cell lysis and production of tumor necrosis factor alpha, which is associated with the inflammatory state,
  • Reduce the effect of pressure on the intestinal epithelium.

This study opens new avenues for improving gut health with beta-glucan


Ganda Mol J et al. : Dietary β-Glucan-based fiber reduces ileal mast cell hyperpermeability from patients with Crohn’s disease and control subjects with inflammatory bowel disease, 2018; 24 (1): 166–178.

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