According to a Swedish study, supplementation with β-glucans would have a positive impact on the permeability of the intestine, which could benefit patients with Crohn’s disease.
β-glucans are soluble fibers present in particular in barley and oats, which form a gel in the presence of water. They are already known for their ability to regulate the postprandial glycemic peak, as well as to reduce cholesterol levels by slowing down its intestinal absorption. Now, it is on intestinal permeability that these fibers could exert beneficial effects, which would allow patients with Crohn’s disease, but also people without inflammatory disease to improve their intestinal health.
Intestinal barrier become permeable
Previous studies had already suggested that chronic or acute stress could weaken the intestinal barrier, by degranulating mast cells. This phenomenon is the cause of inflammation. When the intestinal barrier is weakened, it becomes more permeable. An increase in intestinal permeability is thought to be a factor involved in various pathologies, including obesity.
The researchers wish to determine, through this study, whether beta-glucans could attenuate the hyperpermeability induced by mast cells in the follicular epithelium (FAE) and villous (VE), in patients with Crohn’s disease or healthy. They also examined the absorption mechanisms of β-glucans and the impact on mast cells in vitro.
Samples of FAE and VE from 8 patients suffering from Crohn’s disease and 9 “control” subjects were taken, to be exposed to a prebiotic composed of β-glucans from baker’s yeast (S. cerevisiae).
β-glucans: results on intestinal health
The results showed that β-glucans:
- attenuate paracellular hyperpermeability in both groups,
- decrease the degranulation of mast cells and the production of TNF-alpha, linked to the inflammatory state,
- reduce the effect of stress on the intestinal epithelium.
This study opens new perspectives for improving intestinal health with β-glucans.
Ganda Mall J. et al.β-Glucan-Based Dietary Fiber Reduces Mast Cell-Induced Hyperpermeability in Ileum From Patients With Crohn’s Disease and Control Subjects, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 2018; 24(1): 166-178.