American Journal of Immunology

Promising Effects of Beta-Glucans on Metabolism and on the Immune Responses: Review Article

Viviam de Oliveira Silva, Natália Oliveira de Moura, Larissa Jahnel Rodrigues de Oliveira, Ana Paula Peconick and Luciano José Pereira

DOI : 10.3844/ajisp.2017.62.72

American Journal of Immunology

Volume 13, Issue 1

Pages 62-72

Abstract

A public health issue, Diabetes mellitus, affects millions of people around the globe. Ingestion of foods with a low glycemic index - fiber-rich meals-such as beta-glucans, is increasing as an important alternative for diabetes control. These compounds act reducing parameters such as blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides, by decreasing the absorption of glucose and lipids by enterocytes and eventually promote weight loss. Beta-glucans are also described as immunomodulatory agents by stimulating phagocytosis and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, increasing host resistance to viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections; or production of anti-inflammatory cytokinesto return homeostasis after an immune response. Besides, some studies are also evidencing anti-tumoral activity. Beta-glucans main effect depends on their origin-yeast, plants or bacteria. Reports of collateral effects and/or toxicity associated with the use of beta-glucans are rare, which contribute to consider this compound for inclusion in a range of therapies. This review aims to evaluate the most different effects of beta-glucans in metabolic and immune systems, discussing its advantages and limitations.

Copyright

© 2017 Viviam de Oliveira Silva, Natália Oliveira de Moura, Larissa Jahnel Rodrigues de Oliveira, Ana Paula Peconick and Luciano José Pereira. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.