What is Beta Glucanase?
Your fiber-digesting enzyme.
Beta glucanase refers to a group of enzymes that break the bonds which hold beta-glucans together. Beta-glucans are complex carbohydrates made up of many glucose (simple sugar) molecules, which are bound together. By breaking these bonds, smaller molecules are released, making it easier for the gastrointestinal tract to process them.
Beta Glucanase (Enzyme) → Breaks Down → Beta-glucans (Complex carbohydrates that consist of many glucose molecules, which are bound together)
There’s a lot to learn about beta-glucans, but the key is to remember that they are held together by bonds, and glucanase breaks down these bonds. By doing this, glucanase is a serious contender against health issues caused by improper digestion of fibrous foods.
In this article, we’ll discuss how beta-glucans support digestive health, improve fiber assimilation, and limit bacterial overgrowth.
The Beta-Glucan Dilemma
As described in the Journal of Cereal Science, beta-glucans are the main component of plant fiber as well as oats, barley, and bran (the outer coating of grains). This means that these little bond-happy beta-glucans are everywhere in our food supply and can easily make their way into our digestive systems.
But here’s where it gets really complicated! Research has shown that although the consumption of dietary fiber from vegetables, wheat, grains, oats, and other fibrous foods promotes optimal health, the digestive tract cannot break down complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) into the simplest form of carbohydrates (monosaccharides) without enzymatic supplementation.
When beta-glucan fiber is not fully digested, it clumps together in the intestinal tract, which leads to slowed digestion and gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, abdominal cramps, and bloating. Oh my!
Beta-glucans are in:
- Plant fiber
- Yeast (Candida)
Better Beta Digestion
Beta glucanase enhances the digestion of fiber, due to its beta-glucan-degrading ability. When you include beta glucanase in your supplement regimen, fiber from beta-glucans can be more easily broken down, ensuring that it smoothly moves through your digestive tract.
As such, this fiber-digesting enzyme targets common digestive issues you may experience after consuming foods like cereal grains, oats, barley, bran, legumes, rye, and wheat – before they meet you in the bathroom.
But the benefits of beta glucanase don’t stop there! Beta glucanase supplementation also promotes regular bowel movements due to the release of monosaccharides from dietary fiber. This, in turn, improves the ease at which stool is formed and excreted.
In short, beta glucanase breaks down the fiber contained in beta glucans, which are ubiquitous in our food supply, to keep your digestive system functioning in tip-top shape!
Beta glucanase is often added to the ingredients used to make commercial breads and cereals that contain wheat, oats, or barley. Why? It improves the digestibility of these types of foods upon consumption.
Totally Over Bacterial Overgrowth
Did you know that the improper digestion of fiber you consume provides a prime environment for infectious organisms to multiply?
Without extra help from an enzyme, undigested fiber often builds up in the intestines, leading to constipation or bacterial and fungal overgrowth.
According to Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, beta-glucans provide the perfect habitat for various types of bacteria and yeasts (e.g. Candida). This is because beta-glucans primarily compose the slimy biofilm layer where harmful microorganisms can flourish (see our blog on Hemicellulase to find out more about biofilms).
When an overgrowth of bacteria and yeasts in the body occurs, the first step to preventing an actual infection is to begin breaking the bonds between the beta-glucans that make up their cell walls and biofilm.
With beta glucanase supplementation, the fiber (and therefore beta-glucans) you consume is fully processed, which limits the possibility of bacterial and fungal overgrowth. As such, limiting the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms strengthens your body’s natural ability to fight off infections before they get you down.
Get a Bit of Beta Glucanase in Your Diet!
Ready to kick those pesky beta-glucan bonds to the curb? Devigest, our broad-spectrum enzyme blend, includes beta glucanase and eases digestive complaints from many hard-to-digest foods such as gluten, casein, wheat, and lactose.
By including beta glucanase in your supplement regimen, you can look forward to enhanced digestion of grain-based fiber, regular bowel movements, and fewer gastrointestinal problems. Hooray!