What to know about beta-glucans in mushrooms
Mushrooms contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which has been a topic of interest for researchers.
Beta-glucans may help with inflammation responses and support a healthy immune and gastrointestinal system, according to a review by Italian researchers of edible mushrooms and beta-glucans from June 2021. Beta-glucan extracts were often used in the studies, which were mostly animal experiments or in vitro cell systems – beta-glucan studies on humans have been scarce and require more tests on larger groups of people. However, the researchers suggest vitamins and minerals from mushrooms can also support an already-healthy cardiovascular system.
The researchers compared beta-glucan content data for 8 different mushrooms, including Shiitake, Snow Oyster, Yellow Oyster, Pink Oyster, Italian Oyster and King Oyster mushrooms. The stem of the Shiitake mushrooms has the most beta-glucans of the six mushrooms available at JCB Gourmet Mushrooms, with about 21 to 25 beta-glucans per 100 grams of dry matter. The Pink Oyster came second with 21 to 22 beta-glucans.
Initial research has suggested beta-glucans from mushrooms could help activate immune and inflammation responses. It is possible that beta-glucans from mushrooms interact with the immune system to regulate or improve parts of an immune response, according to a review by researchers in Kentucky and Czechia. This may end up helping the immune system protect the body from infections. The researchers argue that glucan is also helpful for immune systems in animals like chickens, pigs, cows, monkeys, rats, guinea pigs, and more.
For the cardiovascular system, one study suggested the Oyster mushroom had some slight effects on metabolism and partly blood pressure, but the authors from Germany noted that there were few subjects studied and flaws with the trials. More research is required to clarify the possible effects and evidence.
Boiling or microwaving mushrooms is supposed to enhance beta-glucan content, according to researchers in Spain. Check out our blog post on cooking methods and their effect on the mushrooms: https://jcbgourmetmushrooms.com/blogs/johns-thoughts/cooking-methods.
Disclaimer: The information about health benefits in this article is for educational purposes only and has not yet been evaluated by Health Canada or the FDA. Mushrooms are not intended to replace any medical treatment.