Oats, barley, and certain medicinal mushrooms all contain beta-glucan, a natural substance that's widely available in supplement form. Touted as a natural remedy for a host of health problems (from allergies and asthma to major diseases like diabetes), beta-glucan is also purported to protect against some forms of cancer.
Although there is currently a lack of research on the potential benefits of taking beta-glucan supplements, a number of studies suggest that dietary intake of beta-glucan may help enhance your health. For instance, studies show that the beta-glucan found in oats may help reduce cholesterol levels. There's also some evidence that including beta-glucan-rich foods in your diet may help manage diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels and lowering blood pressure.
In addition, preliminary research in animals indicates that beta-glucan may help strengthen the immune system and fend off colds and flu. And while some laboratory research suggests that beta-glucan may possess anti-cancer properties, it's too soon to recommend beta-glucan for cancer prevention. Read the full article: Beta-Glucan - What You Need to Know.