Beta-glucans in the treatment of diabetes and associated cardiovascular risks

Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2008;4(6):1265-72. doi: 10.2147/vhrm.s3803.


Diabetes mellitus is characterized by high blood glucose level with typical manifestations of thirst, polyuria, polydipsia, and weight loss. It is caused by defects in insulin-mediated signal pathways, resulting in decreased glucose transportation from blood into muscle and fat cells. The major risk is vascular injury leading to heart disease, which is accelerated by increased lipid levels and hypertension. Management of diabetes includes: control of blood glucose level and lipids; and reduction of hypertension. Dietary intake of beta-glucans has been shown to reduce all these risk factors to benefit the treatment of diabetes and associated complications. In addition, beta-glucans also promote wound healing and alleviate ischemic heart injury. However, the mechanisms behind the effect of beta-glucans on diabetes and associated complications need to be further studied using pure beta-glucan.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; hyperglycemia; pathogenesis; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Complications / etiology
  • Diabetes Complications / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / drug effects
  • beta-Glucans / therapeutic use*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • beta-Glucans
  • Cholesterol