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Inicio Endocrinología y Nutrición Argumentos a favor de la incorporación de los β-D-glucanos a la alimentación
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Vol. 54. Núm. 6.
Páginas 315-324 (Junio 2007)
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Vol. 54. Núm. 6.
Páginas 315-324 (Junio 2007)
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Argumentos a favor de la incorporación de los β-D-glucanos a la alimentación
Arguments in favor of incorporating β-D-glucans in food
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Joaquín Pérez-Guisado??
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pv1peguj@uco.es

Correspondencia: Dr. J. Pérez-Guisado. Departamento de Medicina. Facultad de Medicina. Universidad de Córdoba. Avda. Menéndez Pidal, s/n. 14004 Córdoba. España.
Departamento de Medicina. Facultad de Medicina. Universidad de Córdoba. Córdoba. España
Información del artículo

Los β-glucanos son polisacáridos formados por glucosa o derivados de ésta unidos entre sí mediante enlaces glucosídicos de tipo β, que son los que les confieren su función estructural. Como ejemplo más característico, tenemos la celulosa y como principales fuentes alimenticias de β-glucanos, los vegetales, el salvado de los cereales integrales y hongos como la levadura y las setas. Los β-glucanos tienen importantes efectos en la salud cuando se administran tanto a humanos como a animales, pues mejoran la salud cardiovascular gracias a un descenso del colesterol de las lipoproteínas de baja densidad (cLDL) y de la respuesta glucémica. Además, pueden tener un potente efecto inmunomodulador y muestran efectos radioprotectores, mieloproliferativos, antiinflamatorios y antitumorales y promueven una mayor estimulación del sistema inmunitario innato contra las infecciones. De todos los glucanos conocidos, el que muestra unos mayores efectos inmunomoduladores estimulando la lucha contra las infecciones y los tumores es la forma soluble del (1→3), (1→6)-β-D-glucano de Saccharomyces cerevisiae (levadura de cerveza).

La administración oral de β-D-glucano se tolera bien, permite mantener la palatabilidad de los alimentos y no tiene efectos tóxicos. El peso molecular y el grado y la naturaleza de las ramificaciones parecen ser los principales motivos de sus efectos bioactivos y funcionales. Teniendo en cuenta los saludables efectos de los glucanos, sería recomendable el empleo de alimentos ricos en estas sustancias, como los vegetales, la fibra soluble de los cereales y sobre todo la levadura de cerveza, cuyos glucanos son de los que se ha comunicado mayor número de propiedades.

Palabras clave:
Alimento funcional
Antiinfeccioso
Antitumoral
Fibra
Glucano
Hipolipemiante
Inmunoestimulante
Levadura
Receptores con patrón de reconocimiento
Respuesta glucémica

β-D-glucan belongs to a group of glucose polymers whose monomers are linked by β-glycosidic bonds, which give the glucan its structural function. The best-known example of glucan is cellulose. The main dietary sources of β-glucans are vegetables, cereal fibers, mushroom and fungi such as yeast. β-glucans have important effects on health, both in animals and humans. These polysaccharides improve cardiovascular health by decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and glycemic response. They also exert potent immunomodulatory effects through radioprotective, myeloproliferative, antiinflammatory and antitumoral properties and promote an increased antiinfective state of the innate immune system. Among all the known glucans, the soluble form of (1→3), 0(1→6)-β-D-glucan from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (beer yeast) has been shown to have the greatest immunomodulatory effects, enhancing anti-tumour and anti-infection functions. Oral administration of β-D-glucan is well tolerated, does not impair the palatability of food, and has no toxic effects. Their molecular weight, degree of branching, and nature of the branches are believed to determine their bioactive and functional effects. In view of the healthy effects of glucans, intake of foods rich in these substances can be recommended. Such foods include vegetables, soluble cereal fiber and especially beer yeast, which contains the glucans with the greatest number of beneficial properties reported.

Key words:
Functional food
Anti-infective
Antitumoral
Fiber
Glucan
Hypolypemic
Immunomodulatory
Yeast
Pattern recognition receptor
Glycemic response
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