Foods, Vol. 11, Pages 57: A Review on the Structure and Anti-Diabetic (Type 2) Functions of β-Glucans

Foods doi: 10.3390/foods11010057

Yujun Wan
Xiaojuan Xu
Robert G. Gilbert
Mitchell A. Sullivan

Type 2 diabetes, a long-term chronic metabolic disease, causes severe and increasing economic and health problems globally. There is growing evidence that β-glucans can function as bioactive macromolecules that help control type 2 diabetes with minimal side effects. However, conflicting conclusions about the antidiabetic activities of β-glucans have been published, potentially resulting from incomplete understanding of their precise structural characteristics. This review aims to increase clarity on the structure–function relationships of β-glucans in treating type 2 diabetes by examining detailed structural and conformational features of naturally derived β-glucans, as well as both chemical and instrumental methods used in their characterization, and their underlying anti-diabetic mechanisms. This may help to uncover additional structure and function relationships and to expand applications of β-glucans.

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