Dietary Polysaccharides and Blood Sugar
Polysaccharides, or long chains of carbohydrate molecules that are eventually broken down when we need energy, are essential to our everyday life. When we eat anything, from our favorite fruit to our aunt's famous pie, our body responds to the increase in blood sugar by releasing insulin. Insulin's job is to signal to our muscles, liver, and fat cells to take up glucose, a sugar molecule, and store it for when we need energy later on.
What do you think would happen if this pathway wasn’t working and our bodies didn't have any energy stored for fuel? Or if our blood sugar got too low with no way to bring it back up? Both of these situations can be dangerous, so clearly keeping the insulin pathway working is very important. Usually, our bodies do this on their own, but insulin resistance can develop when our cells don't respond to insulin's signal so they don't uptake glucose and store sugar for when we need it.1 Instead, what happens is the level of glucose in our blood rises causing high blood sugar.
Polysaccharides can help modulate blood sugar levels in many ways. First, they can stimulate the insulin pathway so that more signals get released.2 If the insulin signal were a telephone call, polysaccharides would have the pancreas “call” the cells in our body many times to increase the chance that they hear it and pick up. They also increase the number of cells that “call,” or release insulin, so more calls will be delivered. Additionally, polysaccharides can activate pathways that tell our cells to take up glucose.3 This is similar to walking directly to your friends’ house to tell them to do something instead of trying to call them many times. Both of these methods are very useful in reducing insulin resistance.
Although extremely important, helping to prevent high blood sugar is not the only benefit polysaccharides have. They can also provide antioxidants to protect our cells from damage and reduce inflammation reactions by decreasing the number of inflammatory signals being sent out.4 Even better, there are compounds called dietary polysaccharides, which are found in common foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms that, when added to your diet, can help regulate blood sugar! These compounds, in addition to all the benefits described above, also have been shown to help decrease cholesterol so that your cardiovascular system stays protected.
If you’re looking for easy, natural ways to manage your blood sugar, decrease inflammation, or add antioxidants to your diet, we recommend trying Agaricus Bio. This mushroom supplement contains over 50% polysaccharides —making it a great source of dietary polysaccharides to keep you and your blood sugar levels healthy.