Barley+ contains proteins, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, a range of high quality carbohydrates (including non-starch polysaccharides and resistant starch – i.e.. fibres), vitamins (thiamine, niacin and vitamin E), minerals (molybdenum, chromium, manganese, selenium, zinc, magnesium, copper and iron) and antioxidants (these may reduce the impact of damaging compounds such as free radicals (1)).
The gastrointestinal system processes or digests Barley+ and liberates the nutrients intrinsically present, allowing nutrient uptake from the small intestine and nutrient distribution by the circulatory system. The high quality fibres in Barley+ that have escaped digestion in the small intestine, progress to the large intestine where they exert various important health benefits.
Barley+ digestion commences in mouth with mastication, which increases the surface area of Barley+. Here, under the enzymatic activity of salivary amylase, carbohydrate digestion begins.
As Barley+ remnants move into the acidic environment of the stomach, pepsin and hydrochloric acid further the enzymatic digestion by breaking down the proteins into smaller polypeptides. Lingual lipase commences the enzymatic digestion of the healthy fats present in Barley+. The smaller fragments, together with the carbohydrates, intrinsic vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients present, then move into the small intestine for further digestion and then absorption.
In the small intestine, pancreatic proteases and lipases further breakdown the fragmented proteins and fats into smaller peptides and amino acids, monoglycerides and free fatty acids, facilitated by the fat digesting activity of bile released into the small intestine by the gall bladder. Small peptides and amino acids are essentially ready for absorption further along the small intestine. Fatty acids and monoglycerides form into micelles, which are taken up into the epithelial cells. Here, fatty acids and monoglycerides are repacked into triglycerides and with cholesterol, lipoproteins and other lipids formed into chylomicrons. These then get released via the lymph system into the blood.
Importantly, soluble fibres present in Barley+ reduce the reabsorption of cholesterol, ultimately reducing blood cholesterol levels. The soluble fibres also capture nutrients in the viscous gastrointestinal materials, which impedes enzyme access and ultimately reduces carbohydrate and sugar digestion and absorption rates.
Pancreatic amylase and other carbohydrate-digesting enzymes continue the breakdown of digestible carbohydrates, with the liberation of smaller carbohydrate units and then simple sugars. These simple sugars are further hydrolysed by brush border enzymes into their constituent monosaccharide units, which essentially make these ready for absorption.
As Barley+ may be consumed with cow’s milk, it’s notable that in some people, the cow’s milk-derived disaccharide (lactose) may escape complete digestion in the small intestine, with at least some lactose continuing its journey along the gastrointestinal tract to the large intestine. Here, it will undergo fermentation by resident gut bacteria, which may lead to gastrointestinal symptoms in some people: this is commonly referred to as lactose intolerance. In such cases, replacing cow’s milk with a lactose free plant milk substitute, such as Australia’s Own Organic Soy Milk or Australia’s Own Organic Almond Milk may be a good option.
Dietary fibre is a heterogeneous group of compounds comprising predominately carbohydrates and includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides and lignin (a non-carbohydrate fibre). Although small differences exist around the world in dietary fibre definitions, in Australia fibre is grouped into 3 main fibre type families: 1) resistant starch; 2) soluble fibre; and 3) insoluble fibre. Dietary fibre means that fraction of the edible part of plants or their extracts, or synthetic analogues that: (a) is resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestine, usually with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine (Figure 1); and (b) promotes one or more of the following beneficial physiological effects: (i) laxation; (ii) reduction in blood cholesterol; (iii) modulation of blood glucose (2).
Barley+ High Fibre Quality
The barley in Barley+ contains a unique mix of 3 high quality fibres that work together to impart their digestive health benefits. We call fibres working together in this way the ‘The Perfect Fibre Mix’.
The resistant starch fibres in Barley+ provide fermentable fibre for the good butyric acid producing gut bacteria. Butyric acid is an important short chain fatty acid for bowel health. Other good sources of resistant starch include legumes (e.g. chick peas and red kidney beans) firm/light green bananas, cooked and cooled pasta, rice, potatoes and some whole grains.
The soluble fibres in Barley+ capture nutrients in the viscous gastrointestinal materials, which impedes enzyme access and reduces carbohydrate and sugar digestion and absorption rates. Soluble fibres also increase cholesterol-bound bile acid excretion, which ultimately reduces circulating cholesterol levels. Some soluble fibres in Barley+ also exert prebiotics effects, which is good for the beneficial gut bacteria. Other good sources of soluble fibre include legumes, oats, some fruits and the flesh of vegetables.
The insoluble fibres in Barley+ increase faecal mass, stimulate faster colonic transit times and improve regular bowel function and evacuation. This is good for the management of some types of constipation. Another important function of insoluble fibre is that it works together with resistant starch to get the resistant starch to the distal colon, where it is needed. Other good sources of insoluble fibres include wheat bran, brown rice, wholemeal bread, whole grain cereals and other bran.