Applied Nutrition Science

The high quality nutrition of Barley+

Barleycontains proteins, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, a range of high quality carbohydrates (including non-starch polysaccharides and resistant starch – i.e.. fibers), 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)).

Overview – The digestion of Barley+ liberates the high quality nutrition of Barley+

The gastrointestinal system processes or digests Barleyand liberates the nutrients intrinsically present, allowing nutrient uptake from the small intestine and nutrient distribution by the circulatory system. Any nutrients that have escaped digestion in the small intestine, including many of the high quality fibers in Barley+, progress to the large intestine where they exert various important health benefits.

Barley+ digestion in the mouth

Barleydigestion commences in mouth with mastication, which increases the surface area of Barley+. Here, under the enzymatic activity of salivary amylase, carbohydrate digestion begins.

Barley+ digestion in the stomach

As Barleyremnants 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.

Barley+ digestion and absorption in the small intestine

n 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 fibers present in Barleyreduce the reabsorption of cholesterol, ultimately reducing blood cholesterol levels. The soluble fibers 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.

Barley+ fiber metabolism and definitions

Dietary fiber is a heterogeneous group of compounds comprising predominately carbohydrates and includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides and lignin (a non-carbohydrate fiber). Although small differences exist around the world in dietary fiber definitions, in Australia fiber is grouped into 3 main fiber type families: 1) resistant starch; 2) soluble fiber; and 3) insoluble fiber. Dietary fiber 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).

Figure 1: The transit of resistant starch, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber through the gastrointestinal tract.

BarleyHigh Fiber Quality The barley in Barleycontains a unique mix of 3 high quality fibers that work together to impart their digestive health benefits. We call fibers working together in this way the ‘BarleyHigh Fiber Quality’ Index, or Hi-FQ.

The resistant starch fibers in Barleyprovide fermentable fiber 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 fibers in Barleycapture nutrients in the viscous gastrointestinal materials, which impedes enzyme access and reduces carbohydrate and sugar digestion and absorption rates. Soluble fibers also increase cholesterol-bound bile acid excretion, which ultimately reduces circulating cholesterol levels. Other good sources of soluble fiber include legumes, oats, some fruits and the flesh of vegetables.

The insoluble fibers 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 fiber 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 fibers include wheat bran, brown rice, wholemeal bread, whole grain cereals and other bran.

The key to the nutrition success of Barleylies in its unique composition of high quality fibers, all working together.

References click to hide

  1. BARLEYmax Joint Venture representing CSIRO and Australian Capital Ventures Ltd The BARLEYmax Better Nutrition Report 2009.
  2. Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Standard 1.1.2 Definitions used throughout the Code. Last accessed 04/06/2017.
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