Barley is most commonly used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used for diabetes, obesity, cancer prevention, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.
In manufacturing, barley is used as a food grain, natural sweetener, and as an ingredient for brewing beer and making alcoholic beverages.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Likely Effective for
- Heart disease. Barley products contain high amounts of fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber can be used as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet to prevent heart disease. Research shows that a person must eat at least 3.6 grams of soluble fiber each day to reduce the risk for heart disease.
- High cholesterol. Research shows that taking barley reduces total cholesterol and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The benefit might depend on the amount of barley taken.
Possibly Ineffective for
Insufficient Evidence for
- Stomach cancer. People who eat more fiber such as barley as part of their diet seem to have a lower risk of getting stomach cancer.
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Early research shows that eating food containing germinated barley daily for 4-24 weeks reduces the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Other research shows that taking a specific product (Profermin) containing barley and other ingredients for 8 weeks reduces symptoms of ulcerative colitis and increases the chance of disease remission.
- High blood pressure.
- Stomach upset.
- Boils, when applied to the skin.
- Increasing strength and energy.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if barley is safe. In some people, barley can cause an allergic reaction after it has been applied to the skin. Symptoms may include skin rash and difficulty breathing.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if barley is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity: The gluten in barley can make celiac disease worse. Avoid using barley.
Allergies to cereal grains: Consuming barley might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to other cereal grains, including rye, wheat, oat, corn and rice. An allergic reaction is also possible in people allergic to grass.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with BARLEY
Barley might decrease blood sugar by decreasing the absorption of sugars from food. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking barley with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs) interacts with BARLEY
Barley contains a large amount of fiber. Fiber can decrease how much medicine the body absorbs. Taking barley along with medicine you take by mouth can decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction take barley at least 1 hour after medications you take by mouth.
Be cautious with this combination
- For heart disease: Barley products that contain 3.6 grams of beta-glucan (soluble fiber) daily, as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
- For high cholesterol: 3 grams of barley oil extract, 30 grams of barley bran flour, or up to 6 grams of soluble fiber from barley have been used. In some cases, barley has been added to a National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Step I diet. Pearled barley, or barley flour, flakes, or powder in doses of 3-12 grams daily have also been used.
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