Montana-Based Science Targeted at Diabetes and Heart Health

BOZEMAN, Mont. (April 29, 2008) – Governor Brian Schweitzer appeared at Montana State University today to celebrate Montana’s scientific contribution to the development of barley varieties that serve as a natural way to help manage diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The Governor congratulated MSU-trained researchers for their development of BGLife™ Barley, a new strain of barley that promotes healthy blood sugar, promotes healthy blood pressure and helps control weight, all conditions associated with diabetes and heart disease. These patented barley varieties are the result of almost 30 years of agricultural research.

“The BGLife™ Barley food products help address a worldwide epidemic that also has a big impact in our state,” said Governor Schweitzer. “This will open new markets for Montana exports.”

The BGLife™ Barley research was based on a natural selection process that focused on a superior nutritional profile and a high concentration of beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is the key to the barley’s ability to lower cholesterol, promote healthy blood sugar levels and help with weight control.

Type 2 diabetes poses one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century. According to the American Diabetes Association, 20.8 million Americans have diabetes; 6.2 million do not know they are afflicted, and 41 million Americans are pre-diabetic.

“I believe that if science has the ability to find a solution, we have the responsibility to provide the solution,” said Ron Ueland, president and general manager of WestBred, LLC, the agricultural research firm that brought the new varieties to development.

Research focusing on barley began in 1978 with the leadership of researchers at Montana State University, Prof. Robert Eslick, Dr. Ken Goering and Drs. Walt and Rosemary Newman. The students of this research legacy went on to develop superior beta-glucan barley strains. BGLife™ Barley was developed by WestBred researchers: Dale Clark, Ph.D; Dan Biggerstaff, Ph.D; Kim Shantz; Christine Fastnaught, Ph.D. and Greg Fox, Ph.D.

“Every tool in the fight against the epidemics of diabetes and obesity should be employed to its fullest,” said Frances Gough, M.D., co-founder and chief medical officer for Sound Health Solutions, a Redmond, Washington based weight and health risk management clinic. Physicians, dietitians and care providers should evangelize an intervention as simple as BGLife Barley, which supports weight loss efforts and enhances glucose and insulin regulation.”

BGLife™ Barley recently signed contracts with Japanese manufacturers to provide barley food products to be used as extenders in rice products. The barley has more than three times as much fiber as rice. “We are just opening up the potential applications in markets worldwide,” said Kevin Hodges, commercial manager of BGLife™ Barley.

More information about the benefits of beta-glucan is available at


WestBred, LLC is a premier research and development company for cereal grains in North America. Headquartered in Butte, Montana, WestBred, LLC is an affiliate of Barkley Ag Enterprises, LLP.

Contact: Kevin Hodges
Phone: 208-317-0077
Email: [email protected]

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