Sunday, November 30, 2014

Health benefits of dietary glyconutrients

Glyconutrients are plant carbohydrates. These glyconutrients combine with other molecules, proteins and lipids to form glycoforms or glycoconjugates which coat cell surfaces. There are over 200 carbohydrates or sugars found in natural resources, but only 8 are essential to bodily functions (essential saccharides/sugars). Glyconutrients come from plant roots, mushrooms and other foods and can be taken as dietary supplements.  They enhance cell-to-cell communication, modulate immune function and increase the body’s own production of stem cells. Glyconutrients have been described as “the rising star in the world of alternative medicine.”  Glyconutrients help your body heal, repair, regenerate, regulate and protect itself. Most healthy people can generate every other essential saccharide from glucose.
Glyconutrient compounds were abundant in most primitive diets but they are virtually absent from modern western diets rich in refined foods. Only two of the essential sugars, glucose and galactose are common in our diets. The 8 saccharides (sugars) serve as the building blocks for the manufacture of large molecules made of sugars in combination with proteins or lipids. Glycoproteins are molecules made of sugars and proteins; glycolipids are made of sugars and fats. It is common to refer to the sugars of glycoproteins and glycolipids as glycans. Both glycoproteins and glycolipids are found at the extracellular surface of the plasma membrane. In Greek, glycol means ‘sweet’; glyconutrient literally means ‘sweet nutrient.’ Strangely glyconutrients are not sweet, sometimes they are bitter and some are virtually tasteless.


Glycobiology is defined as the study of the structure, biosynthesis and biology of saccharides (sugar chains or glycans) that are widely distributed in nature. Sugars are known chemically as saccharides. Glycans   constitute a major portion of a glycoconjugate. The surfaces of most types of cells are effectively covered with a dense coating of sugars giving rise to the so-called glycocalyx (tiny antennae). These tiny antennae allow the cells to interact and to be able to absorb and process nutrients, hormones and other chemicals.

Essential sugars

There are eight essential saccharides our body needs. They are: glucose, galactose, mannose, fucose, xylose, N-acetyl glucosamine, N-acetyl galactosamine and N-acetyl neuroaminic acid (a sialic acid).
Glucose – is the primary source of energy for all plants and animals and is quickly absorbed into the blood stream. It has been shown to enhance memory, stimulate calcium absorption and enhance cell-to-cell communication.
Galactose – is found in dairy products and human breast milk. Galactose enhances wound healing, cell-to-cell communication and calcium absorption. People who are lactose intolerant may be lacking this essential sugar.
Mannose –is most important of all essential sugars. It forms an integral part of the immune system. Its deficiency can lead to inflammation and disease. The mannose sugar can reduce inflammation even in rheumatoid arthritis. 
Fucose –studies have shown that it may help long term memory, prevent respiratory infections and inhibit tumour growth. The glycoconjugates of fucose are essential to controlling inflammation and enhancing immunity.
Xylose – is important for cell-to-cell communication and also acts as an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent.
N-acetyl glucosamine – is an immune modulator and has anti-viral properties.
N-acetyl galactosamine – it helps in cell-to-cell communication.
N-acetyl neuraminic acid (sialic acid) – is important for brain function particularly for development and learning.N-acetyl neuraminic acid is helpful for clearing brain fog. It is found in breast milk, organic hen’s eggs and whey proteins.

Food sources

Glucose – nearly all ripe fruits and vegetables, honey, grapes, bananas, mangos, cherries, strawberries, cocoa, aloe vera, licorice, garlic, Echinacea, hawthorn and kelp (seaweed).
Galactose – dairy products, fenugreek, kelp(seaweed), apple, apricots, bananas, cherries, berries, peach, pear, kiwi, mangoes, avocado,  broccoli, Brussels’ sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, carrot, cauliflower, celery, potato, eggplant, peas, pumpkin, and spinach.
Mannose – Aloe vera, kelp(seaweed), shiitake mushroom, fenugreek, cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes, turnips, and gooseberries.
Fucose – kelp, sea weed,and brewer’s yeast.
Xylose- kelp, guava, pears, black berries, logan berries, rasp berries, aloe vera, Echinacea, boswelia, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, peas, green beans, cabbage and corn.
N-acetyl glucosamine – shiitake mushroom, shark cartilage, beef cartilage and red algae.
N-acetyl galactosamine – beef cartilage, shark cartilage and red algae.

Herbal sources

Aloe vera – There are more than 240 species of aloe which grows in Africa, the Near East, Asia, Europe, the southern Mediterranean and the Americas. The gel of the Aloe vera leaves contains about 200 health promoting compounds including 20 minerals, 18 amino acids and 12 vitamins. The nutrient gel provides your body with 3 glyconutrients such as glucose, mannose and xylose.The Aloe vera gel reduces inflammation, itching, and pain when topically applied on the skin. The Aloe vera juice which is loaded with phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and amino acids works as an anti-inflammatory agent in the digestive tract and is often used to ease heart burn and constipation.
Mushrooms – edible mushrooms are the richest source of glyconutrients. The health benefits of mushrooms have been known for more than 5000 years. Several varieties of mushrooms offer immunomodulatory, lipid –lowering, anti-tumour and other beneficial or therapeutic health effects without any significant toxicity. Shiitake mushroom is among the foods and herbal medicines in Chinese diet for its ‘anti-aging properties.’ In oriental folk medicine, shiitake mushroom is a food that activates the blood. It is used in the treatments of colds, measles in children, smallpox, bronchial inflammation, stomach-ache, headache, faintness and dropsy (fluid accumulation in tissues).
Shells of crustaceans – one of the essential sugars N-acetyl glucosamine is found in the shell of crustaceans including shrimps, crabs and krill.

Functional role of glycoproteins

Glycoproteins increase natural killer-cell function. These activated killer cells protect the healthy individuals from the effects of toxins and free radicals, which could cause infections and cancer formation. Moreover glycoproteins increase T –cell function and decrease abnormally elevated apoptosis without disturbing the normal balance in the body.

Health benefits

The essential sugars have potent antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic and antitumor effects. They increase the body’s immunity to viruses including those that cause the common colds, influenza, herpes and hepatitis. Glyconutrients seem to play an important role in immune and hormonal function. Glyconutrients are essential in cellular communication and are important for pregnant and lactating women. Several studies have linked a deficiency of glyconutrients to diseases such as diabetes, ADHD, lupus, infertility and cancer. Glyconutrients have a role in lowering triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins or LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and raising high-density lipoproteins or HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol). Glyconutrients have been quite effective in treating disorders associated with an over-active immune system such as allergies and asthma. Glyconutrients may help relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.  Glyconutrients have produced positive effects in children suffering from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Glyconutrients may even inhibit cancerous tumour growth and tumour cell metastasis.
      Intake of glyconutrients  offer healthy functioning of your immune system

No comments:

Post a Comment