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Information concerning glyconutrients, glycobiology, glycoproteins, literally fills volumes of textbooks and thousands of medical research articles. Many of these publications are highly technical and difficult for the average person to understand.
Of the four major classes of biomolecules - proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates - carbohydrates are the most complex, and because of this complexity the science of glycobiology has evolved to be a significant research area. The recent focus on glycobiology and in particular glycoforms and glycocongugates and the glyconutrients has been paralleled by the general public's increasing focus on wellness and on taking charge of their own health. Most people are aware of the scientific research that has established diet as an important component of many disease conditions and this has led to the general population paying more and more attention to nutritional intervention.
Our body is doing all it can, with all we give it to stay healthy. This is a tall ask given our nutritional intake - even those of us who eat well.
Scientists have recently discovered a new class of necessary nutrients - certain monosaccharides or carbohydrates that are necessary for maintaining health. These monosaccharides are called glyconutrients and there are 8 glyconutrients essential for each cell in our body to communicate correctly with the next cell or organism.
Science has proven that your body uses glyconutrients to prevent infections and disease, and slow the aging process. The medical literature documents improvement in every major category of disease, including conditions like diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, cancer, autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, candida infections, asthma, menopause, Tat-Sachs disease, urinary infections, upper respiratory infections, stroke, cerebral palsy, organ transplant, depression, muscular dystrophy, failure to thrive in infants, alcoholism, improvement in antioxidant defense, and many more.
The very areas of health that are the biggest challenges to modern medicine are the areas that body seems very capable of improving when given the right tools.
The effectiveness of glyconutrients as the key to proper cellular communication and proper cell function has been established by the world's leading scientists and researchers. This research and the growing realisation amongst doctors and the general public will be the driving determinant for glyconutritionals playing a leading role in the 21st century's emerging wellness industry
Optimal health is a lifetime commitment. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs that mostly treat symptoms, nutritional supplementation acts as prevention as well as increasing the body's ability to heal, repair, regenerate, regulate and protect itself. It therefore requires a lifetime commitment
As we've seen in controlled studies in humans and animals, the saccharides [glyconutrients] in combination with adequate amounts of other key essential nutrients, accelerate healing, improve immune function, slow down ageing, improve memory, lower anxiety without toxic side effects. When health is improved or restored, mind and body shift over to what the Chinese call 'the right side', embracing harmony, healing and 'gong'.
Dr Emil Mondoa,
MD Pediatrician and Scientific Researcher
What are Glyconutrients?
The most important discovery for your immune system in the last 100 years is something called glyconutrients. Science and medicine have long tried to understand the code by which the cells in the body communicate with one another in order for its complex functions to occur. For example, how does your digestive system know which food components to absorb into the blood stream and which to ignore? Or which cells to attack and destroy and which to protect and nurture? That code has now been broken. This role is undertaken by glyconutrients. Researchers proclaim it to be the most important discovery in the history of medicine ..the key to a long, healthy life.
What are glyconutrients? Glyconutrients are plant carbohydrates (monosaccharides). There are over 200 carbohydrates or sugars but only 8 are essential to bodily function. These are:
* N-acetylneuraminic acid (a sialic acid).
These 8 essential glyconutrients combine with other molecules eg proteins and lipids, to form glycoforms or glycoconjugates which coat cell surfaces. When they combine with protein molecules, they form glycoproteins that coat the surface of every cell with a nucleus in the human body. When glyconutrients bind with lipids (fats) they form glycolipids which also adhere to the cell surface.
Glyconutrients are the key to effective cellular communication and proper cell function. This has been established by the world's leading scientists and researchers.
Glyconutrients are not vitamins, minerals, amino acids or enzymes, but are in a class of their own as nutritional supplements derived from plants. Glyconutritional supplements are formulated based on new understanding in the biochemistry of how the human body maintains health at the cellular level. Healthy cells lead to healthy tissue - healthy tissue leads to healthy organs - and healthy organs lead to healthy bodies.
Every cell in our body - all 600 trillion of them - needs glyconutrients.
Despite the relatively recent discovery of glyconutrients and their functions, medical doctors and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of their importance in treating underlying causes of disease and in maintaining good health. As good as allopathic medicine is, it simply has NO answer to the increasing incidence of auto-immune diseases, cancers and degenerative diseases in Western societies. Glyconutrients will soon become a part of standard care by medical practitioners for all auto-immune diseases, cancers, and degenerative diseases. A glyconutritional approach gets at the root cause rather than treating only the symptoms.
Glyconutrients are however only part of what is necessary to a healthy body. Other important scientific discoveries of the past century highlight the importance of a range of other dietary or lifestyle factors including vitamins, minerals, fibre, water, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, antioxidants, and exercise.
Why do we need glyconutrient supplements?
In our diet today, the eight essential glyconutrients are often missing. Most diets today contain only two of the eight glucose and galactose. Glucose is supplied from such food sources a wheat, rice, and sugar cane. Glucose and galactose are supplied through the breakdown of lactose from dairy sources.
If we are deficient in the 8 essential sugars, the cells will eventually lack the communication system necessary to maintain good health.
Why are our diets deficient in glyconutrients? The so-called fresh fruits and vegetables we buy today have few glyconutrients (or nutritional value at all) because they are often grown in nutrient-deficient soil, picked before they ripen naturally, gassed, irradiated, artificially ripened, stored for days, weeks, or months, cooked, frozen, canned, processed, refined, pasteurised, genetically engineered, etc. Cooking and processing deplete glyconutrients further.
Glycobiology has also found that beneficial bacteria in the colon breakdown polysaccharides to monosaccharides (glyconutrients). But the bacterial content of modern people is different from our ancestors and so this process is less efficient.
Green harvesting allows long distance transport and allows fruit and vegetables to be stored for lengthy periods, but most of the essential glyconutrients are found only in food that is ripened on the vine/tree and they remain in the fruit or vegetable for only 48 hours after picking.
Consider the tomato:
* Green harvesting loses up to 25% of its nutrients
* Transporting loses up to 25% of its remaining nutrients
* Storage loses up to 50% of its remaining nutrients
* Canning loses up to 83% of its remaining nutrients
* Cooking loses up to 50% of its remaining nutrients.
This leaves the tomato with 2.39% of it original nutrient content.
At the same time that our food has been reducing in nutrients, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic degenerative disease have been increasing alarmingly and have been occurring in younger age groups.
A growing mountain of evidence shows that all these diseases are caused by a single dietary deficiency: glyconutrients that are missing from our diet.
A dietary deficiency cannot be corrected with drugs or anything else, other than the missing nutrients.
Amongst the missing nutrients in our food today are the antioxidants which help to control free radicals and support our body to deal with environmental toxins. Learn more about toxins and free radicals.
Being proactive and taking control of our wellness by seeking to ensure that our body has the essential ingredients for optimal health is at the centre of the wellness vs sickness debate.
How do glyconutrients work?
Glyconutrients are sugar molecules. 'Glyco' means sweet and so they are 'sweet nutrients'. The sugar molecules often form sugar chains known as glycans, and these chains of glyconutrients then bind with protein molecules on protein strands to form glycoproteins. The process of forming glycoproteins is called glycosylation.
Cellular communication is literally the single most important concept in nutrition, and when we support this communication process we are empowering every single cell and every single part of the body to function the way it is supposed to.
Glycoproteins have many functions in human cells eg:
Proteins in fertilisation
Cell adhesion molecules
Source: Dr Robert Murray
There are many different glycoproteins formed when sugar chains and protein chains bind together. The function of the glycoprotein chain will be dependent on the arrangement of the 8 essential glyconutrients on the sugar chain, and the arrangement of the protein molecules on the protein chain. There are many glycoproteins and there are many functions.
Some of the processes involving glycoproteins:
* blood clotting
* peptic ulcers
* AIDS (HIV)
* cystic fibrosis
Inflammation is caused when white blood cells come outside the small blood vessels and attack bacteria in the tissue. Glycoproteins are instrumental in this process. Glyconutrient supplementation can increase the body's ability to attack and kill bacteria in tissue.
The HIV virus binds to 2 proteins via 2 glycoproteins in its envelope. Glyconutritional supplementation may prevent attachment.
The adhesion molecules in between cancer cells are glycoproteins and when these weaken the cancer cells are released to travel to other parts of the body ie the cancer is able to metastasize.
Who needs glyconutrients?
Whether we are suffering from a medical condition or not, our bodies need glyconutrients to function.
From the scientific research evidence it is clear that if our body is suffering from an auto-immune disorder or degenerative condition it can benefit from glyconutrients, notably the eight essential glyconutrients. These glyconutrients help our body to exercise its incredible ability to heal, repair, regenerate, regulate and protect itself just by giving it the raw materials it is already pre-programmed to use.
And the evidence is also clear that by the same processes, the eight necessary glyconutrients are essential to maintaining a healthy body in optimal wellness. If we were getting the essential glyconutrients in our diet in sufficient quantities, we would not need supplementation, but unfortunately current agricultural practices, leave our foods with few of the eight essentials.
The bottom line is: If we are alive and have cells, we need the eight essential glyconutrients; mannose, galactose, glucose, fucose, xylose, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine, and N-acetylneuraminic acid.
Some glyconutrients supplements can be found in health food shops or through product distributors. Some products contain only a particular glyconturient eg glucosamine which is useful for joint conditions - damage and inflammation - whilst other products contain more of the glyconutrients. The greater the number of the eight essential glyconutrients you can supply your body the less work it will have to do in trying to make the missing ones.
Look for glyconutrients supplements that are high quality and contain as many of the 'essential eight' as possible at adequate levels. It is also important to ensure that products contain standardised and stabilised glyconutrients, made from plant sources.
There is a range of suppliers of glyconutrients. Most supply products with only one or two of the essential glyconutrients, but with other non-essential glyconutrients. Some products contain only non-essential glyconutrients. These non-essential glyconutrients do have benefits but are not as far-reaching or as dramatic as the eight essential glyconutrients. Where the glyconutrients have proven benefit they are called nutraceutics.
Nutraceutics is a growing field. The word nutraceutical is a term that comes from the combination of nutrition and pharmaceutical. It describes natural food-based (nutrition) substances that have pharmacological (healing) effects on the human body. Nutraceuticals is a term used by the US Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine to describe all natural, standardised, non-toxic dietary supplements designed to optimise health through improved nutrition.
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Dried mushrooms (reishi, maitake, shiitake, cordyceps) and freeze dried capsules including reishi, maitake, and cordyceps, mushroom-blend extracts, mushroom powders.
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Polysaccharide K, polysaccharide P, reishi, cordyceps, mushroom-blend formula
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Formula with the 8 essential glyconutrients, vitamin and minerals, phyonutrients, sports products, weight loss products.
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Dried shiitake mushrooms, maitake and reishi extracts.
The No. 1 leader in glyconutrients research and development is Mannatech. This company has been involved in the field since 1996, and has a reputation for a high quality, pharmaceutical grade range of glyconutrients products. The company has applied for, and is in the process of being granted patents in over 100 countries throughout the world, of two or more of these glyconutrients in a supplement form.
The marketplace is demanding new regulations that require strict scientific validation and this has resulted in a set of GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices). There are a couple of lesser companies who market glyconutrients despite the patents and patents pending. These companies do not appear to place the same emphasis on GMPs as does Mannatech. One of these company's products includes other ingredients such as maltodextrin, potassium bicarbonate, silicon dioxide, sodium bicarbonate. Mannatech has only plant ingredients in their glyconutrients products.
Phytochemicals, Phytonutrients, Phytosterols
Phytonutrients are nutrients derived from plant material that have been shown to be necessary for sustaining human life. Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing, compounds. Their role in plants is to protect plants from disease, injuries, insects, drought, excessive heat, ultraviolet rats, and poisons or pollutants in the air or soil. They form part of the plants immune system.
Although phytochemicals are not yet classified as nutrients, substances necessary for sustaining life, they have been identified as containing properties for aiding in disease prevention. Phytochemicals are associated with the prevention and/or treatment of at least four of the leading causes of death in Western countries - cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. They are involved in many processes including ones that help prevent cell damage, prevent cancer cell replication, and decrease cholesterol levels.
One of the most important groups of phytochemicals are the phytosterols or phytohormones as they are sometimes known. These are plant based sterols that act as precursors to human sterols. They act to modulate the human endocrine system. One of the most important human sterols is Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). This hormone is produced in our adrenal glands and serves a variety of functions. It is often called the 'mother' hormone as it has the ability to convert itself into other hormones such as oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and corticosterone, on demand. Thus it is a precursor to all other hormones and active metabolites. Precursors are substances the body uses to produce other substances.
Scientific research reveals that adequate DHEA in the body can slow the aging process, and prevent, improve, and even often reverse conditions such as cancer, heart disease, memory loss, obesity, and osteoporosis. DHEA blood levels peak between ages 20 to 25 years and then decline with age in both men and women.
DHEA is the precursor of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. That is, our body makes cortisol and adrenaline from DHEA. When our body makes these hormones, DHEA levels decline. With our stressful lives it is no wonder that most people have deficient levels of DHEA and the medical conditions, and degenerative diseases listed above.
Dioscorea, found in the Mexican yam, contains a biochemical storehouse of valuable phytochemicals for use as hormone precursors. The molecular structure is almost identical to the body's natural hormone precursors.
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