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Glyconutrients The New Frontier in Science
What are glyconutrients? Glyconutrients are a new classification of phytonutrients from plants. Glyconutrients are plant saccharides which are necessary for cell-to-cell communication. They include mannose, galactose, fucose, xylose, glucose, sialic acid, N-acetylglucosamine, and N-acetylgalactosamine. Glyconutrients are absorbed in the body by active routes using direct receptors or passive diffusion using monosaccharide transporters. Carbohydrate digestion and absorption can occur along the entire length of the small intestine and is shifted toward the ileum when the diet contains less readily digested carbohydrates. Polysaccharides and disaccharides must have the water removed from them (hydrolyzed) to form their component monosaccharides before being absorbed.
What are glyconutritionals? Glyconutritionals are products made using glyconutrients. Why do we need glyconutrients? Although the body can convert glucose to the various saccharides used in cell-to-cell communication, the conversion process is complicated, requiring energy and time as well as numerous enzymes and vitamins. Rather than convert glucose for glycosylation reactions, the body actually prefers to utilize non-glucose essential sugars provided in the diet. This more direct route also avoids the expenditure of unnecessary energy and allows for more rapid production of needed glycoproteins and other glycoconjugates. In fact, animal studies have shown that if only glucose is supplied (e.
intravenous feeding), the liver can severely malfunction, due to a lack of the other essential glycoconjugate sugars. This indicates that the body simply cannot synthesize all the other essential sugars from glucose to the extent that they are needed. How does the body use glyconutrients? Over the last decade, researchers have made many exciting discoveries, but few are as significant as the realization that carbohydrates aren’t just for energy. Certain sugars that we call glyconutrients or super sugars aren’t burned as fuel like glucose, but are used to communicate with and to control and protect every cell in the body. Just as computers need a code to write and translate information, your body needs a code to operate. This sugar code of biological information exists in and on every cell in your body. The body joins these sugars to proteins making structures known as glycoproteins which are attached to the surface of every cell. They send and translate commands from one cell to another throughout your body’s 600 trillion cells. Projecting from the cell surface, they act as keys to “unlock” the required functions of the adjoining cell.
If the right glycoprotein “keys” are available, the body functions smoothly as the flow of information between cells is uninterrupted. If the needed glycoproteins are not available, communication is slowed or impaired. Getting the blend of sugars provides your body with a ready supply of raw materials for coding. No combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbals can take their place. Where are these particular saccharides found? They can be obtained from various plant gums, whole grains and other plant extracts. Not all plants yield the same type of plant saccharides. Who determined that ingesting a particular blend of saccharides might have a beneficial effect on health? Scientists reasoned that if mannose supported health, so would the other specific sugar molecules known to be involved in all cellular communication. Scientists proved that proteins, due to the limited number of ways that amino acids bond, could not account for all of the functions performed by the body. Only carbohydrates could be combined in the number of ways required to account for the body’s enormous coding capacity. When did scientists produce and research the first glyconutritional formula containing these saccharides? They began experimenting with various formulas in 1995 and began filing patents on the glyconutritional blends in 1996.
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