| Glyconutrients are known as
the 8 essential sugars needed for optimal health and functioning in
humans. Nutritional scientists and glycobiologists have identified
over 200 glyconutrients found in nature but only 8 are essential for
cell-to-cell communication in people.
All of the 8 essential sugars (saccharides) aid in intercellular
communication, but each glyconutrient also has special properties
as well on a cellular level.
Here is a list of the 8 essential sugars:
Now, everyone is familiar with glucose since this is the most talked
about of the 8 essential sugars and the one that supplies energy
to our cells and muscles. Table sugar itself is compose of glucose
and fructose (not fucose) and we know what eating sugar will do
to our energy level (or that of our kids!).
Mannose is a little different from glucose since it is absorbed
8 times slower and through the upper GI tract. Mannose is perhaps
THE major player when it comes to intercellular communication. Mannose
is involved in more cell interactions than any of the other sugars
and a deficiency in mannose has been linked to a whole host of health
Galactose is another of the 8 essential glyconutrients and in found
mostly in dairy products and in some fruits. Galactose can inhibit
many health problems from starting and also useful in the healing
process as well.
Fucose (not fructose) is found abundantly in mother's breast milk
and in specific mushrooms. Fucose is found in high concentrations
in the nerve synapses (spaces between nerve endings), in the outer
layer of our skin and in the kidneys and testes.
N-AcetylGalactosamine is probably the least known of the 8 essential
sugars and more research is needed to pinpoint its roles in disease
prevention and healing. Patients with various cancers such as colon
cancer have been found to have about half as much N-AcetylGalactosamine
as do non-cancerous people.
N-AcetylGlucosamine has been linked to helping immune system functioning
especially in relation to a whole host of immunological disorders.
N-AcetylGlucosamine is found in the thyroid gland, testes, liver
and small intestines. Shark cartilage, shiitake mushrooms and supplements
are good sources for N-AcetylGlucosamine.
N-AcetylNeuraminic Acid has been linked to brain development, learning,
memory and cognitive performance. N-acetylneuraminic acid is found
mainly in the glycoproteins and glycolipids and widely distributed
throughout the human body. Studies have shown that N-AcetylNeuraminic
Acid is effective in fighting against viruses and airborne allergens.
Xylose has been shown to have both antibacterial and antifungal
properties. Diabetics sometimes use the commercial derivative of
Xylose, (Xylitol) as a sugar substitute. Xylose is absorbed in the
small intestine where it increases the friendly flora, which in
turns helps all other nutrients absorb more effectively.
This is but a short list of how the 8 essential sugars help in
healthful functioning. There are many more diseases and conditions
that have been helped by the addition of glyconutrient supplements
to one's diet. As with any supplements, it is recommended that you
check with your physician first before starting on a program of