Beyond Vitamins and Minerals - Glyconutrients

It is well known and scientifically proven that vitamins and minerals are essential to our diet to prevent or remedy health problems. One of the most well known examples of this is the disease scurvy, which is prevented and cured by vitamin C. Many other diseases such as beriberi and pellagra are also caused by specific nutritional deficiencies. There are also countless resources of information regarding how different vitamins and minerals can help with some health problems and diseases and new information comes out on nearly a daily basis.

Even with all the information available and proactive steps being taken, health problems and disease are still on the rise and many are becoming epidemic. Everywhere you turn, foods are being enriched with vitamins and minerals to try to help, multivitamins are commonly being used, but the problem only continues to get worse. Just as scurvy and other diseases are known to be caused by nutritional deficiencies, one would expect that something else must be missing from our diet. Enter glyconutrients.

Recent science has found that of 200 monosaccharides (glyconutrients) found in nature, there are eight that are essential for the production and proper function of glycoproteins. This discovery was printed in 1996, in a prominent medical textbook, Harper's Biochemistry, which added a new chapter called Glycoproteins. Within these chapters it is discussed that if our bodies are unable to properly produce these monosaccharides and thus properly produce glycoproteins a disease condition will develop. Synthesis of these glyconutrients in our bodies is very complex and requires numerous enzymatic reactions along with the enzymes and micronutrients to complete the action. With our nutrient deficient diets, constant exposure to toxins, and stress, scientists believe that we are lacking in these important life-sustaining molecules.

What are glyconutrients and what do they do? "Glyco", in Greek, means sweet, and therefore glyconutrient literally means "sweet nutrient" and is actually a sugar, a complex carbohydrate. These special sugars, however, unlike unhealthy simple sugars, are not digested as energy for the body, but rather go directly to the cell surface to form glycoproteins. The eight essential sugars that the human body needs are used by every single cell in our body to perform a complex system of cellular communication. When one cell touches another, it uses these sugars to communicate what it needs, where it needs to go, what it is, and other important messages. The 1999 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for this discovery.

If, when a cell attempts to communicate, it is missing one or more of these sugars there is a communication breakdown. These sugars are like letters that are combined to make words and if just one letter is missing the word cannot be formed properly and the message may be misunderstood or not recognized at all. This can generate different problems depending on what cells are being affected. If cells in your immune system cannot recognize the bodies own good healthy cells it may attack them, which is the basis of many autoimmune diseases. If the immune system cells come across malformed, mutated cells that should be destroyed but cannot be recognized, it may just leave them alone allowing them to multiply and grow. Pathogens that are not recognized won't be destroyed causing illnesses. As you can see, cellular miscommunication can cause an array of problems, far too many to attempt to list here.

How then can we be sure our bodies have the glyconutrients it needs in order to optimize proper cell-to-cell communication? While many pharmaceutical companies are currently at work trying to create synthetic versions of these sugars to treat very specific diseases, it will be many years, due to complexity and cost, until there are drugs available. Even still, they will be drugs, and due to the synthetic nature, will be inherently toxic with potential side affects. So until then, what can be done and is there a better way? The 1996 edition of Harper's Biochemistry stated that some disorders have already been found to respond to oral supplementation of some of these sugars. Since then, there has been more and more evidence of positive response to oral supplementation.

So, how can you be sure you are getting these eight necessary sugars? One method is through your diet. A recommended book, "Sugars That Heal", by Emil Mondoa MD, covers many foods that contain these sugars. This, however, can prove to be very difficult. For one, due to the highly processed foods which destroy much of the nutrients, plus the nutrient deficient soil most vegetation is grown in, combined with the early picking of un-ripened fruits and vegetables, most of the foods available to us are severely nutrient deficient. Also, some of the eight necessary sugars are only found in foods that are uncommon to our diet. It has been determined that only two of the eight sugars are commonly found in our modern diet. This has made supplementation practically a necessity.

Is there such a supplement? There is only one company that does offer such a supplement. One of the necessary monosaccharides, mannose, had been found in abundance in aloe and a patented process had been developed to extract and stabilize the sugar. Since then plant-based sources of the other seven monosaccharides have been found, extracted, stabilized, and combined to form a patented food supplement. The patent is actually held on all known essential saccharides, so if others are found to be essential they will be included in the patent protection. There are numerous other patents and patents-pending that prevent others from duplicating it and thus there is only one source for a supplement which contains the eight essential monosaccharides. Providing all eight of the glyconutrients ensures that you are not deficient in any one. When your cells have all of the necessary glyconutrients they need they will be able to properly communicate and will be able to recognize the body's own cells and stop attacking them, recognize pathogenic invaders and destroy them, destroy or repair malformed, mutated cells, and perform other re-established function.

For some, when first supplementing with glyconutrients the body will begin recognizing toxins and invaders and start removing them from hiding and storage. When this happens, your body needs to remove them and some people may experience headaches, rashes, and other temporary discomforts as the body expels them through any means that it can. This is only temporary and is a good sign that your body is in the process of healing itself. By giving your cells the nutrients they need, you will help support and create healthy cells, and when you have healthy cells, you have a healthy body.

Glyconutrients have been discovered through the science of Glycobiology and Glycomics. These scientific fields have been exploding in recent years and it is becoming part of the curriculum in many colleges. Renowned publications such as the January 2002 edition of Scientific American, the March 23, 2001 issue of Science Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, Physicians Management Magazine, and others have all talked about the incredible benefits and exciting possibilities in health care, relating to these sugars. MIT's Technology Review, February 2003 edition expects that Glycomics, the study and application of these vital sugars will be one of the "ten emerging technologies that will change the world". Soon, glyconutrients will become a common household word.

Peter Boleski works as an international wellness consultant specializing in glyconutrients and serving USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. More information can be found at: http://www.healthybynutrition.com/moreinfo

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