Blood cells and glucose in the vein. 3D illustration

What Are Glyconutrients?

Until recently, experts believed that sugar was useful only as a fuel for your body. While refined sugar of the kind found in cakes and sweets is unhealthy and sometimes produces nothing more than a brief burst of energy, science has established that certain natural plant sugars are vital for maintaining good health. But what are they?


These contain eight specific sugar complexes which aren’t burned for energy. Called ‘glycoproteins’ and ‘glycolipids,’ those saccharide complexes act as biological building blocks, which serve as the bases for mobile growth. They become part of the fabric of the human body, by combining to form structures which protect the surface of all our cells and which are crucial components of mobile communication.

The eight known saccharides essential for constructing glyconutrients and keeping healthy functioning cells include: glucose, galactose, fucose (not to be confused with fructose), N-acetylgalactosamine, N-acetylneuraminic Acid, N-acetylglucosamine, mannose and xylose. Each of these is related to a particular health benefit.


It is the most well-known of all of the saccharides. It’s found in things such as cakes, sweets and ice cream in addition to bread, pasta, rice, some vegetables. It could play a part in boosting the memory, helping the body to absorb calcium and helping the cells with communicating. Too much sugar can raise insulin levels, resulting in obesity and diabetes.


It is another renowned saccharide, often found combined with sugar. Together they form a compound called lactose. Galactose is found mainly in dairy products and its health benefits include the inhibition of tumor growth, healing of inflammation and injuries and the enhancement of mobile communication.


These are found at high levels in human breast milk and a few mushrooms. It helps with actions in the brain, respiratory system and immune system. Fucose was found at the junctions between nerves, kidneys, as well as in the testes. Inappropriate levels of fucose are observed in people with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and cancer.

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N-acetylgalactosamine is found in human breast milk and has been demonstrated to inhibit the spread of tumors and also to help with mobile communication. Reports indicate that people with cardiovascular problems might be lacking in N-acetylgalactosamine. N-acetylneuraminic acid is critical for brain development and functioning. Additionally, it helps with blood clotting, fighting flu and lowering cholesterol levels.

Alcoholics are not able to process this substance efficiently. N-acetylglucosamine can work against cancer and HIV. One metabolic by-product of the substance is glucosamine, which assists in the formation of cartilage and reduction of inflammation. The signs of diseases like arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can improve with the use of N-acetylglucosamine.

Mannose assists with tissue construction as well as the smooth interaction of cells. Too little mannose can interfere with the process of mobile communication and the healing of wounds, the resisting of tumor growth and the body’s ability to fight bacterial, viral, parasitic, and bacterial infections. Xylose has antibacterial and antifungal properties and might help to prevent cancer of the digestive tract. It’s occasionally used as a substitute for sucrose and corn syrup in products like chewing gum or toothpaste, but it doesn’t contribute to tooth decay.

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Now that these crucial saccharides are identified, scientists are excited about their potential to help improve human health. That’s because they’ve found that the modern diet doesn’t provide people with enough of these to produce glyconutrients. The deficiencies of the sugars in our meals results from modern food processing and packaging practices, the growth of plants in mineral depleted soils, under-ripe harvesting of fruits and vegetables as well as the use of food preservatives.

While it’s still of vital importance to eat a healthy number of vegetables every day, the diet consumed by nearly all the world still does not supply the right quantity of saccharides necessary for glyconutrient production. In actuality, it gives individuals the opportunity to consume just two of those eight saccharides necessary for generating glycoproteins. Those are galactose in milk products and sugar.

The effect of this malnutrition is the fact that the body is made to synthesize the missing six saccharides itself. This is a process which has multiple negative consequences for the body, since it has to cover this action with a disproportionate sacrifice of time and energy. For instance, to convert sugar into fucose, the body is forced to participate in more than half four distinct enzymatic reactions. This can often leave the person tired and exhausted.

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More importantly, the great drain on the body’s physical resources frequently leads to the procedure for saccharide conversion to go wrong. When the procedure fails, the cells start miscommunicating and the outcome is that the body begins misrecognising healthy cells as invader pathogens, and launching attacks to kill them. Such improper cellular communication typically leads to various illnesses, including autoimmune diseases.

These may manifest as cancer, arthritis, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus and a host of other debilitating and life-threatening problems. Individuals that are interested in maintaining their health should keep a close watch on future research into glyconutrients. These super-sugars could prove to be the secret to fighting a lot of our most frightening illnesses. Excitingly, it turns out that rainforest fruits turn up trumps. It appears that some fruits such as the acai berry, cupuacu and camu camu are packed full of glyconutrients and are probably among the best natural ways for individuals to acquire their glyconutrient requirements. Of course that the rainforests of the world are called natures”medicine chests”.