Everyone who had studied nutrition has heard of the 8 essential amino acids. But did you know that there are 8 essential sugars? These essential sugars, fucose, galactose, glucose, mannose, n-acetylgalactosamine, n-acetylglucosamine, n-acetylneuraminic acid, and xylose, are only a handful out of a library of over 200 known glyconutrients that are absolutely vital for bodily health. Researchers have discovered that the primary function these nutrients are to help cells to communicate. When glyconutrients combine with proteins, they produce glycoproteins. When combining with lipids, they produce glycolipids. These molecules, called glycoforms, adhere to and coat the 600 trillion cells of the human body, essentially forming ‘name tags’ for each cell, allowing the body to recognize ‘self’ and to provide specific information about every individual cell, such as whether the cell is sick or healthy, benign or malignant. Thus, we can readily see their role in the auto-immune response.
Unfortunately, as modern technology has enabled the greater processing and longer shelf-lives of foods than ever before, many of these glyconutrients are lost in everyday foods; undoubtedly one of several reasons that many illnesses are on the rise in most industrial nations. Adopting a diet of plentiful amounts of unprocessed fruits and vegetables, seeds, and sea vegetables will provide many of them, but many nutritional experts believe that not all of them can be provided sufficiently even in a natural diet, thus making supplementation necessary. Also, since these nutrients have overlapping functions in the body, it is believed that they work better when taken in combination, something that may be difficult in procuring them only from food as many different foods may have to be eaten either simultaneously or closely together, thus resulting in bouts of indigestion or gastric depletion. Also, it is all too easy to accidentally miss out on numerous nutrients, as many of them are found in the skin and pectin fibers of various fruits and vegetables, which are usually discarded after juicing. Realizing this, health companies have devised supplement formulations with at least the 8 essential glyconutrients, extracted from the parts of these foods that most health seekers discard. Still, another reason for proposed supplementation is that many nutrients in food are degraded and/or lost during transit and storage. This is why many health enthusiasts cultivate their own gardens or strive to eat foods that are locally grown. However, these practices may be difficult for some, thus making supplementation a necessity.
It is believed that ‘glyconutrient therapy’ will soon become a standard part of medical care for patients suffering from degenerative diseases and other illnesses. As studies continue, it may further be discovered that the body can actually manufacture for itself some of these essential nutrients if it has the raw health materials. After all, it is widely accepted that our ancient ancestors were generally healthier, stronger and more resilient that we are today even though they did not have supplements. For instance, it is now known that the body can actually make galactose rather easily from the lactose found in dairy products (which, of course, is still not an option for vegans or those with lactose intolerance). So, strictly speaking, galactose is not an essential glyconutrient since it can potentially be formed in the body. However, when it comes to health, all healthy nutrients are essential. Learn more about glyconutrients, by visiting this site.