Glyconutrients

It sometimes seems that every time we turn around some new supplement or nutrient is being heralded as the latest and most important breakthrough in holistic healing. Glcyonutrients are one such supplement making the news among the holistic community. They have appeared on the scene as a result of some very good research that indicates there are eight essential sugars needed by cell membranes in order for cells to "communicate" with each other. Lack of them has been strongly linked to many degenerative  health conditions. Further and because of modern agricultural practices (and perhaps modern dietary advice as well) it has been estimated that most of us are getting adequate amounts of just two of these sugars in our diets.

So important are these sugars considered to be that medical schools are beginning to include 12 to 14 hours of course work on glyconutrients.  (In our opinion and based on information we have provided on this website, it would be highly advantageous if the curricula of medical, dietician and all health-related professions could also include more extensive course work on nutrition as revealed in the historical literature and by researchers such as Weston Price and others.)

The eight "essential" glyconutrients or sugars are mannose, galactose, glucose, xylose, N-acetylglucosmine, N-acetylgalactosamine, fucose and N-acetylneuraminic acid.

As luck would have it a variety of high quality herbs and supplements can help boost important glyconutrients. Chief among these would be, of course, a full spectrum glyco nutrient supplement such as GlycoEssentials item #876-5 available from our BEST HERBS.  Interestingly, a good quality Noni, can contain significant amounts of 7 of these glyconutrients. A good quality Aloe will provide mannose. Exceptionally good quality Aloe item #1693-4 and Noni item #4066-7 - or in bulk item # 4042-7 - are available through our BEST HERBS.

Kelp and Wakame provides fucose, xylose and even glucose. We probably get enough glucose in our diets. However, it is important to know that one of the absolute best food sources for glucose is RAW, unheated, untreated honey.

Interestingly, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactose and N-acetylneuraminic acid are found primarily in animal sources. N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylgalactose can be obtained in reasonable amounts from Shitake mushrooms as well as bovine and shark cartilage - and presumably as well as logically "bone broth" soup as well. Research so far indicates that the best source of N-acetylneuraminic on the other hand appears to be whey from milk - or as whey protein powder - and eggs (apparently best eaten raw, in which case they should come from healthy, clean pastured chickens.)

Just as interesting, some researchers are finding that optimal uptake of these sugars requires sufficient fat to be included in the mix - which only makes sense when we realize that "good" fats are required for healthy cell membranes structure.  Who knew?

The lesson here, in our opinion, is not that glyconutrients - or ANY highly touted NEW AND IMPROVED substance - are without merit for supplementing in certain situations - but rather that we need to investigate and consider the ways in which we might accomplish the same goal by revising our diet and evaluating how old "stand-by" remedies might be helping to accomplish the same thing for less money - and better dietary practices over the long term.