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Does your body know its ABCs??

What are Glyconutritionals?

The Greek word "Glyco" means "Sugar". Most people think of sugar as being bad for you. However, there are actually TWO kinds of sugars. One is the refined or "extracellular" sugars which have been long associated with human disease. The other sugars are "intracellular" which can be found in fruits and vegetables and provide the body with nutrition it needs. These sugars, also known as "complex carbohydrates", have been studied for years. However, only recently have we begun discovering their purpose in the body.

An increasing number of scientists believe that certain carbohydrates represent the next frontier in the search for non-toxic treatments for various degenerative conditions. Even though we have just begun to scratch the surface in understanding the full potential of these carbohydrates, the research being reported in just the last decade has ignited a new level of hope and optimism with some of the world's leading immunologists. The March 23, 2001 issue of Science Magazine is devoted to the topic of cellular communication and the role that simple sugars play in that arena.

Healthy bodies are comprised of many components working together in sophisticated harmony, and must have accurate internal communication to function correctly. In it's most basic form, this communication occurs at the cellular level. Glyonutrients form what can be referred to as the "alphabet" of your body!

To maintain a healthy body, cells must "talk" to each other. Their language is one of touch, written in saccharides (or simple sugars) on the cell surfaces. These simple sugars combine with other molecules to make glycoforms such as glycoproteins when combined with proteins or glycolipids when combined with fat. Of the 200 monosaccharides that occur naturally in plants, 8 have been discovered to be components in the cell surface glycoforms (see Harper's Textbook of Biochemistry--1996). Like thousands of different "keys" projecting from the cell surface, they will either unlock the required functions of the adjoining cell or not. If the right keys are available, the body functions smoothly. If not, it doesn't. Acta Anatomica, a European journal, states that these simple sugars have a coding capacity that surpasses that of amino acids!!

Only two of the eight monosaccharides are found in today's diet. Our diets have changed in response to the demands for quicker, cheaper food. Consequently, we are not eating foods that contain the necessary fuels for our cells to communicate in a healthy, effective manner. While our body has the capacity to manufacture these simple sugars, the conversion process is complicated. During the conversion process your cells are exposed to tens of thousands of free radical hits each day. This requires time, energy and a host of other micronutrients in order to complete the conversion. Viruses can also interfere with our body's ability to make these conversions. People who are ill or who have inborn errors of metabolism are especially vulnerable to a breakdown in the process. Whenever the monosaccharides cannot be made, communication is slowed down or impaired as a result.

Since your body has more than trillion cells and fully regenerates all of its cells in approximately 1 year, any miscommunication or slowdown could cause major health problems. With millions of cells regenerating each day, it's easy to imagine what could happen if during this process, the cells didn't regenerate correctly. This is why glyconutritional supplements are so very important!

So what are the experts saying about these powerful compounds? Check out some compelling evidence that the scientific and medical world are jumping on board by leaps and bounds:

February, 1990Magazine, Bio/Technology"Capitalizing on Carbohydrates"Carbohydrates are identified as essential for immune function. "Almost without exception, whenever two or more living cells interact in a specific way, cell surface carbohydrates will be involved."

1995Magazine, NatureCell surface sugars are necessary for recognition and immune function.

1996Medical Textbook, Harper's BiochemistryVol. 24, Murray, et. al.Glycoprotein chapter reviews the sugars necessary for cell-to-cell communication.

March, 2000Launching of, the first Web site devoted to the nutritional importance of certain saccharides called glyconutrients.

October, 2001National Institutes of Health grants $34 million grant to Scripps Institute to study glycobiology receives a merit World Wide Web health Award for credibility, clarity and appropriateness

October 2002Magazine, New Scientist"Sugar Rush"Emphasizes glycobiology as the basis of understanding immunology, neurology and developmental biology.

February, 2003MIT's Technology ReviewGlycomics identified as "One of 10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World." receives two Silver World Wide Web Health awards for credibility, clarity and appropriateness.

December 2003Nutritional company that pioneered research in field of glycobiology, presents Web site and 8th Annual World Congress on the internet in medicine (MedNet) International Conference, "Internet in Health for All."

200418,032 Medline articles with keyword "glycoprotein" published.

So the obvious question becomes, "what can all this science do for me?" Well, no one can claim a cure for anything, but imagine what would happen in your body and consequently your health when your cells are given the proper building blocks to restore and maintain wellness in every system of your body? This is solid science with solid proof in hundreds of thousands of people. The next question is, "what will YOU do with this powerful information?

Lori Wilton is an independent wellness consultant who specializes in glyconutrient education and has overcome her own health challenges through the understanding and practice of good nutritional principals without the use toxic pharmaceuticals. She and her husband Bill are in church ministry in Oregon. Lori is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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