What are Glyconutrients?

Definition of Glyconutrients

The term “glyconutrient” can be dissected into words, glyco, which means sugar and nutrient, which refers to any substance that is beneficial to the body. Glyconutrient is actually an unofficial term coined by Mannatech, a company that specializes on products for dietary supplementation. The word was created to describe food-based substances that have “pharmacological” effect on the body. Glyconutrient is a special type of nutraceutical that advocates the use of food products and natural supplements in improving nutrition and optimizing health.

History of Glyconutrients

There is no clear history on glyconutrients research but it is believed that glycobiology, the science of glyconutrition, commenced in 1980s when a pharmacologist expedited a clinical research about the powerful components of Aloe Vera. He discovered that the health benefits of Aloe Vera are attributed by the plant’s active ingredient called mannose, a simple carbohydrate. He found out that mannose is an unstable molecule and it loses its medicinal effect when its stability breaks up. As a result, he developed a method that will keep the mannose molecules active. This scientific discovery has lead to clinical researches of the other 7 essential glyconutrients. To see the long standing history of glyconutrients, watch this video.

The 8 Essential Glyconutrients

There are over 200 carbohydrates found in the body but only 8 of them are considered essential to immune functions. It should be mentioned that among these glyconutrients, only glucose and galactose are often found in the diet.

Glyconutrients Benefits
  • Xylose
Has antibacterial and anti-fungal propertyPrevents intestinal cancerStrengthens immune system
  • Fucose
Important in brain developmentInhibits allergic reactionProtects lungs from infection
  • Galactose
Promotes wound healingEnhances memoryHastens calcium absorption
  • Glucose
Fat energy sourceStimulates calcium absorptionGood for the memoryFights off intestinal cancer
  • Mannose
Has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal propertyReduces inflammationLowers blood cholesterolLowers blood sugar
  • N-acetylglucosamine
Decreases inflammationHelps repair mucosal liningIncreases range of motion
  • N-acetylgalactosamine
Reduces tumor spreadHas antibacterial and anti-fungal propertyFights off intestinal cancer
  • N-acetylneuraminic acid
Plays a role in the learning processFights off bacteria and virusMost abundant in breast milk