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.
One of the world's most renowned veterinary immunologists, Dr. Ian R. Tizard, writes in a published paper entitled Carbohydrates, Immune Stimulating, "there has long been a tradition in folk medicine that extracts of certain fungi and plants may be of assistance in the treatment of cancer. On investigation, many of these extracts have been found to possess potent immune- stimulating activity. In many cases, this activity is attributable to complex carbohydrates."
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.
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 (glyconutrients) 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, which is a European journal, states that these simple sugars have a coding capacity that surpasses that of amino acids!!
Glyconutritionals provide the cellular communication needed in the body.
Only two of the eight monosaccharides (glyconutrients) 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 a 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 essential to our diet!
Now that you hopefully understand glyconutrients a little bit better I also wanted to share with you a "plain English" definition of phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) and what they mean to you as well. What are Phytochemicals?
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