The Eight "Essential" Sugars
By David Bird, MD
- Fucose (not fructose)
- N-acetylneuraminic acid.
The aim here is to provide a simple and inexpensive way of getting glyconutrients.
Mannose may be the single most important of the eight sugars for us to get plenty of. One of the main sources is aloe vera, which contains acemannan. Acemannan is a mannose polysaccharide (i.e. a chain of mannose molecules). From what I've studied, most commercial supplements of aloe only have very small amounts of acemannan in them so the best way is to grow the aloe vera oneself. It is a very handy herb to have in the garden or green house (e.g. good for minor burns and some skin ailments) and it is easy to cultivate. Consult a gardening book, but apparently it needs a sunny spot that's not too moist. I may want to enjoy using plenty of it, so ideally would like to invest in about ten plants. While I are waiting to buy and establish my own aloe plants I can use the glyconutrient powder which does have mannose in as well. This is from the kelp, the shiitake and the ground fenugreek. I have actually recently decided to just take the powder simply because I find it easier. Fenugreek contains plenty of galactomamman, a polysaccharide of mannose and galactose (other sources of galactomamman are carob gum and guar gum). Ground fenugreek should be readily available from a good health food store or supermarket, or I can buy the seeds and grind them myself. I prefer organic fenugreek. Shiitake mushrooms have in them a compound called KS-2 which contains mannose bound to an amino acid. We will say more about shiitake (and kelp) later. Using fenugreek, kelp and shiitake should not be very expensive. Aloe vera plants may be expensive to start with, but a friend may have a "jungle" of the plants and be able to give some.
Regarding the powder, glucose is found in kelp. But we don't really need to supplement glucose as its so abundant in our diets anyway. For the "jam" recipe the prime source is 100% pure grape juice, preferably dark organic (but I don't worry if its not feasible). The grape juice will help, along with the next item, to make the aloe vera taste yummy instead of yuck. This juice is relatively cheap and if I have a juicer I can make my own.
Galactose is present in the fenugreek of the powder and also in a lot of foods that we normally eat. For the "jam" recipe the prime source is 100% pure apple juice, preferably organic. This juice will help, along with the previous item, to make the aloe vera taste yummy. Both apple and grape juice have health properties of their own. Again this juice is relatively cheap and those with juicers can make their own. Some analyses don't report galactose as being in Apple juice. This is because the galactose is in the pectin fibre which is present in varying amounts in juice.
Xylose is present in the kelp used in the powder. Ground psyllium seeds are high in a xylose polysaccharide. They are cheap and easily obtained from a chemist or health food store. Psyllium is used in the "jam".
5 and 6. N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetyl-galactosamine
Vegetable sources: For those not wishing to consume medicinal animal products orally it is nice to know that Shiitake Mushroom contains N-acetylglucosamine (as a constituent of chitin). I can purchase fresh and/or dried Shiitake Mushrooms from many supermarkets and food stores. I buy dried whole shiitake mushrooms and powder them by using my liquidiser. Or I can buy a tablet with shiitake in. Shiitake Mushrooms do not contain N-acetyl-galactosamine. I thought that mistletoe contained N-acetyl-galactosamine but it appears that it does not. Instead it seems to contain a lectin that is specific for the N-acetyl-galactosamine receptor site. Also there are some toxicity issues with mistletoe. N-acetyl-galactosamine is contained in dextran sulphate, which is present in a red algae called Dumontiaceae. But this product is only available from Japan as far as I know. So we are still looking for a readily available vegetable source for N-acetyl-galactosamine.
Animal Sources: Bovine cartilage and shark cartilage both have an abundance of these two essential sugars. These are both relatively cheap and available from a chemist or health food stores in capsules or loose powder. I prefer the bovine cartilage because it is predominantly the chondroitin 4-Sulfate form of chondroitin which is apparently slightly better (shark is predominantly chondroitin 6-Sulfate). I am not especially concerned about prions and mad cow disease from a bovine source because I can check where the cows come from and cartilage is not one of the tissues especially at risk for prion contamination. Actually, from what I've read, chondroitin is a substance that can be used to help treat prion disease as it interferes with the prions doing their dirty work in the nervous tissue. I am more concerned about the possibility of heavy metal contamination in shark cartilage, though I have not read any major problems regarding this. Those not wishing to consume animal products orally could use an arthritis cream containing chondroitin sulphate. The best cream I know of is Arthro-Aid DirectÔ, which should be rubbed on the tummy at the time the glyconutrient powder is consumed.
Kelp seaweed is rich in fucoidan, a polysaccharide containing plenty of fucose. Fucoidin is a complicated molecule that also contains xylose, mannose, galactose, and glucose. If anyone has an overactive thyroid they should not take this or other sea weeds without medical advice and monitoring. An alternative is beer yeast, which, according to my research, also contains plenty of fucose. Kelp has many health benefits and can be bought cheaply as a powder. It does not taste good to me
8. N-acetylneuraminic acid
(otherwise known as sialic acid) is found in whey protein isolate. Whey protein isolate also contains lots of other goodies. If allergic to diary (though I am told some that are allergic to diary can take the isolate) an alternative is egg, which may be best raw. I need to make sure it is an organic egg from a healthy chicken. I need to make sure I buy whey protein ISOLATE, not just whey protein or whey powder. A 500g pot of whey protein isolate is a little costly but will last a long time and so is not a big expense long term. Note: I received some information early 2004 that suggested whey protein concentrate may have a higher amount of N-acetylneuraminic acid in it they the isolate.
How I can prepare and consume the ingredients:
TWO items will be discussed:
1. A glyconutrient powder which provides all 8 essential sugars at a minimal cost. The powder is more convenient to take and use than the "jam" and I am not currently using the "jam" -- just concentrating on the powder.
2. The glyconutrient jam which, if made correctly, tastes yummy and which is designed to give large amounts of the key monosaccharide mannose.
1. Glyconutrient Powder
Here are the powders, the glyconutrients they contain and the ratio for consumption (the ratio is by volume, not weight and are offered as a guide only):
* 1 part ground fenugreek: mannose, galactose
* 1 part shiitake mushroom powder: N-acetylglucosamine, mannose.
* 1 part kelp powder: fucose, xylose, mannose, galactose, and glucose.
* 1 part whey protein isolate: N-acetylneuraminic acid.
* 1 part bovine or shark cartilage chondroitin sulphate powder (loose or in capsules): N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine).
* 1/2 part of ground psyllium to boost the xylose content as there is not that much xylose in kelp.
* I also add 1 part of lecithin granules as I have received information suggesting that this dramatically increases the absorption of glyconutrients.
I am currently mixing all powders together along with a little cayenne pepper powder too to enhance digestion and as an extra tonic (1/10-1/20th part). I also add some turmeric powder due its reputed great antioxidant properties. I stir about a good heaped teaspoon of the powder into about 50ml of cool or cold soy milk and quickly drink it down at the beginning of the meal. I could use water or a fruit juice of course, but I find soy milk the best.
1 heaped tsp twice a day is all I am having at present. But I may well increase this to 2 tsp three times a day and I would definitely do this if I where really sick.
Alternatively, I could take it with yogurt etc. or put the powder into "OO" size vegetable capsules to consume. Ideally, I would take five size "OO" capsules twice a day before meals. An alternative, if I wished to avoid mixing powders, would be to take one "OO" capsule of each powder twice a day before meals.
Thirdly, I could take my powder mixed with an equal amount of honey.
It seems that some in Australia may be having difficulty tracking down some of these ingredients, which is a surprise. So as a service to Aussie folk and NZ researchers click here if you want some more tips. Also click on this link for a suggestion I have found good regarding taste
Whey protein isolate can be taken "sublingually" in small amounts too. I am told that this is an even better way of taking it. But it can take awhile to "dissolve".
Kelp in particular does not taste good to me However, I have found it OK to take as part of the powder in the water at meals. Also a teaspoon of kelp powder plus some cayenne did not taste too bad to me when I tried mixing it with a heaped teaspoon of honey. Having said that kelp doesn't taste good, my two-year-old daughter asked for some when she saw me experimenting with it at the table. Despite my warning she still wanted some and so I gave her a bit on the tip of a spoon. To my surprise, she actually wanted more. Honey occasionally contains spores of Clostridium botulinum - the Detrimental Bacteria that can cause the type of food poisoning called Botulism. For this reason, honey should not be fed to children under 12 months old.
Kelp and Wakame seaweeds (Asian style), shiitake, fenugreek and whey isolate are all foods that can simply be eaten as part of a meal. There should be a good way of having all these items at a meal say twice a week using for example, wakame, fenugreek, shiitake, rice and vegetables with whey isolate mixed with dates and soy yoghurt for dessert. We need some good chief to come up with a tasty recipe for us to use. Have this meal with a chondroitin sulphate capsule and you've got all 8 sugars
2. Glyconutrient Jam
Slowly simmer (don't boil) 1 litre grape juice and 1.5 litres of apple juice so that half the water evaporates. Before turning off the heat stir in about 1/4 cup of ground psyllium. IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE NOT TO PUT IN TOO MUCH PSYLLIUM AS IT WILL TURN INTO A SOLID JELLY THAT IS NO GOOD FOR MIXING THINGS WITH. I err on the side of too little psyllium then add more if needed. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes or so then turn off the heat and let it sit. It will turn into a kind of jelly that tastes like jam. The heat should help to break down the psyllium polysaccharide into the xylose molecules. Store in a jar in the fridge.
When I wish to take my glyconutrient jam I put 1/4-1/3 of a cup of the grape, apple and psyllium jelly into a container. I grab about 4-5cm of an average aloe vera leaf from my garden and using a pair of scissors or knife chop it into the jam. Note: aloe contains a laxative so diarrhea is a sign that I am taking too much. If you get diarrhea (from the yellow aloin just under the skin) then try scraping out and eating just the gel. I stir the aloe bits in and then eat it with a spoon. The aloe and jam should taste nice, but if not happy I can try cutting the aloe vera into smaller pieces or liquidising it into the jam. This further improves taste but ends up taking more time, especially to clean up. The aloe vera needs consuming soon after picking and chopping as I am told aloe vera's mannose is quickly damaged or degraded after a leaf is picked.
The glyco-jam is easiest taken as a kind of entrée 10-30 minutes before meals or on its own as a supper in the evening. I aim, for maintenance, to take this mixture three times a week or daily. For nutritional support when ill I could be take it more frequently.
Sources of Glyconutrients
The following is given due the paucity of information that seems to be currently available. It comes mainly from the Hyperhealth CD ROM, In-Tele-Health © 2003 and is for personal and educational purposes only. I highly recommend the purchase of the Hyperhealth CD ROM that is available as follows:
Australia: Hyperhealth, 20 Napier Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Phone: (03) 9417-2567
USA: Hyperhealth, P.O. Box 37, Hansville, WA 98340
Phone: (360) 638-2898
Dietary Sources of Mannose
Blackcurrants Currants - Red
Beans - Green
Dietary Sources of Xylose
Beans - Green
Dietary Sources of Glucose
(mg of Glucose per 100 grams)
Bee Foods: Honey 33,900
Dietary Sources of Galactose
(mg of Substance per 100 grams)
Kiwi Fruit 700
Brussels Sprouts 4,100
Beans - Green 4,100
Peas - Green 800
Dietary Sources of Fucose:
Fucoidan containing plants including several species of seaweed such as Kelp and Wakame.
Dietary Sources of N-acetylneuraminic acid or sialic acid:
Whey protein isolate.
Dietary Sources of N-acetylglucosamine:
Shiitake Mushroom (as a constituent of chitin).
Dietary Sources of N-acetyl-galactosamine:
A red algae called Dumontiaceae (as a constituent of dextran sulphate) This product is only available from Japan as far as I know.
Plant Remedies Research
Collection of peer-reviewed and published academic papers.