Monday, July 24, 2017

Autoimmune Diseases and Glycobiology

Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells. The immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks it. This may be due to a cellular communication problem.

At one time medical professional learned in biology classes that cellular communication in humans took place via proteins embedded in the surface of most cells of the body. New research in glycobiology has proven that this is not the case. Science now recognizes that cellular communication takes place via glycoproteins, which are the biological merging of specific plant carbohydrates and proteins embedded in cell surfaces.

It is believed that when certain high quality macronutrients are ingested, the body is able to form the very important glycoproteins that embed themselves on cell surfaces. It’s these exact glycoproteins that allow the cells of the immune system to communicate with one another.

Examples of high quality macronutrients ("super" carbs) include medicinal mushrooms, sea vegetables, some land vegetables and some whole fruits that are organically grown and ripened on the plant are rich sources of polysaccharides and phytonutrients. This is because vegetables and fruits plucked before ripening and subjected to ripening by artificial means do not have the last surge of nutrients which are only available to the naturally ripening process. 

Glycobiology is the study of the structure, biosynthesis, and biology of saccharides (sugar chains or glycans) that are widely distributed in nature. These saccharides (or sugar molecules) are essential components of all living things that require cell-to-cell communication to sustain life.

Glycobiology believes that these sugar molecules constitute an ‘alphabet’ of ‘letters’ that can be combined in endless ways to form ‘words’ which are used by the body to communicate information required for healthy function. McAnalley and Vennum (2000), explain that the process of molecular communication codes can be thought of as a written language whereby just as four different shapes can be combined to make many letters and the letters can be combined to make words, the different carbohydrate molecules combine to make cellular recognition (McAnalley and Vennum 2000, p2).

Once cells have been properly glycosylated only then are they able to send a cell-to-cell communication and communicate with other cells, (i.e. recognize the enemy and tag it).
It is believed that autoimmune diseases occur when cells are not properly glycosylated (the presence of a sugar added to a protein) and thereby unable to differentiate between a ‘friendly’ cell and an ‘unfriendly’ cell (Nugent 2005, p21).

However, if cells (such as red blood cells) are glycosylated improperly, this can lead to excessive glycation and damage to the red blood cells. Then, these damaged red blood cells create advanced glycated end products (AGEs) and cause damage to the arteries as they circulate throughout the body. 

Although it is recognized that a multiple of factors ensure good health and no one nutrient stands alone in this process, there is strong belief that without proper cell-to-cell communication, there is no hope for good health because without communication there can be no function.

Glycoproteins, proteoglycans and glycolipids are the most abundant glycoconjugates found in mammalian cells. They are found predominantly on the outer cell wall and in secreted fluids. Glycoconjugates have been shown to be important in cell-cell interactions due to the presence on the cell surface of various glycan binding receptors in addition to the glycoconjugates themselves.

However, more research in glycobiology needs to be performed and studied to determine the benefits to our health.

Please Note: In the meantime, do not waste your money buying glyconutrient supplements. Instead, get your key sugars from quality carbohydrates such as land vegetables, sea vegetables, whole fruits, beans, and some organic whole grains.

No comments: