Health and Medicine Question #3050

Lana, a 41 year old female from Hutchinson, Kansas asks on November 18, 2005,

How do I make homemade Glyconutrients?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on November 18, 2005

If you have a medical problem, you should consult a doctor and not a website. We do not give medical advice. Please see a doctor if you are suffering from a medical condition. This answer is not to be taken as valid medical advice.

From reading the many pages on the web about glyconutrients, one gets the impression that this is snake oil. In other words, it's people trying to sell you something magical that is nothing much more than sugar water. A scientist is naturally very skeptical about the many miracle health benefits of glyconutrients. We doubt their claimed benefits as nutritional supplements. The websites about them do not have robust scientific backing. They are filled with pseudo-scientific explanations, but not good solid science.

So my advice would be to make yourself some home-made lemonade from any recipe you can find and enjoy. While I am no expert on this, I would bet it would score as well as most glyconutrients on the market when subject to proper controlled double-blind, peer reviewed scientific experiments.

The problem is: diet and digestion are poorly understood by science. There is much speculation in this area, but little good science. The human body has many metabolic pathways and enzymes that convert all kinds of sugars (and other carbohydrates) to all the other kinds of sugars. In addition anything you eat is subject to very harsh acidic conditions in your stomach and many enzymes and other factors that break down foods to smaller molecules so don't worry about the claims on dietary supplement websites. Just enjoy sugar in moderation any way you can and have the confidence that your body will use it as necessary. It will convert sucrose to fructose or glucose (or vice versa if necessary) and it will create glycoproteins as needed in the normal course of living.

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