- A trade name given to mannans derived from Aloe vera by the US Adopted Names Council of the AMA. It is a mannose polysaccharide considered to be a second-generation sugar-nutrient agent. Acemannan contains no proteins or fats.
Acemannan is not digestible in the small intestine because the human body lacks the enzyme necessary to break the bonds between the molecules. Consequently, it passes intact into the large intestine where it is fermented by microorganisms. However, Acemannan is still effective in that it helps to stimulate the immune system. In addition, the short-chain fatty acids created during the fermentation process have positive effects on almost every body system.
Acemannan and yeast beta-glucans as well as other glyconutrients are quite useful in increasing resistance to the flu virus as well as fungal infections. In vitro, Candida albicans was destroyed as were some viruses. It seems that Acemannan may bind to the mucus membranes in the intestinal tract, blocking fungal attachment. It is also showing promise against HIV and influenza viruses. In a 1997 test, researchers found that when macrophages incubated in Acemannan for up to 60 minutes, some 98% of the organisms were killed by the glyconutrient-treated macrophages as compared with 0-5% in the control group.
Since Acemannan is a polymer of Mannose, it may hold tumor-inhibiting qualities. For this reason, Aloe has been effectively used to treat some veterinary cancers, specifically sarcoma, and is under investigation as a possible human cancer treatment. Furthermore, compared to common topical agents for wound treatments, a commercial product containing Acemannan proved to be less damaging to skin cells. It is now possible to stabalize the Aloe molecule so it can be incorporated into various liquid or dry products. However, Aloe extracted with alcohol should never be used as the medicinal qualities have been destroyed in the process.
- Aloe Vera
- A common medicinal plant used for thousands of years on burns and cuts. Science is now discovering why it is has such healing abilities. Aloe is one of the rare plants to contain an abundance of the essential sugars.
There are over 240 species of Aloe now identified and grown mainly in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. A member of the Lily family of plants, Aloe has a decided cactus-like appearance. Of the 240 or so species, only four are recognized as having significant nutritional value with Aloe Barbadensis Miller being the leader. It is used the most in commercial products today that contain Aloe. The Aloe leaf contains at least 75 nutrients and over 200 active compounds including 20 minerals, 20 of the 22 necessary amino acids, and 12 vitamins.
Apparently, the therapeutic nature of Aloe are the active ingredients within the eight chains of Mannose sugars that eventually form the eight known “essential” sugars: glucose, galactose, mannose, fucose, xylose, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine, and N-acetylneuraminic acid. The Mannose molecules join together to form a type of starch (polysaccharide) known by a variety of names: acemannan, acetylated polymannans, polymannose, or APM. The natural sugars of Aloe should never be confused with Sucrose, which is common table sugar. Sugar-nutrients are not sweet to the taste nor do they elicit a blood glucose or insulin rush.
Recently, another compound in Aloe was discovered; a substance called Aloeride, which contain Glucose, Galactose, and Mannose, as well as another polysaccharide called Arabinose. Such a discovery illustrates that healthy sugars from plant sources are continually being discovered.
There are actually a number of substances that have been isolated from the whole leaf, which consists of two major healing parts: the outer leaf and the gel underneath. The outer leaf exudes a bitter, yellow latex that contains aloin, aloe-emodin, chrysophanic acid, volatile oil, resins, aglycones, and B-glycosides. Aloin and aloe-emodin have laxative properties; and the latex is sold for treating constipation. The gel has the active medicinal sugars and other nutrients listed above.
Aloe vera has always had its skeptics. This may have resulted when outcomes did not match claims. One reason for this may have been that some manufacturers use such questionable processing techniques as extracting the delicate substances with alcohol, yielding none of the medicinal properties of the fresh leaf.
Another possibility is that the quality of commercial Aloe can differ tremendously from bottle to bottle and from producer to producer. Aloe vera gel must be used shortly after the leaf is harvested or stabilized by a freeze-drying process. Not only does “unstabilized” aloe gel lose its medicinal properties, it actually hinders healing.
On the other hand, without proper processing, the Mannose-destroying enzyme that is activated when a leaf is crushed or injured will proceed to digest the sugars and, within a day or so, the leaf is rendered completely useless for healing. A number of beneficial enzymes are produced from the Aloe sugars: endonucleases, hydrolases, esterases, and lipases. These enzymes assist lymphocytes, which are responsible for the major part of immune surveillance. When these white blood cells envelop intruding pathogens, the enzymes optimize the cell’s performance.
The list healing aspects of Aloe is long and is becoming longer. Here is just a sampling:
- It has strong anti-tumor potential. Studies are revealing that the juice reduces tumor mass as well as the frequency of metastasis.
- It also appears to strengthen the immune system, particularly in those already ill. It seems to keep these patients from contracting other infections.
- Aloe has a high antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that roam through the system looking for a place to do damage.
- There is growing evidence that Aloe also has an anti-inflammatory effect. This is supported by findings that show the extract contains bradykininase activity, which reacts with the protease inhibitors.
- Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC)
- A compound derived from the Shiitake mushroom. Unlike the purer Shiitake sugar-nutrient called lentinan (see below), AHCC is a relatively crude carbohydrate mix that appears useful in treating liver cancer caused by hepatitis C.
- Arabinogalactans (Gum Sugars)
- Complex polysaccharides found in corn, wheat, leeks, carrots, radishes, pears, red wine, coconut meat, and tomatoes, as well as the medicinal herbs, Curcumin and Echinacea, the bark of some trees and other fibrous foods. However, the most important single commercial source of this polysaccharide comes from the larch tree. Arabinogalactans are stimulators of the immune system. Echinacea has had this reputation for some time and now we know why.
These gum sugars stimulate activity of natural killer cells, interleukins, interferons, and tumor necrosis factor, all key components in a healthy immune system. When supplements containing Arabinogalactans and Aloe extracts are taken, episodes of the common cold are dramatically reduced. Arabinogalactans, as well as the polysaccharides obtained from beta-glucans, are effective against the parasitic infection, Leishmania. In a 1989 study in Germany, researchers found that Arabinogalactans from the herb Echinacea increase the release of parasite-killing free radicals within macrophages, enhancing the destruction of the parasite.
Arabinogalactans mix well with water, fats and oils and promote healthy bacteria in the gut. Not only do these gums enhance immune activity, but they also inhibit cancer metastasis, especially to the liver in lymphomas and sarcomas. Gums can be used as food thickeners. They are part of a group of soluble fibers known as mucilages of which psyllium is also a member. Rich in polysaccharides, psyllium helps lower cholesterol and is a popular remedy for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Topical gel blends of Aloe and Arabinogalactans have been applied to skin breakdowns of premature infants; a combination that rapidly healed the skin when nothing else was working.
- A class of sugar-chains found in the cell walls of medicinal mushrooms, baker’s yeast, astragalus, and in the brans of oats, rice, and barley. In addition to the beta-glucans, rice bran also contains the polysaccharide Arabinoxylane, which has shown to increase natural killer cell function in vitro. This type of polysaccharide has antitumor, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic actions. In addition, beta-glucans reduce total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density proteins (LDLs). Beta-glucans are a distinct advantage for those who have trouble keeping their blood sugar under control.
Beta-glucans and other therapeutic sugars are able to boost the immune system on demand. This means that they have a “brain” and are able to “think” when a need arises. For instance, they normalize the immune system so that it does not go into over-drive and possibly create an autoimmune disorder. In addition, during grueling chemotherapy, the white blood cells, needed for protection against infection, are killed along with the cancer cells; but beta-glucans help keep them more elevated. According to studies, it appears that beta-glucans bind to receptors on macrophages and other white blood cells. This activates these scavengers so that they are able to perform more efficiency in engulfing pathogens or harmful cell-formations.
In the November 2002 issue of Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy, an article reported that beta-glucans given orally enhanced the action of antibodies to fight tumors. These sugars were able to stimulate leukocyte CR3 activity, thus increasing the means to kill more tumor cells. Furthermore, this effect worked on any tumor type, including neuroblastoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and breast carcinoma.
One study found that polysaccharides obtained from beta-glucans suppressed the progression of parasitic infections from Leishmania, an infection that usually results in death within two years after infection. Another study revealed that the parasite Toxocara was significantly inhibited by the polysaccharide.
“Maitake D-fraction” is an exceptionally potent beta-glucan extract from the Maitake mushroom. Researchers have found that, when given by injection or orally, it lessens the side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, pain, and low white-cell count. In addition, studies indicate that the compound inhibits cancer and its spread.
Beta-glucans are well-absorbed and work rapidly in the system. There is also some evidence that taking vitmain C along with them increases absorption into the bloodstream. Standard 6% polysaccharides in a product are recommended.
- A polysaccharide composed of the essential sugar N-acetylglucosamine. It is found in the shells of crustaceans (shrimps, crabs, krill). In some areas, like Southern Cameroon, crushed chitlin is a popular condiment. Insects, yeast, mushroom cell walls, and certain bacterial cell walls also contain chitin; but these sources have not been commercialized or studied to the same degree as seafood chitin. In test animals, chitin has shown to reduce allergic reactions.
Chitosan is the modified form of chitin through the process of acid and alkali. Unlike chitin, chitosan can bind fat and has helped people lose weight. NOTE: Do not take either chitin or chitosan if you are allergic to shellfish. Fucoidan is a polysaccharide that is high in the essential sugar Fucose. The seaweed, Kelp, is rich in this glyconutrient. Fucoidin is a complicated molecule that also contains other essential sugars – Xylose, Mannose, Galactose, and Glucose. Glycans are a series of specific sugar units which are an important part of many life-saving complex proteins. Glycans contain a single type of monosaccharide (so named by replacing the “-ose” ending of sugars with the “-an” ending.) Thus, examples of the new sugar molecule become mannans, frutans, xylans, arabinans, glycans. Dextrans and dextrins also belong to this class of Glucans. One value of glycosylated proteins is Factor VIII, a protein critical for blood-clotting. Those with hemophilia are unable to produce Factor VIII protein. Science is learning that there are differences between glycans placed on a protein produced in plants and those placed on a protein produced by the dominant manufacturing method. Plant-based glycans accommodates a wider range of protein types, including those not possible with traditional technologies. Glycobiology is a new field of science that combines the expertise of both carbohydrate (sugar) biochemistry and molecular biology. Involved is the study of the structure, chemistry, biosynthesis, and biological functions of glycans and their derivatives. Glycoconjugate is the formation of a molecule with one or more sugars attached to a protein or a lipid. Glycolipids are fats that bind to one or more chains of sugars. There are more than 100 different glycolipids found in human tissues. They are located mainly on the surface of cell membranes where they function as receptor molecules as well as being involved in cell-to-cell interaction. Glyconutrients is a term coined by Mannatech, a multi-level marketing company based in the US. It is used to describe dietary supplements that contain a blend of simple sugars found in glycoproteins. (from Wikipedia). These sugar-nutrients are believed to provide sugars along with other glycoforms (lipids and proteins) essential to the body, but which are scarce in most diets. Over 20,000 studies have been conducted on individual glyconutrients, and virtually all of them have positive outcomes and show great promise as healers of the future. Glycoproteins are proteins that bind with one or more chains of sugars which modify protein structures, permitting them to participate in cell-to-cell communication. Most proteins in human plasma and many on cell membranes are glycoproteins. Inulin is a polysaccharide that belongs to a group of naturally-occurring carbohydrates containing non-digestible fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Inulin is found naturally in more than 36,000 types of plants worldwide, including dahlias, asparagus, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify, wheat, chicory, onions, and garlic. It is estimated that approximately one-third of the earth’s vegetation contains this substance. It is also used in a variety of processed foods for fat replacement and fiber enrichment. Inulin has a mildly sweet taste, but does not affect blood sugar levels and is recommended for diabetics. Oligofructose is a product of inulin that has been broken down into smaller molecules. Many countries add these fiber-rich glyconutrients to foods to promote colon health and to help increase calcium and magnesium absorption. Oligofructose has also proven to reduce the number of colds in young children who attend day care. Lentinan is an important beta-glucan derived from the cell walls of the Shiitake mushroom, as well as some other medicinal mushrooms. Lentinan activates T-cells, key players in the immune system that go after tumors, viruses, and other pathogens. Oral lentinan is effective in treating venereal warts, and injectable lentanin has proven to be helpful in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, and HIV. Administered intramuscularly or intravenously, injectable lentinan is usually more effective than the oral form; but it requires a prescription and can only be administered by a health care professional because serious side effects have occurred with IV lentinan, including fever, chills, back and leg pain, elevated liver enzymes, and anaphylaxis. Medicinal Mushrooms have been used in the Orient for thousands of years – but unknowingly for their glyconutrient content. A number of them – Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake, Coriolus, and Cordyceps among others – have long been used to prevent and fight disease. The earliest record dates from China (206 BCE to 220 CE) when the fungus was used to treat spleen and stomach problems, hemorrhoids, and anxiety. Taoist alchemists concocted tonics and teas. The royals and weathy were convinced that mushrooms improved health and extended life spans. In fact, the Reishi was hailed as the mushroom of immortality; and ancients used it to sharpen memory, improve mood, and enhance vital energy (qi or chi). However, this mushroom is purely medicinal and not for eating. A substance derived from Reishi mushrooms is called Ling Zhi-8; and according to studies, this protein-rich gluconutrient may help in treating leukemia. Reishi is now becoming more popular as a way to increase stamina in athletes and decrease the frequency of colds and flus. Maitake, on the other hand, tastes like chicken and can grow to the size of a basketball, weighing up to 50 pounds. In feudal times, it was so prized that it was traded for its weight in silver. Today, growing techniques have shortened and mediums for growth have changed. Mushrooms are generally cultivated and not “found”. Often, they are grown on sawdust. Because mushrooms do not have chlorophyll, they derive their nutrients from the medium in which they are grown. Medicinal mushrooms stimulate the immune cells so well that three anti-cancer drugs used in Japan have been extracted from compounds within these mushrooms. However, only 50 or so varieties have this kind of medicinal ability. In a March issue of Biotechnology Programs, a study was published that came to the conclusion “we are just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to glyconutrients and how they really work”. Polysaccharides K and P are both extracted from the Coriolus mushroom, which grows wild on tree trunks in North America and Asia. This mushroom is used in teas and extracts rather than for eating. Polysaccharide K is also called PSK and krestin. It has been studied in Japan since the 1960s and has been approved for treating cancer. There, this sugar-nutrient is often used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment since it seems to work synergistically with chemotherapy and radiation. In fact, the extract is one of the best-selling cancer drugs in Japan and Europe. Polysaccharide P (PSP) was first isolated from the Coriolus mushroom in China, where it is used to treat cancer. It also has many of the same properties as PSK. Preliminary studies indicate that it also fights the flu and boosts the overall immune system. Button mushrooms, found in almost every grocery store, are NOT a good saccharide source. In fact, several studies have concluded that this mushroom actually induces benign and cancerous tumors, particularly if eaten raw. Cordyceps do not grow naturally on trees nor are they spawned in sawdust. This mushroom survives by infecting an underground moth larva or pupa (although some species of cordyceps prefer insects, truffles, or spiders) and leisurely feed off the host, devouring it in the process. The mushroom finally breaks through the caterpillar’s head and out to the surface where it disperses its spores. Cordyceps are rich in Glucose, Mannose, and Galactose and used in China to treat cancer by rousing the immune system to ferret out cancer cells and destroy them. This well-studied mushroom is also used to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure, lupus, kidney disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, asthma, and diabetes. As with all mushroom extracts, whole mushrooms work by boosting the intelligent activity of the immune system’s white blood cells rather than by directly killing pathogens. It appears that Cordyceps activate a number of immune defences by enhancing the production of interleukins, helper-T and natural killer cells. They also have the ability to suppress an overactive immune system as well as the ability to suppress Lupus from attacking the kidneys. Several studies have suggested that Cordyceps and other medicinal mushrooms can prevent the development of type I diabetes. There are more than 200 known mushrooms that contain the essential saccharides capable of arming the immune system. Unless the mushrooms are very fresh, it is better to use dried ones. Drying does not degrade the sugar-nutrient content; in fact, it preserves them. Whether fresh or dried, always cook mushrooms before eating them. Raw mushrooms have fewer benefits than cooked because the sugar molecules remain trapped in the chitin – the mushroom’s skeleton, which is like the cellulose that forms the fibrous structure of green plants. The most certain way to extract the polysaccharides is to prepare a decoction or tea. Wipe mushrooms to remove dirt. Cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until the mushrooms are tender. Drink the broth and eat the mushrooms. The average intake of Maitake extract is 1-3 grams per day for a healthy individual; double that for a chronic condition. In vitro studies suggest that Maitake mushrooms may be valuable in fighting the parasite that causes malaria. It is a personal choice as to which mushroom is the best since most have not been tested for their health-giving properties. With only about 80,000 species identified, it is estimated that this is only 5% of the total species on earth. Common sense dictates that a variety is best, and eating a variation of extracts and fresh ones is also a good idea. However, it is always best to buy organic mushrooms since they tend to concentrate heavy metals (including lead) if these substances are present in the growing medium. A good source of organic mushrooms can be found in products from New Chapters (http://www.newchapter.com/ ) Pectins are another important source of sugar-nutrients. They are derived from such fruits as apples, pumpkins, and tomatoes. Known mainly for giving jams and jellies their firmness, pectins are a form of fiber. Rich in Galactose, pectins reduce cholesterol in humans and prostate cancer metastases in animals. Giving a whole new meaning to the famous words “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” for it appears our forefathers knew what they were talking about (imagine that!). It is now being proven that something as simple as pectins have the ability to inhibit something as dangerous as E.coli. This is just an inkling into the reason why a high fruit and vegetable diet helps prevent high cholesterol and cancer. Third-generation sugar-nutrient agents (Saccharide complexes) are polysaccharide dietary supplements that contain most or all of the 8 known “essential” saccharides. They are obtained from various sources, including rice, barley, and oat bran; mushrooms; yeast cell walls; Aloe vera; and gum sugars. The more essential saccharides that can be added to the diet at the same time, the fewer number of steps, enzymes, and energy the body needs to expend in processing them.