Alternate Title

  • Dietary saccharides

Related Terms

  • Advanced Ambrotose®, Ambrotose® complex, dietary saccharide, fucose, galactose, glucose, Glycentials®, glycobiology, glycoconjugates, glycoform, glyconutritional, glycoprotein, Manapol®, mannose, N-acetylgalactosamine, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylneuraminic acid, saccharide, sialic acid, sugars, xylose.

Background

  • Glyconutrients are dietary supplements that supply sugars such as glucose, galactose, mannose, fucose, xylose, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine, and N-acetylneuraminic acid. These sugars are thought to be necessary for cells to communicate with each other in the body.
  • Glyconutrient research (glycobiology) has increased in the last few years. A leading manufacturer of glyconutrient supplements, however, was prosecuted by the Texas attorney general in 2009 for exaggerating the benefits of its product and was required to pay four million dollars in restitution to customers.
  • Studies have investigated the effect of glyconutrients on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cognition, failure to thrive, and myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder. However, the scientific evidence is unclear. Additional research is needed before conclusions can be made.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

    Glyconutrients may cause a decrease in the number and severity of symptoms in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, more research is needed in this area.

    Cognition

    Preliminary research suggests that glyconutrients may be beneficial for cognition and memory. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

    Failure-to-thrive

    Glyconutrients may increase weight and height in toddlers with failure to thrive. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

    Myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular disorder)

    Preliminary research suggests that glyconutrient supplementation may offer some benefit to patients with myasthenia gravis. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (over 18 years old)

    • For cognition, one teaspoon of Ambrotose® Complex, containing polysaccharides from Aloe vera, Larix decidua, Astragalus gummifer, and Anogeissus latifolia, as well as rice starch, glucosamine hydrochloride, mannose, galactose, fucose, xylose, glucose, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylneuraminic acid, and N-acetylgalactosamine, has been taken by mouth twice daily for 12 weeks.
  • Children (under 18 years old)

    • For ADHD, one capsule of glyconutritional supplements (galactose, glucose, mannose, N-acetylneuraminic acid, fucose, N-acetylgalactosamine, N-acetylglucosamine, and xylose) per 10 lbs. of body weight daily on the first day of treatment, and then the dose was decreased to one capsule per 20 lbs. of body weight daily. The supplement was usually taken with breakfast.
    • For failure to thrive, one tablespoon daily of a glyconutritional supplement for one month.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • There is a lack of reported allergy symptoms due to supplemental glyconutrients. However, because glyconutrients are often food- and plant-based, there is a theoretical risk that ingestion of any herb or supplement containing glyconutrients may have adverse effects.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • Glyconutrients are likely safe when consumed in food or supplements in recommended doses.
    • There is a lack of reported adverse effects due to glyconutrients. However, because glyconutrients are often food- and plant-based, there is a possible risk of allergy or reactivity.
    • Glyconutrients may affect the risk of bleeding. Commercial glyconutrient products may contain vitamin K or ubidecarenone, which can antagonize the effects of anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin®). Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
    • Use cautiously in patients taking iron supplements, as glyconutrients may increase iron levels and total iron-binding capacity; in patients with a history of copper deficiency, as glyconutrients may reduce copper levels in the blood; in patients with a history of vitamin B12 deficiency, as glyconutrients may reduce vitamin B12 levels; in patients with immune disorders or those using immunosuppressants, as glyconutrients may have immunostimulating properties.
    • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of scientific evidence; in individuals who present with allergy symptoms to any ingredient in the glyconutrient supplement.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of scientific evidence.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Glyconutrients may alter the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®). Commercial glyconutrient products that contain vitamin K or ubidecarenone may antagonize the effects of anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin®).
    • Glyconutrients may also interact with agents that affect cholesterol levels, immunosuppressants, or iron salts.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Glyconutrients may alter the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Commercial glyconutrient products may contain vitamin K or ubidecarenone, which can counter the effects of anticoagulants (blood thinners).
    • Glyconutrients may also interact with agents that affect cholesterol level, antioxidants, copper, copper-containing foods, folic acid, folic acid-containing foods, immunosuppressants, iron, iron-containing foods, vitamin B12 and vitamin B12-containing foods.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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