We discussed several characteristics of mannose in last week’s ezine article. In addition, mannose prevents bacterial infections by binding competitively to bacterial lectins (glycoproteins) as discussed previously. Therefore, it occupies the sites that would otherwise bind to human cell receptors. By preventing bacterial adhesion, infection is prevented. This is how urinary tract infection is cleared. The mannose floods the lectins on the surface of the bacteria. The bacterial lectins fill up with free-floating mannose. As a result, the bacteria, E. coli, is unable to attach to mannose on our epithelial cells in the urethra. Since it cannot anchor to our body, it is washed out of our urinary tract with our urine and the bacterial infection is cleared. Cranberries, for instance, contain high levels of mannose which explains why drinking straight (no added sugar) cranberry juice can clear a UTI. In addition, mannose blocks Salmonella adherence to chicken intestine in vitro (test tube). It reduces incidence of Salmonella infections in vivo (real life) by 50-100% when added to drinking water for chickens. Mannose decreases E. coli bacteria in newborn mice when applied topically to maternal vaginas prior to delivery. This sugar is a very powerful, natural anti-bacterial agent and has none of the side-effects associated with pharmaceuticals.

Typically, human glycoproteins contain only three mannose molecules. They are located at the base under a string of other sugar molecules—N-acetyl glucosamine, galactose, sialic acid, etc. Mannose on human glycoprotein receptors is normally not exposed. It is not the last terminal sugar on glycoprotein receptors. This is important because the innate immune system in humans is geared to look for and recognize exposed mannose. Bacteria and viruses that invade the body usually have mannose exposed on their receptors. Our immune system is primed to recognize this mannose on them, send out an alert, create antibodies and destroy the invader. This is why aloe vera stimulates the immune system in a good way. It wakes up the immune system and stimulates it to heal the damage faster and more efficiently. More of the troops are prepared and called into action quickly.

A study published in International Immunopharmacology, Volume 5, Issue 2, February 2005 answers the question concerning the best molecular size of aloe polysaccharides necessary to create the strongest immune system effect (immunomodulatory activity). Korean researchers documented that the most potent size of mannans (mannose sugars called Acemannan) was between 5,000 and 400,000 Daltons (400 kDa). Daltons is a measure of molecular weight. Acemannan greater than 400 kDa or less than 5 kDa had only marginal benefit. Acemannan with a molecular weight less than 50 kDa is small enough to pass through the digestive tract into the bloodstream for use throughout the body. Macophages need the Acemannan to be the correct size (smaller than 400 kDa) to be useful in becoming activated. Activated macrophages are key to ramping up the immune system to take care of business. Since, the molecular weight of Acemannan polysaccharides can range into the millions of Daltons, it appears prudent to select sources that maximize the 5 to 400 kDa range for the most effective immune system modulating capability.

The foods we can find mannose in are: aloe vera, cranberries, blueberries, peaches, oranges, apples, green beans, tomatoes, cabbage and turnip.

The problem with getting sugars from these food sources is that the levels vary significantly. No one takes the time to measure the actual nutritional levels in whole, real food so we never know what we are getting. How much we each need to eat of them also depends on the toxic load our bodies are carrying based on the amount of medications and how long we’ve been taking them. There are approximately 75,000 other types of chemicals in our modern world we can’t see or smell. This along with all the chemicals we can see and smell like perfumes, lotions, hairspray, candles and air-fresheners create a tremendous load on our already compromised immune systems. So, how much nutrition is necessary to help one person may be a very different amount for another. For those of you in the United States, if you would like our opinion for sources that are safe and trusted, fill out a request at GRMVetted.org.

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