People know too much sugar can lead to diabetes. But most people don’t know there are specific sugars that have very different attributes and perform specific functions in the body totally unrelated to energy production. Science has uncovered sugars that our immune system needs to function correctly. The lack of these sugars leads to virtually all degenerative and autoimmune disease.
There are only eight biological sugars comprising the cell-surface, sugar-structures surrounding all of the approximately 60 trillion cells in the human body. They are organized in branching, 3-dimensional, tree-like structures. Since the body is largely made up of water, the individual sugars appear in ring formation. One is a pentagon with 5 carbons (xylose), one is a nonagon with 9 carbons (sialic acid), and the other six are hexagons with 6 carbons in the ring. They can link to other sugars at any of the carbon locations on the ring. They can extend in short, medium, or long chains. Different sugars at different locations and even at different angles mean something totally unique to the body. These different patterns mean their coding capacity is unparalleled by anything in the known universe. There are between 100 trillion and 1 quadrillion unique patterns in this sugar-coded alphabet as discussed previously.
The base or first sugar in the strand of sugars binds in one of two ways to an amino acid in the protein string. They are annotated N-glycans or O-glycans. N-glycans means the base is bound to the amino acid, asparagine. The base sugar for N-glycans is usually n-acetyl glucosamine. O-glycans bind to only the amino acids, serine or threonine.
The terminal sugar is the last sugar on the chain or strand of sugars. It binds by itself or in combination with neighboring sugars on the antenna to molecules arriving from environment outside of the cell. These receptor sugars bind to incoming sugars attached to bacteria, viruses, immune system cells, hormones, pathogens or molecules seeking to interact with the cell for good or ill. Combinations of individual sugars serve as the key that opens the lock guarding the cell. The cells respond in programmed ways once the lock is opened.
In the coming weeks, I will discuss each of these sugars in more detail and identify their purpose in the body.
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