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Formal Glyconutrients Research

Why Is There So Little Independent, Peer Reviewed Research Available On Glyconutrients?

Glyconutrient human trials

Little formal, independent, scientific research exists in the relatively new field of glycobiology, which includes glyconutrients and glyconutrition. This can largely be attributed to the huge expense associated with conducting clinical research of this nature.

We need to see researchers do double blind, placebo controlled studies to determine scientifically whether glyconutrients work or not. (In double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical

trials, subjects take either the product that is the subject of the investigation or a placebo. "Double-blind" means that neither the doctor responsible for the study nor the subjects taking the product knows who is taking the product and who is taking the placebo. This helps eliminate investigator bias in reporting trial results. In general, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are the highest standard for interventional studies and provide the strongest evidence for a product's effectiveness.)

It takes a lot of money to do drug research - protocols need to be written, researchers paid or recruited, patients recruited, drugs supplied, etc. The fact that research is funded does not invalidate it, but declaring competing interests strives to level the playing field and make the whole process honest and transparent.

The glyconutrition research that is slowly becoming available is indeed encouraging. Below is a list of links of such glyconutrient research (Please note though, that this research is largely funded by Mannatech, a manufacturer of glyconutrients and other nutritional wellness products.)

The "Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act" relieves nutraceutical companies from the requirement to perform human trials to support health claims of products. Blinded controlled human trials, the standard for FDA-approved drugs, are very expensive, and there is little motivation for nutraceutical companies to invest in them.

On the other hand, the financial resources for investigators outside of companies to test nutraceutical claims are sparse. Given the financial pressures that limit clinical trials of nutraceutical claims, it is still worth considering the available published data that address potential health benefits of glyconutrients.

A wealth of data connects glycans to human health and disease, and many valid publications support the conclusion that glycans are key components in human physiology. The relevant question for consideration with glyconutrients is this: What is the relationship between the impressive body of biomedical glycobiology data in the peer-reviewed literature and the value to human health of ingesting glycans - particularly the plant polysaccharides larch bark arabinogalactan, aloe vera glucomannan, plant gums etc? As the accepted broad-based repository of published biomedical data, PubMed is a valid database in which to ask this question.

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