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, immune function, failure to thrive, and myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular disorder), and well-being. However, the scientific evidence is unclear. More research is needed before firm conclusions can be made.

Related Terms

Dietary saccharide, fucose, galactose, glucose, glycobiology, glycoconjugates, glycoform, glyconutritional, glycoprotein, mannose, N-acetylgalactosamine, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylneuraminic acid, saccharide, sialic acid, sugars, xylose.

evidence table

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) (Grade: C)
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 (Grade: C)
Preliminary research suggests that glyconutrients may be beneficial for cognition and memory. More research is needed.
Failure-to-thrive (Grade: C)
Glyconutrients may increase weight and height in toddlers with failure to thrive. More research is needed.
Immune function (Grade: C)
Several polysaccharides (sugars) from the diet may have immune effects and may be helpful for immune disorders, allergies, cancer, and infections. More trials are warranted.
Myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular disorder) (Grade: C)
Research suggests that glyconutrient supplementation may offer some benefit to patients with myasthenia gravis. Further research is needed.
Well-being (Grade: C)
Supplementation with a commercial polysaccharide (sugars) product was associated with a greater self-reported physical and psychological well-being. More well-designed studies are needed in this area.