Tag Archives: leaky bowel syndrome

Fringe Report: The glycocalyx, fiber rich produce, and intestinal health

The term glycocalyx may be used to refer to the surface area of membranes that surround a single human or bacterial cell, or to the surface area of the membranes that form the interior or exterior of an organ, blood vessel, or the gastrointestinal tract. The fiber found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, mushrooms and a few other foods helps us form the glycocalyx. Pectin in fruit is a type of fiber that thickens into gelatin when the fruit is cooked. The fiber works together in our intestines to form a jelly like layer that lines and helps stabilize the intestinal walls. White blood cells can move around in the jelly layer patrolling for allergens or infectious agents.

Some of the fibers that are found in the glycocalyx layer are electrically active. The electric charge coating the interior of vessels and the intestine help to keep the area open because it acts like two magnets that are held together so the repel each other instead of joining – the electrically  active chemicals lining the intestine push each other away rather than attracting each other and it helps keep the interior of the vessel wide open and flowing freely. Adequate fiber and water helps prevent constipation. See  “Neuraminic acid was known first as sialic acid” (8/21/2013) for more information about electrically active sugars.

 

[The Glycocalyx, Our Jelly Filling, ]

[Glyco-compounds – essential sugar building blocks, ]

[We are what we eat., ]

[Alp Luachra, an old name for edematous malnutrition, ]

And four posts that lost their paragraph breaks when I copied them onto one page:

Sugars give energy and structure to life (July 16, 2013)

Neuraminic acid was known first as sialic acid (8/21/2013)

To termites, trees are kind of like giant sugar cubes (8/21/2013)

GPI anchors are cell membrane glycoproteins (8/27/13)

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Glyconutrient posts

Title: Sugars give energy and structure to life (July 16, 2013)
/This is the first of a few posts about glycocompounds. //second one: Neuraminic acid was known first as sialic acid// third one: To termites, trees are kind of like giant sugar cubes/
Carbohydrates are formed from carbon and water molecules. The name means ‘hydrate of carbon.’ Individual carbohydrate molecules are called simple sugars or monosaccharides. They are commonly found in the diet as disaccharides, pairs of two monosaccharides, and as long chain polysaccharides in the form of the energy rich starches and the indigestible fiber found in cell walls of plants. The individual monosaccharides may be found as a straight chain of linked carbon atoms or as closed rings. The ring form is more stable chemically. A glass of sugar water made with pure glucose would only have ~0.0026% of the glucose molecules in the straight chain formation, the rest would be in some variation of the the ring form.
The juice of the sugar cane gives us sucrose or table sugar, which is made up of two 6 carbon monosaccharides, one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. The disaccharide lactose is better known as milk sugar and is made up of one molecule of galactose and one of glucose.
Mannose and fucose are monosaccharides that are less common in unprocessed foods but are very useful as food additives in mixtures such as ice cream or pudding. Fucose is commonly found in brown seaweeds. About forty percent of the dry weight of brown seaweeds is the commercially useful alginate polysaccharides. Alginates are used as food additives to help stabilize mixtures and act as emulsifiers which help keep the mixture well mixed while standing on the grocery shelf. Mannans are the polysaccharide of mannose. Mannans are found in red algae which is useful for its agar and carrageenan content. They are used as food additives for their gelatinous properties and as thickeners. Carrageenan may be a health risk and has been shown to cause inflammation, impaired glucose tolerance and increased insulin resistance in lab animals at levels that might be found in comparable amounts in an average day’s food for a person.
Mannans are also the main type of energy storage starch in the seeds of the oil palm trees. One variety of the tree species, the ivory nut tree, is also known as ‘vegetable ivory.’ The mannan within the ivory like seeds resembles the overlapping long polysaccharide chains of cellulose, which is the type of fiber more commonly found in plant cell walls.

Other uses of the oil palm:  There are two types of oil produced from the seed of oil palm trees. Palm kernel oil is paler in color than the reddish color, beta-carotene rich, palm oil. Palm kernel oil contains a higher percentage of saturated fat than palm oil. It may increase the risk of high blood cholesterol but is an inexpensive cooking oil. Palm kernel oil is also frequently used in the production of soap because some of the saturated fatty acids produce good lather, even in salty sea water. Fibrous seed pulp that is left after oil production is used as animal feed.

The monosaccharide mannose may be the active factor that gives cranberries a reputation for helping prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The monsaccharide is thought to help make the lining of the bladder more resistant to infectious bacteria. More research is needed though to prove health benefits from cranberries or from more concentrated supplemental doses of D-Mannose.
(To be continued later – Glyconutrients are essential for helping protect cell surfaces from infectious agents – so fans of cranberries are probably onto a good thing.)
/Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician./
References:

  1. S.A. Brooks, M. V. Dwek, U. Schumacher, Functional and Molecular Glycobiology, (BIOS Scientific Publishers, Ltd., 2002), Amazon.
  2. “Out of One Many, or How to Use Agar Agar,” (Dec. 17, 2008) by chocolatecoveredKatie.com.
  3. “Palm Kernel,” Wikipedia (Warning: this Wikipedia entry contains an old war propaganda poster about harvesting palm seeds which may offend some people and for that very reason should never be forgotten.)
  4. “Palm Kernel Oil,” Wikipedia.
  5. “Palm Oil,” Wikipedia.
  6. “D-Mannose Offers Great Protection Against Urinary Tract Infections,”  SmartPublications.com.
  7. “Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to a Uroval® and urinary tract infection pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation,” (EC) No 1924/20061, EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
    pdf: efsa.europa.eu.
  8. L. Johnston, “Natural Urinary Tract Health: The D-Mannose Solution,” healingtherapies.info.
  9. A Weil, “Is Carrageenan Safe?” (Oct. 1, 2012), drweil.com.

Title: Neuraminic acid was known first as sialic acid (8/21/2013)
Neuraminic acid, or sialic acid as it was first called, is a monosaccharide with nine carbons. It has a negative electric charge which gives compounds containing it a negative charge. This is useful for keeping molecules like red blood cells from getting to near to each other. The negative charge on the surface glycoproteins repels the red blood cell from each other or from the walls of blood vessels which also have compounds containing sialic acid.
Mature red blood cells have an active life for about seven days.  White blood cells remove older red blood cells and de-sialylation of the surface proteins is one way the older cells are identified. Cancer cells with the ability to produce excess surface sialyation may have an increased chance to metastasize and turn up somewhere else in the body. [13]
Our bodies need to be healthy and well enough nourished overall to keep the whole system working. The neuraminic acid is produced within our cells from other chemicals in a series of membranous channels called the endoplasmic reticulum and the golgi apparatus. The channels have embedded enzymes along the way somewhat like an assembly line in a factory.
Therapeutic glycoproteins are being developed and the problem of just the right amount of sialylation is one of the hurdles being studied. [2] In addition to the negative charge sialic acid tends to stabilize and stiffen the protein portion of the compound.  The proteins that line vessels were described to be somewhat like bottle-brushes; the protein being somewhat like the wire handle with the negatively charged sialic acid acting as bristles. [1]
/Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician./
References:

  1. S.A. Brooks, M. V. Dwek, U. Schumacher, Functional and Molecular Glycobiology, (BIOS Scientific Publishers, Ltd., 2002), Amazon.
  2. Bork K, Horstkorte R, Weidemann W., “Increasing the sialylation of therapeutic glycoproteins: the potential of the sialic acid biosynthetic pathway.” J Pharm Sci. 2009 Oct;98(10):3499-508. doi: 10.1002/jps.21684.  [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  3. R. T. Almaraz, et. al., “Metabolic Flux Increases Glycoprotein Sialylation: Implications for Cell Adhesion and Cancer Metastasis.” Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 July; 11(7): M112.017558. Published online 2012 March 28. doi:  10.1074/mcp.M112.017558 [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Title:  To termites, trees are kind of like giant sugar cubes (8/21/2013)
Sugar cubes contain the disaccharide sucrose which contains the monosaccharide fructose in addition to glucose. The cellulose portion of trees is made of long fairly straight chains of glucose with no fructose, so trees and sugar cubes aren’t really alike. The bonds between table sugar and tree fiber are at slightly different angles but different enzymes are needed to break them down during digestion. The straighter angle between the simple sugars of plant fiber allow the linked chains of glucose to line up with each other. The lined up fibers then can form layers a little like sheets of paper stacked in a book, except it would be a doughnut shaped book. Cellulose or other types of plant fiber is found in the cell walls of the leaves, stems and roots.
Chitin is similar strong chain of the simple sugar N-acetylglucosamine. The simple sugars in chitin and cellulose both have the slightly straighter beta angle than the bonds found in energy storage starches or polysaccharides. Termites [3] and the bacteria found in the stomach of grazing animals are able to digest the stronger beta bonds of cellulose. Humans and most other animals can’t digest them because a specific enzyme is needed.
Energy starches have alpha type bonds between the simple sugars. Alpha bonds connect at an angle that might twist into a spiral chain similar to the double helix spiral of DNA. The angled alpha bonds are also found in branching shapes of storage starches like glycogen or amylose. The sugar molecule at the end of each ‘branch’ is available for rapid digestion. Glycogen is the energy storage polysaccharide of glucose in animals and humans and amylose is the form of glucose storage used in plants. Glycogen is slightly more branched than amylose.
Tree bark and tree sap both contain glucose but the bark contains cellulose and the sap would have amylose or a similar alpha bonded energy storage starch. A shiny insect shell or seashells also are a type of sugar but not glucose. Shells contain N-acetyl-glucosamine in the form of chitin.
Supplements of glucosamine may be helpful for reducing joint pain. Studies have used 1500 mg/day. [2]
/Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician./
References:

  1. S.A. Brooks, M. V. Dwek, U. Schumacher, Functional and Molecular Glycobiology, (BIOS Scientific Publishers, Ltd., 2002), Amazon.
  2. “Questions and Answers: NIH Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial Primary Study,” National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [nccam.nih.gov]
  3. Nakashima K, Watanabe H, Saitoh H, Tokuda G, Azuma JI.,”Dual cellulose-digesting system of the wood-feeding termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki.” Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Jul;32(7):777-84. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Title: GPI anchors are cell membrane glycoproteins (8/27/13)
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins have one end that stays embedded firmly within the cell membrane and the other end can attach to a variety of important molecules such as enzymes and antigens. The enzyme or antigen is held above the cell membrane in a position that makes it available to be activated on the cell surface. The phosphatidylinositol end is lipid based and dissolves well in the fatty acid rich environment within the membrane. The glyco- or sugar part of the molecule is able to dissolve in water or form bonds with other proteins or carbohydrates.
GPI anchor proteins are essential for life. Mice that were experimentally made to lack the gene thought to encode for GPI anchor proteins did not survive. Experimental ‘knockout’ mice are usually observed to see what types of function the knocked out gene might have performed. The experiment showed that GPI anchors were necessary for survival. (Ref. 1, Brooks, Dwek, Schumacher, 2002, p 225)
GPI anchors are found in some types of G-protein couple receptors and may have importance within the cannabinoid receptor system.

  1. Brooks SA, Dwek MV, Schumacher U., Functional and Molecular Glycobiology, (Bios, 2002, Oxford, UK)
  2. Landry Y, Niederhoffer N, Sick E, Gies JP., Heptahelical and other G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) signaling., Curr Med Chem. 2006;13(1):51-63. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16457639]
  3. Maccarrone M, Bernardi G, […], and Centonze D., Cannabinoid receptor signalling in neurodegenerative diseases: a potential role for membrane fluidity disturbance., Br J Pharmacol. 2011 August; 163(7): 1379-1390 [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165948/]

Additional note:

GPI anchors

  1. Fujita M, Kinoshita T. “GPI-anchor remodeling: potential functions of GPI-anchors in intracellular trafficking and membrane dynamics.” Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Aug;1821(8):1050-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Jan 11.  Abstract: [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22265715] “and discuss how GPI-anchors regulate protein sorting, trafficking, and dynamics.”

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Food Additives, leaky intestinal membranes, and autoimmune disease

The newspapers that I set up using the paper.li website have been very informative. I added links to the papers that I created and to a few other newspapers hosted by the service on a page: [Virtual Stream Media]

One of the articles from today’s issue of The #Autoimmune Daily discusses seven types of commonly used food additives that may cause leaky intestinal membranes. Leaky bowel syndrome was a term that developed in association with food allergies but the problem may also be involved with the increased rates of autoimmune disease that have been occurring in the last twenty to thirty years. Intestinal membranes are thin to allow nutrient absorption but ideally would block allergens and other larger infectious material from being able to pass through to the more sterile environment of the blood stream.

Food additives may sound like minor trace chemicals but the list includes some very common additives and some newer creations: “glucose (a molecule of table sugar/sucrose, is made up of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose), salt, emulsifiers, organic solvents, gluten, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles.”

During digestion the emulsifiers and organic solvents that are used in many foods and beverages and in infant formula may also be emulsifying and dissolving the tight junctions between the cells that make up our intestinal membranes.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

The Glycocalyx, Our Jelly Filling

The glycocalyx is a free form matrix made up of a jelly like mixture of starches, fluid, ions and other goo. Gelatin desserts are well known examples of a free form matrix supported by the starch, pectin. The glycocalyx jelly layer may act like glue between cells or like sealant coating the interior and exterior of pipes in plumbing repair. It protects our surfaces around cells and the lining of blood vessels and organs. The stickiness allows cellular interactions to take place more easily between white blood cells and protein receptors found in cell membranes. Imagine trying to build a garden hose out of lettuce leaves and strawberry jam – that is kind of how a blood vessel is made.

A gelatin dessert is

The faster current in blood vessels can flow on while white blood cells can pause and perform tasks safely sticking in the slower goo of the glycocalyx layer. It reminds me of the muddy bottom of river beds where minnows hide and frogs lay eggs. The glycolipids and glycoproteins may be long and branching like sea-weed and algae and the fibrous mixture may be like a net, slowing down and trapping things flowing by in the blood stream or in other vessels like airways and the digestive track.

The inside of a jelly jar.

Our intestines are miles long and wide open to every passing food particle unless our cells are replaced regularly and are well coated with the glycocalyx layer. The digestive track has the shortest lived cells in the body. They are replaced every seven days on average – that is a lot of miles of cells for our white blood cells to patrol in order to identify the decaying ones and provide them a quick death by apoptosis.

Apoptosis is nature’s control over pre-cancerous, decaying cells. Well nourished white blood cells can recognize the old or infected cells, give them a little enzyme blast of death and then engulf the waste material, resulting in no inflammation or discomfort to us. It happens every day. Apoptosis requires the white blood cell to have nutrient building blocks for all the chemical steps in the process, and the white blood cell membrane has to join with the other cell membrane temporarily probably occurring within the glycocalyx layer.

The intestines also need plenty of fiber from our diets to build and rebuild the jelly layer coating its surfaces. Animal foods do not offer any fiber for building this protective layer and a diet high in meat and dairy and refined grains can leave the body more open to allergens and infection. Fiber is found in all plant foods and whole grains. A fiber pill or fortified food is unlikely to meet our need for a variety of different starches. Vine ripened produce has a higher content of some of the essential types of starches then produce that is picked early and forced to ripen with plant hormones. Frozen and canned vegetables are picked at peak ripeness and then processed rapidly. They lose some nutrients in processing but will retain value over time. Fresh produce will retain nutrient value longer when stored as recommended for the variety.

Some natural food sources of healthy types of fiber include: Carrots, apples, pears, pre-ripened peaches and nectarines, berries, cherries, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, peas, green beans, other beans, nuts, seeds, guava, turnips, mushrooms, corn, leeks, dark greens, fenugreek, aloe vera, slippery elm powder, marshmallow root, cinnamon, turmeric, horseradish and ginger. And other whole fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices would also be sources of fiber. It is found in all plant foods.

Glucosamine is one of the super starches. It is important within bone tissue and may help those with arthritis problems. A typical supplement size is a large 1500 mg capsule once a day or three 500 mg tablets. Supplemental glucosamine is usually extracted from shells of crustaceans and can be a risk if there is an allergy to seafood. Glucosamine derived from corn has been developed and hopefully will make it into a variety of foods soon. Glucosamine derived from corn is available as a vegan source of the supplement at Deva Nutrition: [devanutrition.com].

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

85. [dvd.sagepub.com] Noble, M., Drake-Hollan, A., Hyperglycaemia and the vascular glycocalyx: the key to microalbuminaria and cardiovascular disease in diabetes mellitus? (British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease 2010 10: 66) DOI: 10.1177/1474651409357035

86. [jasn.asnjournals] Singh, A., Satchell, S. C., Neal, C. R., McKenzie E A., Tooke, J E., and Mathieson P. W., Glomerular Endothelial Glycocalyx constitutes a Barrier to Protein Permeability, (J Am Soc Nephrol 18: 2885-2893, 2007.) DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2007010119) Full text

87. [nutritionj.com] Ramberg, J. E., Nelson, E. D., Sinnott, R. A., Immunomodulatory dietary polysaccharides: a systematic review of the literature, (Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:54) DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-9-54

89. [ncbi.nlm.nih.] Reitsma, S.,,et al The Endothelial glycocalyx: composition, functions, and visualization, (Pflugers Arch – Eur J Physiol (2007) 454:345-359) DOI 10.1007/s00424-007-0212-8

90. [ircres.ahajournals] Barakat, A. I., Dragging Along; the Glycocalyx and Vascular Endothelial Cell Mechanotransduction, (Circulation Research. 2008;102:747.748) 2008 American Heart Assoc.