Why does the small, red fruit of Lycium barbarum, the Ningxia wolfberry, hold such healing and immune-stimulating power? Looking beyond marketing hype to hard science, could the power of this berry reside in its protein and polysaccharide content? Are proteins and polysaccharides a new “dynamic duo?”
To better understand the science of polysaccharides, it is important to review some classifications. Saccharides are sugars. Researchers call a single sugar a “monosaccharide.” Several (up to six) are called “oligosaccharides.” Many saccharides joined in a long-chain are called “polysaccharides.”
All of these molecules are complex carbohydrates (sugars). An important fact to keep in mind is that not all sugars are sweet-some are actually bitter. Also important to note is the fact that, unlike unhealthy refined white sugar, the Ningxia wolfberry sugars have many health benefits.
In just the last decade, scientists have discovered vital roles that saccharides fill that were not even dreamed of in years past.
For instance, it is saccharides that determine whether you are the blood type O, A, B, or AB.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was quoted in the February 2003 edition of Technology Review saying that glycobiology (the biology of sugar) was “one of the ten emerging technologies that will change the world.”
Glycobiology is one of the last scientific frontiers to be conquered. Glycobiologists coined the term “glycoimmunology” in 1990 to express the growing importance of immune-stimulating and supportive glyconutrients.
A group of more than forty academics from a number of disciplines called The Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG) has been given a $34 million grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to unlock the code to sugar structures so they can be synthesized into drugs to boost the immune system and heal disease. (Remember, because food cannot be patented, the pharmaceuticals study what works in nature and then attempt to recreate the natural compounds synthetically.)
The Modern Diet and Missing Sugars
We know that certain vitamins are absolutely necessary for good health. Similarly, there are eight essential sugars (monosaccharides) crucial to intelligent interactions between the cells of the body. Six of these essential saccharides (sugars) are not commonly found in Western diets. Glucose and galactose are found in abundance in Western diets. Xylose, mannose, fucose (not fructose!), n-acetylglucosamine, n-acetylgalactosamine, and n-acetylneuramic acid are not.
These eight saccharides serve as building blocks in the manufacturing of large molecules called glycoforms that cover the surface of all cells and are also found in interior cell membranes. When combined with fats, the molecules are called glycolipids. Combined with proteins, the molecules are called glycoproteins. (“Glyco” is the Greek word for “sweet.”)
Glycoforms are known to perform three important functions in the body:
• They enable cellular communication
• They identify possible invaders
• They permit diseased cells to be scavenged by cleansing blood cells1
It is crucial that the cells in our bodies have saccharides in order to communicate with each other. Emil I. Mondoa, M.D., in his book Sugars That Heal, calls saccharides “multicellular intelligence.”
At one time, researchers thought that communication between cells was carried out by the proteins in glycoproteins-that the sugars that accompanied the protein were just a nuisance. What they understand now is that while the proteins play an important role in cell communication, the number of messages they create is limited.
Proteins Can Send Morse Code – Polysaccharides the Entire Oxford Dictionary!
Dr. Mondoa suggests a comparison between protein and saccharide messages:
• Two identical amino acids (building blocks of protein) can combine to form one biochemical message; 2=1
• Two identical monosaccharides can form eleven message molecules; 2=11
• Four different amino acids can form 24 distinct molecules; 4=24
• Four different saccharides can combine into 35,560 distinct molecules called tetrasaccharides; 4=35,560!
Scientists now understand that each of these 35,560 tetrasaccharides can be called a letter in the language of cellular communication.
As cells touch, they “talk” to each other by means of the glycoproteins on each cell. In this way alien cells (bacteria, viruses, and allergens) are identified. Without this vital “early-warning” communication, the immune system cannot function properly.
If our bodies are deprived of the correct raw material needed to form the cell-to-cell communication language, miscommunication occurs. By giving our bodies straw instead of bricks, we may be allowing our structure to be vulnerable to the strong winds of illness! Disease may simply be the result of wrong messages sent, or a warning that should have gone out to the immune system but didn’t.
What happens if our bodies receive only artificial, man-made sugars? Will cellular language be corrupted; Will incorrect messages be sent? What if our bodies need the essential saccharides xylose or mannose for a particular message and our diet lacks these sugars?
Young Living’s Ningxia wolfberry polysaccharides are composed of the essential sugars glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose, as well as two other valuable saccharides, arabinose and rhamnose.
And amazingly, the powerful Ningxia wolfberry is also packed with protein.
Rocket-Powered Immune Boosters!
In the petite yet powerful Ningxia wolfberry, whey protein and saccharide combine, a glyconutrient “dynamic duo” is formed that powers-up the immune system.
These glyconutrients are absolutely essential for a finely honed immune system. A study in the European Journal of Pharmacology reported that the polysaccharide-protein complex from Lycium barbarum increased the activity of cytokines, the body’s immune messengers. The study showed that this protein-sugar complex increased interleukin-2 cells, a specific cytokine weapon in the body’s defense arsenal. 2
In fact, of the twenty-three studies on PubMed (the National Library of Medicine) exploring the wide range of benefits of wolfberry polysaccharides, six relate specifically to boosting immune function.3,4,5,6,7 Wolfberry polysaccharide studies are at the forefront of immunology research. And the Ningxia wolfberry is known as the cream of the crop.
The Protein and Polysaccharide Building Blocks in Wolfberries
Think about what you give your body in the way of building blocks when you have a daily drink of Berry Young Juice®. Take a minute and think this through. Of course you would expect a fruit such as the wolfberry to have sugars (saccharides). But protein? The Ningxia wolfberry is over 16 percent protein. There are 35.6 grams of protein in eight ounces of wolfberries. How often do you find fruit with significant protein?
The wolfberry polysaccharides already contain the elements necessary for those “sweet-talking” glycoforms. Ningxia wolfberry long-chain polysaccharides also include 18 amino acids, (the components that make up protein). Truly, wolfberry polysaccharides provide the building blocks for the intricate language of life.
Just think of the communication power of Berry Young Juice! Not only does it provide the body with a full complement of antioxidants and vitamins, but it also provides many of the glyconutrients needed for correctly communicating the billions of messages needed to keep the body functioning optimally.
The Protective Process
Since most of us do not live in the Ningxia province of China, can we be sure we’re getting the full power of the Ningxia wolfberry? Yes! Young Living has secured a patented process in Ningxia that protects the polysaccharides, ensuring that what is in your bottle of Berry Young Juice is as close to the fresh wolfberry as possible.
This protective process is why the Ningxia wolfberry polysaccharides in Berry Young Juice are such powerful antioxidants. In a number of ORAC tests (that show the ability to counteract free-radicals), Berry Young Juice outscores all competitors. Gently folding together the Ningxia wolfberries with blueberry, raspberry, pomegranate, and apricot juices, along with blue agave nectar and the essential oils of lemon and orange, keeps the power in this superjuice!
The Power in a Tiny Red Berry!
Scientists take a deserved pat on the back for the thirteen-year effort to identify all 100,000 genes in human DNA. But these same researchers are overwhelmed at the 50 to 100 trillion cells that make up the human body. No human society has ever designed anything so complex.
The medical paradigm today is for the pharmaceutical industry to isolate, patent, and synthetically replicate one disease-fighting molecule at a time. Yet to duplicate the intricate cellular communication process is simply beyond their capabilities.
Meanwhile, the complex code that makes up life’s language is supported by the rare and powerful Ningxia wolfberry polysaccharides in Berry Young Juice.
We are just beginning to understand how the power of whole foods continues to restore and build the human body. Berry Young Juice harnesses the power of the Ningxia wolfberry to replenish and refuel the body![toggle title=”Notes”] 1. Sweet Nutrition News, 1 Match 2003, Volume 2003, Numbet 2. www.avanttex.com/resources/Sweet2003-2.html
2. Gan L, Zhang SH, Liu Q, Xu HB, “A polysaccharide-protein complex from Lycium barbarum upregulates cytokine expression in human petipheral blood mononuclear cells,” Eur J Pharmacol 2003 Jun27;471 (3):217-22.
3. Gan L, et aI., “Immunomodulation and antitumor activiry by a polysaccharide-protein complex from Lycium barbarum,” Int Immunopharmacol. 2004 Apt;4(4):563-9.
4. Xu Y, He L, Xu L, Liu Y, “Advances in immunophatmacological study of Lycium barbarum.,” Zhong Yao Cai. 2000 May;23(5):295-8.
5. Duan CL, et al., “Studies on the active polysaccharides from Lycium barbarum.,” Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2001 Mat;36(3): 196-9.
6. Luo Q, et al., “Effects of pure and crude Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on immunopharmacology,” Zhong Yao Cai. 1999 May;22(5):246-9.
7. Huang L, Lin Y, Tian G, Ji G, “Isolation, purification and physicochemical properties of immunoactive constituents from the fruit of Lycium barbarum.,” Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1998 Jul;33(7):512-6. [/toggle] Reprinted with permission of Young Living, Lehi, UT 84043