Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Glyconutrients? None For Me, Thanks

Recently there has been some back and forth discussion on some CF blogs regarding the benefits of glyconutrients. Although some people feel very strongly about this "natural" approach to treating CF by means of nutritional supplements, I for one am not convinced that this is a beneficial route to take. Certainly there are benefits of supplementing the diet, especially for those of us who have pancreatic insufficiency, but based on what I've read, I'm not willing to fill my cupboards with more pills or supplements on the off-chance that they might work.

Here are what some highly reputable websites have to say about glyconutrients:

The Mayo Clinic

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (US)

Most of what I have read regarding glyconutrients is in the context of treating children with CF, and possibly those who are too young to eat properly to ingest the recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals. As an adult I make sure to eat a well balanced diet, one that provides me with as many of the biochemicals my body needs to function properly.

Until more research is available, the safety and long term benefits are assessed and this supplementation approach is endorsed by the CF Foundation, I'm going to "just say no" to the glyconutrient regime and stick with the vitamin supplements my doctor recommends. I trust his evaluation far more than that of a company that is just looking to make a buck.

I think that you should do more research and checkout Harpers Biochemistry and also the Physicians desk reference
Harper's Biochemistry, chapter 56 discusses the 8 glyconutrients and their role in how the body functions. As a former biochemistry major, I'm not disputing the science and chemistry behind it. I'm disputing the so-called "truth" that this stuff works particularly for Cystic Fibrosis patients. Several hundreds of physicians may be using this for their patients for a variety of reasons (cancer patients, ADHD, fibromyalgia) but there has not been conclusive evidence from a study of this approach with CF.

According to what I've read, the use of glyconutrients has been examined in a scientifically validated study. For those of you who are unfamilar with medical research terminology, this is not the same as a scientifically proven study. A validation study means that they are able to get repeatable results within a large enough sampling popluation, all under similar conditions.

Show me a scientifically proven, double-blind study, carried out on an adult population of CF patients, and then I'll be willing to expand my horizons. Until then, I'm closing the book on this matter.
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