Is it True That Glyconutrients Cure Lyme Disease?

The following is a well written article with an unbiased view on Gulyconutrients: According to Wikipedia (hopefully unbiased) Ambrotose, Mannatech’s lead product is “a glyconutritional dietary supplement ingredient consisting of a blend of monosaccharides, or sugar molecules.

The following is a well written article with an unbiased view on Gulyconutrients:

According to Wikipedia (hopefully unbiased) Ambrotose, Mannatech’s lead product is “a glyconutritional dietary supplement ingredient consisting of a blend of monosaccharides, or sugar molecules.”

I still hadn’t made the connection between Ambrotose and gluconutrients – no, I must admit to missing Bryan Rosner’s blog post before he was forced to remove it, but his website is

covered with ads for Ambrotose so I don’t think I’m too far off in my assumption that he supports the product as a valid protocol for chronic Lyme disease.

As I began to look further into the company that manufactures Ambrotose, I found that it is a Multi-Level-Marketing company that went public in 1999.  I was surprised to learn that from 1999, the profitable company eventually posted a net loss in 2006 and the shares dropped to a low of $2 in 2008.

Aside from the financial instability,

there appear to be a number of pending lawsuits and a long list of angry doctors who feel that Mannatech’s marketing department took liberties with factual test data versus wishful thinking.  In fact many of the lawsuits arise from “trials” that were not reported accurately.

I will try to keep all of the information as it pertains to Lyme disease and the symptoms of chronic and/or neurological Lyme disease.

One of the highest ranked websites on  Ambrotose was created by Dr. Ray Sahanian


Glycobiology. 2008 Sep; Schnaar RL, Freeze HH. Department

of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

The discipline of glycobiology contributes to our understanding of human health and disease through research, most of which is published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Recently, legitimate discoveries in glycobiology have been used as marketing tools to help sell plant extracts termed “glyconutrients.”

The glyconutrient industry has a worldwide sales force of over half a million

people and sells nearly half a billion dollars (USD) of products annually. Here we address the relationship between glyconutrients and glycobiology, and how glyconutrient claims may impact the public and our discipline.

Humans studies regarding a Mannatech glyconutrient products:

There are some early studies being conducted with these products that I have listed below.

Before claims are made that Mannatech glyconutrients treat or cure

ADHD, cancer, immune dysfunction, lupus, etc, it would be helpful to see at least a few of long term double blinded placebo controlled human studies conducted by independent researchers who are not on the payroll of glyconutrient manufacturers.

I am not referring to studies with various monosaccharides, polysaccharides, arabinogalactans, glycoconjugates and other molecules containing sugar chains such as in glycoproteins, glycolipids, and proteoglycans. I am referring to the Mannatech glyconutrients,

“the eight essential sugars” that are promoted as cure alls.

Cognition and memory


Percept Mot Skills. 2009 Feb; Stancil AN, Hicks LH. Howard University, 2400 Sixth Street N.W., Washington, DC 20059, USA.

Neuropsychological tests were administered to 62 college students to assess the influence of glyconutrients on perception, cognition and memory in two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced studies.

Participants were given both a

glyconutritional supplement and a control substance prior to testing. In Exp. 1. a Same-Different visual discrimination task, Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices, and the Stroop test were administered. In Exp. 2, simple and complex working-memory capacity were measured.

Participants receiving the supplement performed significantly more accurately on the visual discrimination task and the first session of the simple working-memory test.

Comments: There are dozens of inexpensive and easily

available over the counter herbs and nutrients that influence memory and mental abilities. Examples include acetyl l carnitine, ginkgo biloba, DMAE, choline, cdp-choline, vinpocetine, fish oils, certain B vitamins, etc.

One could easily use these or others and most will be less expensive.

Dr. Sahanian’s opinion:

One in vitro study shows glyconutrients stimulate the immune system.

This really does not give us much information on how glyconutrients, and

in what dosage, would have an influence on the immune system in humans when ingested as a supplement.

Furthermore, there are countless varieties of glyconutrient molecules and glycunutrient molecule combinations within an herbal product.

The immune system is extremely complicated with countless cells and substances, tissues and organs, all communicating in unimaginably complicated interactions.

As an aside, there are countless herbs and supplements that have an influence on the immune


For the time being, I am not in a position to recommend the use of a Mannatech glyconutrient supplement to enhance the immune system or for other purposes.

There are many more nutrients and herbs that have been studied more thoroughly.  Even the ones that have been studied more thoroughly are not understood that well.

There are hundreds of different glyconutrients and glyconutrient combinations in a variety of different dosages (assuming scientists agree on the definition of a

glyconutrient or even feel the need to use such a term). We have no idea on how these interact with each person’s immune system.

Some people may benefit by taking a glyconutrient supplement while another person may find it harmful or get a side effect.

To complicate matters further, there could be a short term benefit but, prolonged use could lead to overstimulation of the immune system and could potentially reverse any initial benefit.

The whole issue of glyconutrient supplementation

is very complicated and if you hear of promotional material that makes it appear simple,

be skeptical.

I suggest you

be even more skeptical

if you hear of cure all promises and endless testimonials that tout the benefits of glyconutrients. Most of the time testimonials are made up by the marketers selling the products.

In brief, the use of the term glyconutrients is unnecessary and does not help the advancement of nutritional research.

Following are

some of the responses Dr. Sahanian has received in response to his research regarding glyconutrients:

Dear Dr. Sahanian:

I am a retired medical doctor and read your web page on glyconutrient with great interest and have several comments that you may find helpful.

If you look at the compositions of these glyconutrients (gum tragacanth, gum ghatti, arabinogalactan, aloe vera gel polysaccharides) you will note they are gums and fibers. These plant polysaccharides are soluble fiber

and are not digestible. Therefore, their sugars could never be released and absorbed by the body.

These fiber are destined to be fermented by the colonic bacteria in the gut where they are used as nutrients to make more bacteria. No study has ever shown that the human body absorbs sugars from a diet of fiber.

Mannatech makes the sugars appear to be necessary and also essential by telling people they are no longer in the modern diet. The truth is that these glycontutrient sugars can be obtained

in the modern diet from the glycoforms that cover every cells, but these sugars are most likely made by the body from other sugars. They say these glycontutrient sugars are needed for optimal health.

There has never been a study that shows taking more of these sugars has any health maintaining purpose. Mannatech brandishes every piece of scientific literature on glycoscience and glycomics as validating their product when in fact these paper have absolutely nothing to do with their glycontutrient


This is a flagrant, although clever and deceptive, example of falsely misleading the consumer. It certainly puts a black mark on the otherwise legitimate dietary supplement industry and needs to be addressed.

This is a quote from a September 2006 newspaper article on glyconutrients written by Denny Robbins for the Star-Telegram: “These and other issues have caused outrage among some advocacy groups, and brought scrutiny from at least two state attorneys general, a class-action lawsuit

and questions from some of the world’s pre-eminent scientists.

“My blood boils when I think about all the desperate people who have taken this stuff on,” said Hudson Freeze, a professor of glycobiology at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, Calif.””There are authentic, scientific studies that have looked at people drinking these kinds of materials, and it doesn’t really do anything except increase flatulence.”

Independent research states that the body

cannot digest Ambrotose, as it lacks the enzymes needed. Prominent glycobiologist Dr Ronald Schnarr of Johns Hopkins told


in a June 1, 2007 interview, “All of the sugar building blocks that we need in our body are made from the most common foods we eat.”

UC Berkley has a Wellness Guide that publishes this about glyconutrients:

Sold primarily by the supplement manufacturer Mannatech under the product line Ambrotose, glyconutrients contain eight

monosaccharides (that is, simple carbohydrates, or sugars).

Mannatech alleges that our diets are lacking in all but two—glucose and galactose—of these sugars. It is true that sugars are not just “empty” calories but do, in fact, play an essential role in many biological functions, including cell-to-cell communication and immunity.

There’s actually an emerging and important field of science, called glycobiology, which explores the function of carbohydrates in health and disease. But glyconutrient

marketers have no basis for saying that consuming sugars in supplements has health benefits.

Claims, purported benefits: Enhances the immune system and treats a wide range of medical conditions, from diabetes and high cholesterol to psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.

[and Lyme disease according to some enthusiastic salespeople.]

Bottom line:

Our bodies are able to convert the sugars in foods (such as fruits and vegetables) from one form to the other forms as


There is no evidence that toxins, stress, drugs, or other factors interfere with the conversion process, as the marketers of glyconutrients claim. There is no evidence that relying on our bodies to create the sugars instead of ingesting them in food or glyconutrient supplements causes any problems.

Glyconutrient marketers provide long lists of studies that supposedly support the use of glyconutrients for all kinds of medical conditions, as well as for general health.

But these

are unpublished conference presentations, anecdotes, and lab or animal studies, or they are from obscure journals of questionable reputation.

No well-designed research shows any health benefits for glyconutrient supplements or suggests that glyconutrient supplements live up to any of the claims or are useful in treating any medical condition.

Don’t waste your money on these expensive products.”

(UC Berkley Wellness Guide)

My final thoughts on

glyconutrients are along the same line as other alternative protocols.  Our bodies are so unique, and our immune systems are not fully understood by top immunologists.  Lyme disease in its many presentations refuses to respond uniformly to even the strongest antibiotics.  So why would we expect that it would respond uniformly to glyconutrients?

If you are taking the product and feel better, that is what matters most…your personal results. As I repeat in articles and to friends – the protocol

that works without a hitch for one person may be a disaster for someone else.

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3 Responses to Is it True That Glyconutrients Cure Lyme Disease?

  1. patty says:

    I am amazed that you went to great extent to tell us won’t work…I am really tired of the traditional doctors that do everything to put down nutritional supplements but do nothing to help people get better. Really sick of this. What are you doing to help people that traditional medicine has no answer for????

  2. Chris galant says:

    great lengths indeed to comdem a study in it’s infantcy …
    If anti biotics don’t work … Then how on earth can simple sugars?
    Obviously the writer suffers from anger issues and grand dillusions of western medicine NOT being harmful for you.
    Antibiotics are well known to be very bad for the body. But thank you for yet another attack on an honourable naturally oriented mlm company (the only way things that work can survive in this dog eat dog world)
    Reminds me of … Rick Simpsons (run from the cure)

    • Jenna Smith says:

      LOL! These complex issues are beyond frustrating for those of us who HAD a life we want back and find no traditional support…so many scams, clinics that charge ten times what they could – greed over compassion…yet there are many who are really trying to solve these problems and I continue to be an optimist hoping for a real cure in the next decade.

      Hope you are well Chris!

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