Dark Biology, White Blood
Some are calling it the dark matter of biology, because it is in between and around every cell that we have, yet we were not seeing it. Hippocrates found rivers of it in our bodies, our lymphatic system, and called it white blood. Possibly the most complex part of biological systems, and so much more abundant than our proteome, science is learning to appreciate the glue of life - the glycome.
There are a multitude of glycans, very, very long carbohydrates, that create our glycome. They modify how your cells do things rather than what they do. None of the lipidome, proteome would work without the glycome! The glycome is the tail that wags the dog, and we have been ignoring it, just because it is colourless , sticky and complicated for chemists.
Don't underestimate slime - it is your best defence
Historically, all of the liquidy, sticky, oozy things in nature, mucous, bodily fluids, slime – was regarded by chemists as just complex sticky stuff. Indeed when we were wounded, clinicians and scientists used to refer to the ooze that entered the wound from our bodies as interstitial fluid, the wet stuff between biology. But now we have come to realise that this wet stuff between cells is actually what we are mostly made of. It is controlled in part by our lymph system, which for a long time has come in second place compared to our blood system, and been regarded as a waste drain.
Nothing could be further from reality. Glycans are the secret force that is our signature of defence to the world. Your lymph system is the river of white blood that is your front line of defence. A lymph node is simply a reader of glycan signals. It is here that you immune system will mount a response to attack based on the glycan codes that are coming in from your body.
The invisible giants in the matrix
You would have heard of some of the frontrunners in the human glycome…. hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate and heparin. These glycome members are central to our tissue structure throughout our body. In fact, if these glycans are missing a genetic recipe, then there are some serious chronic diseases that arise, such as joint hyper-mobility or Ehrlers-Danlos Syndrome. We used to think that Ehrlers-Danlos syndrome was a disease of collagen malformation, that can lead to collapse of tissue structure and function, such as in the walls of our gut; however, it isn’t. It is lack of the glycan, dermatan sulfate, that is responsible for creating the matrix that organises collagen structure.
Supporting our health
Now we understand a plethora of inherited and lifestyle disorders that are caused by a malfunction in one way or another by these core glycans, as well as thousands upon thousands of small glycan signatures. We need these signatures to work for us and if they don't it can lead to a reduced immune system, bipolar disorders, epilepsy and malformation of important tissues including the heart and kidneys. Doctors can inject glycans in certain instances if we need it, such as after my own personal trauma injuries of descalping required regular injections of heparin to keep the blood flowing while I healed.
Heparin is also being used in some trials, alongside seaweed glycans, to prevent Corona Virus invading our cells by sticking to it. Heparin and some seaweed gels are the most negatively charged molecules known, and these simply bind electrostatically to positively charge molecules of the virus. This is how we use our own supercharged seaweed molecules in our skin care range for stripping away impurities. Some surgeons are injecting hyaluronic acid into joints to try and prevent the progression of cartilage damage. But your glycome signature is also affected by what you do in life, how you eat, sleep, exercise and learn.
Our personalised signatures of life
The thousands of glycans that surround our cells, flow through our rivers of white blood in the lymphatic system, and create our tissue matrix of life, actually take on a very complex coded signature.
Our blood types are indeed a signature of the glycome, that starts being coded at the level of the genome. What is even more amazing, is that the way we live our life will create more codes and signatures of complexity than our genes ever will. These signatures can even indicate our state of health. Researchers have found over 18 glycan signatures that are related to Type II diabetes, that could even be used predict your susceptibility to developing diabetes before the onset of any symptoms.
Glycome for breakfast, lunch and dinner
We also need to eat a rich glycome. Indeed our whole gut ecosystem and important bacteria thrive on a diet of glycans from fruits (pectin), grains (beta-glucan), animal products (bone broth = glycan juice) and even the glycan excreted from our own gut cells. Why do you think the Chinese believe that shark fin soup is good for you – because it is full of glycans. But you don't need to go there to get your glycans; and please don't! Our seaweed has a unique glycan that is so similar to that of shark fin glycans, and a dose of Phybre in your morning oats will load you with the most diverse range of glycans for the day. Our Phettuccine makes the glycan complexity of a Mediterranen diet shine. And we have new product development in progress with new ways to glycan your diet.
Strengthen your glycome shield today, with every step you take in life.