Saturday, October 29, 2022

Mucopolysaccharides (glycosaminoglycans)

Mucopolysaccharides are long chains of sugar molecules that are found throughout the body, often in mucus and in fluid around the joints. Mucopolysaccharides are glycosamino-glycans, i.e., heteropolysaccharides composed of hexosamines and non-nitrogenous sugars linked by glycosidic bonds; some also contain various substituent groups.

Glycosaminoglycans are involved in a variety of extracellular and intracellular functions. For example; Heparin is a glycosaminoglycan which contains the highest net negative charge of the disaccharides and acts as a natural anticoagulant substance.

While collagen provides strength and support to tendons and ligaments, glycosaminoglycans are the glue that hold them together and allows for the flexibility of movement. Glycosaminoglycans are made by human body intrinsically and have various functions—from immune system support to gut health to lubricating joints.

When the body cannot break down mucopolysaccharides or glycosaminoglycans, a condition called mucopolysaccharidoses occurs. Mucopolysaccharidoses refers to a group of inherited disorders of metabolism.

Based on the difference of repeating disaccharide units comprising GAGs, they can be categorized into four main groups: heparin/heparan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate, keratan sulfate, and hyaluronan.

Foods high in glycosaminoglycans include slimy, mucousy foods and plants—aloe, slippery elm, oysters, oatmeal, okra and various fruits.
Mucopolysaccharides (glycosaminoglycans)

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