Harvard Women's Health Watch

By the way, doctor: Should I supplement my diet with Ambrotose?

Q. What do you know about the health supplement Ambrotose? I looked it up on the Internet, where it's described as an "advanced glyconutrient."

A. The term "glyconutrient" sounds impressive, but it simply means sugar (glyco) that the body can use (nutrient). Ambrotose is a combination of eight sugars the body uses to make glycoproteins (proteins with sugar molecules attached). Proponents claim that Ambrotose has beneficial effects on conditions ranging from sleep, memory, and mental disorders to hypertension, asthma, and allergies. On the basis of limited research in cell cultures, they also say that it boosts the immune system. There's no good evidence to back any of these claims.

Glycoproteins are important in communication between cells. Although they're required for normal biological functioning, our bodies make all we need from the food we eat. Except for a few people with rare genetic conditions, there's no evidence that humans are deficient in glycoproteins, and there are no controlled studies showing that "glyconutrients" can help treat or prevent any disorder.

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