Ingredients > Polysaccharides

Polysaccharide: Top Health Benefits For A Healthy Lifestyle

What Is Polysaccharide?

When it comes to the definition of a polysaccharide, it’s relatively simple: a polysaccharide is one larger molecule that is made of several smaller molecules called monosaccharides. Basically, monosaccharides are simple sugars, such as glucose. Your body contains special enzymes that bind together the smaller monomers (or monosaccharides), thereby creating larger sugar polymers, known as polysaccharides.1

Another name for polysaccharide is “glycan” or “complex carbohydrate.” There can be different types of polysaccharides. For instance, you can have a homopolysaccharide, where all of the little monosaccharides are the same. Or you can also have heteropolysaccharides. These are polysaccharides in which the monosaccharides are varied. Polysaccharides can take on a whole variety of different forms.2

For instance, molecules with straight chains of monosaccharides are called linear polysaccharides. But those with a monosaccharide chain that has arms and turns are referred to as branched polysaccharides.3

History Of Polysaccharide

As it turns out, there are a bunch of different ways in which one can classify polysaccharides. The most common system of organization is to divide them by their sources — do they come from a plant or animal? For example, you can divide polysaccharides into plant or animal-based molecules. Then, you can further divide them into the following categories:

  • Skeletal polysaccharides like cellulose
  • Reserve polysaccharides like starch
  • Gums and mucilages
  • Algal polysaccharides
  • Bacterial polysaccharides4

And the list goes on. Now, when it comes to function, several reviews mention that polysaccharides can help store energy.5 

Interestingly, when side chains of monosaccharides form hydrogen bonds with themselves, water cannot invade the molecules. This makes them hydrophobic, which can allow molecules to stay clumped together. Hydrophobia lowers the sugar content in a given cell, making room for more sugar to be taken in. The process can influence a cell’s intake of water and other nutrients.6



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