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Educational Information Only.  No medical claims are intended or implied.


Trehalose is a naturally occurring sugar energy source with forty percent to forty-five percent (40% to 45%) the sweetness of sucrose. It is a white crystalline powder (trehalose dehydrate) produced from cornstarch by a patented enzymatic Hayashibara process. An independent panel of experts determined Trehalose to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in foods in accordance with current good manufacturing practices. This was submitted to the FDA and they responded with a “no objection” letter. Canada approved trehalose as a food in 2005; it is now approved in over 40 countries world wide.

Trehalose is consumed in very small amounts in a normal diet through eating mushrooms, honey, lobster, and foods produced using bakers and brewer’s yeast.

A clinical study performed in the UK showed that ninety-eight percent (98%) of the population had no problems with trehalose. The other two percent (2%) experienced only a little gas.

Studies show that trehalose strengthens the cell membrane in plants and animals where it is found naturally. More studies are needed to determine the benefits of trehalose in humans. The author hopes to substantiate his belief that human cell membrane is strengthened by the presence of trehalose. That fact has been proven in the lab where human cell membranes were put under extreme stress. Verification of the strengthening of human cell membrane with trehalose in living humans is needed. The significants of this finding, in the author's deduction, is that benefits in cell to cell communication could be improved because it is on and through the cell membrane that the glycoprotein receptor sites reside. Glycoprotein receptor sites on the cell surface have been likened to trees on the surface of the earth. Perhaps it is not too far fetched to consider the trehalose nourishment to the cell membrane as improving the “top soil” for the glycoprotein receptors.

Trehalose has been tested to produce lower insulin and blood glucose responses than glucose. This verifies that the disaccharide bond is not broken by the digestive system. Research is ongoing to elucidate the relationship between metabolic parameters and the potential energy and performance benefits of trehalose.

Charles Eschweiler, Director of Research and Technical Writer for The Endowment for Medical Research, made an interesting discovery through his ongoing literature research: sufferers of Huntington’s Chorea, a polyglutamine storage disorder with a genetic basis, benefit from the disaccharide trehalose. Among the science papers he reviewed were trehalose alleviates polyglutamine-mediated pathology in a mouse model of Huntington disease and Sweet Relief for Huntington Disease.

The same mechanism of action involving trehalose that worked in the Huntington’s Chorea genetic knockout mice study may also be at work with other similar conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease. Mr. Eschweiler also became aware that current research is ongoing with the United States Department of Defense to perfect a means of stabilizing battlefield blood supplies with trehalose. Trehalose is noted primarily for its association with desert life forms that can be fully dehydrated, yet be brought back to life even after an interval of as much as 2,500 years.

The trehalose structural formula is a non-reducing disaccharide of two glucose molecules bonded by a (alpha), (alpha)-1, 1 glycosidic link. Trehalose is stable at low pH conditions and is non-hygroscopic, which results in a free-flowing dry crystal that is stable to ninety-four percent (94%) humidity. It has a clean profile, which means it has no aftertaste.

Note: The editor is sorry that this software does not allow for scientific symbols to be displayed here. Instead, a (alpha) is inserted. You pay request a pdf file of this article.

Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by J. C. Spencer

Last Updated ( May 05, 2008 at 05:26 PM )