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What is Fucose?

By Traci Behringer
Updated: Feb 23, 2024

Fucose is an essential hexose deoxy sugar the human body needs to optimally communicate from cell to cell. Simply put, it plays an important role in transmitting information in the brain. Research studies show that this sugar stimulates brain development and can also influence the brain to be able to create long-term memories. This is further supported by studies in which doctors inhibited protein containing fucose; amnesia was the result.

Fucose is found in a number of places in the human body. Its location in the male testes suggests that it may play an important role during reproduction. Also found in the epidermis, it may help in maintaining skin hydration. Beyond these locations, this sugar is found at the articulation between each nerve, in the tubules of the human kidney, and in significant quantities in human breast milk.

It's important not to confuse this with the similar sounding fructose. While both are sugars that can be commonly found in the body, fructose is a simple monosaccharide sugar found in many foods. For example, you can find a high amount of fructose in baby food, salad dressing, blackberries, tree fruits, honey and even some root vegetables. On the other hand, fucose, as previously stated, can be found in the human body naturally.

Studies also show that fucose may play a role in certain diseases, such as cancer and its infection method. Though research is not yet conclusive, there is promise shown for using fucose to inhibit both breast cancer and leukemia, in addition to tumor growth, in general. Some studies have even gone as far as to conclude that this hexose deoxy sugar seems to be among the most effective sugars at attempting to prevent cancer cells from growing.

Research indicates that even taking in fucose in extremely high amounts does not seem to present any real ill side effects, though recommendations are that the average 150-pound (68.2 kg) human adult can safely handle 34 grams of this sugar on a daily basis. During urination, fucose leaves the body, so people who urinate frequently can experience a deficiency in fucose. People with rheumatoid arthritis also generally are deficient in this kind of sugar. Many people opt to take supplements to ensure they have the right amount in their body. Seaweeds such as kelp, beer yeast, and medicinal mushrooms are also a good alternative to supplements and for people who have difficulty taking pills.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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