Two molecules of glucose build trehalose, also known as tremalose or mycose. Bacteria, plants, fungi, and insects use it as an energy source and a guard against extreme conditions.
Trehalose enables some species to survive up to 99% dehydration and complete freezing. Insects also use it as flight fuel because it releases two molecules of glucose and gives twice as much energy.
- Provides energy
- Helps with dry eye
- Useful in the food industry
- May protect the brain, nerves, and liver
- Might be a good sugar substitute
Is Trehalose a Reducing Sugar?
No, it’s not. In trehalose, two reducing groups of glucose form a (1,1-glycosidic) bond and thus lose their reducing properties. This bond makes trehalose resistant to harsh changes in temperature and acidity.
Trehalose can bind water and retain moisture, which makes trehalose eye drops a popular choice for dry eye. Skin care products, quick-dissolving tablets, and some advanced biological drugs also contain trehalose.
Brain and Nerves
Researchers examined the effects of trehalose on animal and cellular models of brain-damaging diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease. It was able to:
- Stimulate autophagy
- Reduce protein mutations and brain inflammation
- Raise the levels of protective proteins: progranulin and BDNF
- Improve symptoms
- Increase survival
In healthy and obese mice, trehalose lowered blood insulin spikes and insulin resistance, prevented fat accumulation, and protected the heart from damage.
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