The term “nucleotide” describes the substance (deoxy)nucleoside, which consists of a heterocyclic base and a sugar, phosphates. Not only are biopolymers DNA and RNA formed from them, but they are part of some cofactors (NAD, NADP, CoA, FAD, FMN). Nucleotides play an important role in cell metabolic signal transduction.

What is it?

Nucleotides make up DNA and RNA. In their sequences, one can recognize the genome, an archive of information necessary for life, which can be replicated ad infinitum. Nucleotides are also part of the molecules that transfer energy during carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism (for example, ATP, NADP, and NADH).

In addition, they are important in changing the intestinal bacterial microflora, affecting the maturation, activity, and proliferation of lymphocytes, the restoration of the damaged digestive tract, phagocytosis, and the restoration of liver tissue. Nucleotides are also a component of coenzymes. They are considered a semi-replaceable nutrient.

Nucleotides – Nutritional Element

Nucleotides are not considered an essential nutrient because they can be synthesized from compounds found in the body. However, it becomes a semi-replaceable nutritional element if the body does not get enough of it, for example during the growth period or in case of illness. Enterocytes, very rapidly renewing cells, poorly re-synthesize nucleotides, so it is believed to be useful to get them additionally with food, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome.

There are no known diseases that result from nucleotide deficiency. However, there are numerous articles describing the positive effects of exogenous nucleotides in various pathologies.

It is especially useful to receive an additional amount of nucleotides through milk when artificially feeding a newborn. The scientific community supports the supplementation of nucleotides with formula and parenteral nutrition because they are essential elements for the normal functioning of the human body. This is necessary because the immune system of a rapidly growing newborn is weaker than when breastfeeding.v

Worth knowing

The amount of nucleotides in the intestines leads to an increase in the thickness of the mucous membrane and accelerates recovery processes, especially in cases of constipation or diarrhea, by 25 percent. lengthens the intestinal villi, stimulates the activity of enzymes, improves the absorption of nutrients, and promotes the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

Experiments conducted with animals show that the additional supply of nucleotides affects many parameters of the immune system. Nucleotide-free diet reduces cellular immunity and resistance to Candida albicans and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in mice, and parameters are normalized after adding nucleotides to the diet. Supplementation of nucleotides reduces the duration and severity of experimental diarrhea and also influences the recovery of the bacterial microflora.

Some human studies have shown that the body recovers faster from illness and heals faster.

in 1999 Baele et al. the review concluded that nucleotides are harmless to humans. Emphasis is placed on the positive effects of nucleotides in patients hospitalized after surgery or infectious diseases. Another review negatives the harmfulness of arginine, glutamine, and omega-3 consumption. It does not affect the growth of tumors in mice.

Another aspect worth paying attention to is related to athletes who experience long-term stress. They are more likely to have more severe respiratory illnesses such as coughs and colds. This involves stopping the production of IgA in saliva, which is the first line of defense against respiratory pathogens. Nucleotide supplementation has been shown to improve the immune response in these subjects.

Nucleotides and the immune response

Nucleotides are also involved in many aspects of cellular metabolism that determine growth and immune response.

However, the need for additional nucleotides depends on the stress experienced by the immune system during rapid growth, when nucleotides are lacking, or during disease, when the digestive tract is affected.

Of course, whether there is a different need for nucleotides in different physiological (for example, due to age) or pathological situations, compared to the usual dietary intake, needs to be clarified in order to better understand the relationship between nutrition and health.

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