- Fructose is a key energy molecule in human nutrition but too much appears highly problematic for the way our immune system works.
A high sugar fructose diet is thought according to clinical research to upset the proper functioning of our immune system. The mechanism by which it does so is still being worked on.
Studies by the Universities of Bristol and Swansea with the Francis Crick Institute in London have established there is inflammation of the immune system when the fructose content of the diet is too high.
Fructose is a natural molecule found in most fruit but also included in a range of other food products such as sugary drinks, sweets, and processed foods. It is a very common ingredient of many foods in fact.
In biochemical energy pathways fructose follows two pathways in glycolysis by either (1) using the enzyme ketohexokinase to produce fructose-1-phosphate. This molecule is processed further via aldolase B in the kidneys, intestines and primarily liver. The second route is catalytic conversion to fructose-6-phosphate using hexokinase.
The issue with high fructose diets is their association with health problems such as metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity and type-2 diabetes. All these conditions have been on the rise throughout both developed and developing nations as the diet shifts.
In the new study published in Nature Communications, it appears that inflammation rises as the amounts of fructose consumed increases. Inflammations damages a host of tissues and cell types and is probably linked to the range of conditions referenced. Inflammation itself produces a range of damaging molecules although inflammation in itself also has positive consequences for the way the body repairs itself.
Low level inflammation is associated with obesity in particular.