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Galactose (Gal) (also called brain sugar) is a type of sugar which is less sweet than glucose and not very water-soluble. It is considered a nutritive sweetener because it has food energy.
Galactan is a polymer of the sugar galactose. It is found in hemicellulose and can be converted to galactose by hydrolysis.
Additional recommended knowledge
Relationship to lactose
Galactose is a monosaccharide constituent, together with glucose, of the disaccharide lactose. The hydrolysis of lactose to glucose and galactose is catalyzed by the enzyme lactase, a β-galactosidase. In the human body, glucose is changed into galactose in order to enable the mammary glands to secrete lactose.
Two studies have suggested a possible link between galactose in milk and ovarian cancer. Other studies show no correlation, even in the presence of defective galactose metabolism. More recently, pooled analysis done by the Harvard School of Public Health showed no specific correlation between lactose containing foods and ovarian cancer, and showed statistically insignificant increases in risk for consumption of lactose at ≥30 g/d. More research is necessary to ascertain possible risks.
There are some ongoing studies which suggest that galactose may have a role in treatment of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (a kidney disease resulting in kidney failure and proteinuria). This effect is likely to be a result of binding of galactose to FSGS factor.
Structure and isomerism
The first and last -OH groups point the same way and the second and third -OH groups point the other way. D-Galactose has the same configuration at its penultimate carbon as D-glyceraldehyde. Galactose is a diastereomer of glucose.
Liver galactose metabolism
In the liver, galactose is converted to glucose 6-phosphate in the following reactions:
galacto- uridyl phosphogluco- kinase transferase mutase gal --------> gal 1 P ------------------> glc 1 P -----------> glc 6 P ^ \ / v UDP-glc UDP-gal ^ / \___________/ epimerase
There are 3 important disorders involving galactose:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Galactose". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|