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How Advanced Glycation End Products Cause You to AGE!


In the battle to slow the aging process you need to take aim at Advanced Glycation End products commonly referred to in the scientific community as AGEs.  It is now time to help the general community understand how AGEs are formed and what impact they have on aging and degenerative diseases.  To start we need to look at proteins and sugar.

Proteins are formed from amino acids and are essential for life because they serve two critical roles.  First they provide structure for the body.  One such structural protein is collagen which accounts for approximately one third of your body’s total protein.  It is found in skin, muscles, organs and vascular structures and provides elasticity and cohesion to these structures.  Second, proteins provide function in the form of enzymes that enable all life-sustaining biochemical reactions to occur within your body.  Sugar, a simple carbohydrate, provides needed energy for your cells.  When properly controlled, proteins and sugars can interact without causing damage to the body.

What are Advanced Glycation End Products?
As you age your structural proteins are damaged by a process known as glycation.  This process is an uncontrolled, non-enzymatic reaction between proteins and sugars to significantly alter the structure and function of proteins.  In this process a sugar molecule attaches itself to a protein molecule resulting in the formation of a non-functioning glycated protein structure called Advanced Glycation End products or AGEs.  Research over the last 20 years has implicated AGEs in most of the diseases associated with aging like:

Because proteins are present throughout the body, the destructive capacity of Advanced Glycation End products is enormous.  Understanding how to prevent the formation of AGEs is critical to slowing the aging process and reducing the risk for degenerative diseases.

Two Primary Sources for AGEs!
There are two primary sources for Advanced Glycation End products.  The first source is the food we eat.  The browning of food is a cooking technique that helps to give desirable flavor to food.  It is achieved by heating or cooking sugars with proteins in the absence of water, and in this process AGEs are formed.  Since grains, vegetables, fruits and meat all have proteins this browning effect is an indication of AGEs.  It is estimated that 30% of food-borne AGEs are absorbed when ingested.

Second source for Advanced Glycation End products happens inside your body through normal metabolism and aging.  Carbohydrates, either simple or complex, are absorbed by your body to affect your blood sugar levels.  Most of your blood sugar goes to providing the energy your body needs to properly function.  However, a small proportion of your blood sugar is glycated to form AGEs. 

Because of chronically elevated blood sugar levels, diabetics have consistently faced the challenge of AGEs.  Unfortunately this problem has now become an issue for the general population.  Over the past 30 years sugar consumption has increased dramatically.  Simple sugars like fructose and galactose undergo glycation at about 10 times a higher rate than glucose.  Most sweeteners today are approximately 50% fructose or a fructose derivative. 

How AGEs Affect Your Body!
Most of the current theory on aging centers on free radical damage caused by oxidative stress.  It is important to note that most Advanced Glycation End products are formed under similar oxidative conditions.  This cross-linking between proteins and sugars seem to be a major contributor to the initiation and development of several degenerative diseases like:

The damage created by the formation of AGEs is not limited to your brain and heart.  It also threatens all your organs especially those that have high concentrations of collagen.  AGEs have been associated with pancreatic cancer, melanoma, skin cancers, nerve damage, vision problems, kidney problems and the general aging of your skin.

Suggestions to Protect Yourself from AGEs!
Although both proteins and sugars are involved in the process of creating Advanced Glycation End products it is excess sugar that is the true source of the problem.  With this in mind, the following suggestions are designed to help you reduce the formation of AGEs:

  1. Reduce your consumption of sugar.  Over the last 20 years the average yearly sugar consumption per person in the United States has gone from 26 pounds to 135 pounds.  That’s over a 500% increase!  The American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetic Association both agree that sugar consumption is one of the 3 major causes of degenerative diseases in America.
  2. Stabilize your blood sugar levels.  Learn how to use the Glycemic Index to choose carbohydrate foods that will help keep your blood sugar levels in a normal and healthy range.
  3. Eat vegetables and fruits raw, boiled, or steamed.  Remember that water prevents sugars from binding to protein molecules.  By eating fruits and vegetables raw or by cooking them in water or with steam prevents AGEs from forming.
  4. Limit your consumption of processed and browned foods.  Food manufacturers use techniques like caramelization and browning to improve the taste of their products.  These techniques directly increase the number of Advanced Glycation End products contained in these processed foods.
  5. Cook meats low and slow.  Higher cooking temperatures will always produce more AGEs than cooking at lower temperatures for a longer time period.  Learning how to use a croc pot can allow you to make delicious meals while helping to substantially reduce the productions of AGEs.
  6. Avoid high fructose corn syrup.  Read the ingredient list for all the foods you consume and avoid those with high fructose corn syrup.  The article “Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Good or Bad For You?” clearly discusses the potential health consequences of this ingredient and how it contributes to the development of AGEs.
  7. Drink water.  For many the greatest sources of excess sugar are soft drinks.  Switching to water eliminates this potential contributor to the formation of AGEs while providing a host of other health benefits.
  8. Supplement with carnosine.  This is a naturally occurring compound consisting of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine.  It is typically found in high concentrations in skeletal muscles and brain tissue.  Several studies have shown that carnosine can effectively inhibit the formation of AGEs.
  9. Supplement with pyridoxamine a form of Vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 has three forms:  pyridoxal, pyridoxine, and pyridoxamine.  It is this last form that has been clinically shown to be a natural inhibitor in the formation of Advanced Glycation End products.
  10. Stop smoking.  Smoking has long been associated with cancer and cardiovascular health concerns.  Recent research has clearly shown a significantly higher level of serum AGEs in smokers and especially diabetic smokers.

The glycation process was first described in 1912 and approximately 100 years later few people in the general population know about its destructive capabilities.  Most food manufacturers are not going to be your allies in this battle.  Over the last couple of decades these manufacturers have been incorporating AGEs into their products to boost flavor.

If you want to slow down the aging process and reduce your risk for the degenerative diseases associated with Advanced Glycation End products, then you need to take aim at reducing your consumption and production of AGEs.  This is especially important if you are diabetic or borderline diabetic.  Remember that it is sugar, and its various forms, that create the potential for AGEs. 

Use the steps above to help reduce the formation of AGEs.  It is an essential part of your anti-aging strategy.  Until next time, may we both age youthfully!

Synergistically yours,

P.S.   I would recommend the following articles to help you properly nourish your cells as you incorporate effective anti aging solutions in your wellness program:

The Best Anti Aging Advice is Grounded in The 1% Solution

Water, is it the Best Ingredient for Slowing Down the Aging Process?

The Dark Cola Drink Verses Water!

How Do Food, Metabolic, and Digestive Enzymes Factor in an Anti Aging Strategy?

These 5 Steps To Better Sleep Can Positively Affect Your Health!

The Acid Alkaline Balance:  Does Your Body’s pH Cause Cancer and Other Diseases?  Part 1  

The Acid Alkaline Balance:  Does Your Body’s pH Cause Cancer and Other Diseases?  Part 2

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Good or Bad For You?

8 Dangers of Human Growth Hormone!


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The information contained in this website and posted articles are for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this website and posted articles has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

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