How Sugar Ages You

Sugar can add years – quickly

Sugar = Premature Aging

Sugar = Premature Aging

We are regularly asked what other practical anti-aging things a person can do along with taking an HGH supplement.

Here is one you’ll definitely want to consider.

It is well known that elevated blood sugar levels [1] are bad for you. Diabetics don’t live as long as other people and that very few centenarians are diabetics

but I’ll bet you don’t know why.

It’s because of the adverse effect that blood sugar elevations have on our body’s organs. The process where sugar creates a process called glycosylation. [2]

Once you know how glycosylation can age you, you may never enjoy another desert again.

The process has been well researched, but it’s not widely known among the general public, so let me explain it to you.

Sugar is sticky, as you discover every time you spill some and have to wipe it up. When there’s additional sugar moving through your bloodstream, the sticky glucose molecules bind to proteins.

That binding process is known as glycosylation or, sometimes referred to as glycation. When glycosylation happens in locations where it does not belong, it sets in motion a chemical reaction that eventually ends with the proteins combining together, and forming a new chemical structure.

Anthony Cerami, the biochemist who discovered the glycosylation process in living tissue, gave these new structures an appropriate name: Advanced Glycosylation End-products, or AGEs. [3]

Why AGEs are so dangerous

Here’s an analogy that may make it clearer: What’s happening to your tissues from exposure to excess glucose is exactly what happens to meat when you brown it. You’re slowly cooking yourself from the inside. Glycosylation alters the very structure of proteins and keeps them from doing what they’re supposed to do.

Collagen is one of the first proteins to be affected. Collagen is the connective tissue that literally holds your skeleton together, attaching muscles to bones and serving as the structural foundation for blood vessels, skin, [4] lungs, and cartilage.

When collagen is glycosylated and AGEs form, it destroys collagen’s ability to remain flexible. This means that blood vessels, lungs, and joints all get stiffer; skin sags; proteins in the lens of your eye cloud over, creating cataracts.

Other proteins impacted by AGEs

Glucose easily combines with the protein hemoglobin in your blood. That potential combination is the basis of an essential blood test for diabetes, called glycosylated hemoglobin (GHb). GHb measures blood sugar average over several consecutive months and reveals how much AGEing you have done over that period of time.

AGEs also affect the more than 50,000 different proteins that regulate body functions. For example, your body produces antioxidant enzymes that protect you against free radicals. When glucose binds to these antioxidant enzymes, they shut down; AGEs destroy the mechanism that produces antioxidant enzymes.

Even slight elevations in blood sugar is enough to produce excess free radicals [5] – more than your body can deal with. Clearly, elevated free radicals is one of the main reasons for the accelerated aging often seen in diabetics.

And because vitamin C is carried into your cells along with insulin, one outcome of even slight insulin resistance is that you’ll have decreased levels of this powerful antioxidant in your cells.

Other proteins are part of complex chemical cascades that send messages around your body, turning genes on and off, repairing damage, and controlling the growth and replication of cells. When these controlling proteins are damaged by AGEs, the chemical messages become garbled or fail to get through at all.

When that happens, the proper functioning of the cell is disrupted, and that in turn causes further disruption down the message line. If the disruption causes a gene to switch on or off inappropriately, or if it tells a cell to replicate when it shouldn’t, the result can set in motion the process that leads to cancer and other problems.

It’s possible that AGEs can even bind directly to the DNA in a cell’s nucleus. Although the process would happen very slowly, over the long run it would cause serious damage in cells that don’t reproduce, such as those in your heart and brain.

When glucose attaches to the tiny protein molecules known as peptides, the resulting AGEs end up circulating in your blood. This can have a negative impact on your blood lipids, because the AGE-modified peptides may then bind to molecules of LDL cholesterol.

When that happens, as recent research indicates, the body fails to identify this new substance as LDL. As a result, the LDL continues to circulate instead of being removed from your blood as part of the normal cleaning process.

This explains in part why diabetics have such dangerously high levels of LDL cholesterol – all the extra sugar in their blood leads to high levels of circulating AGEs.

Your body does have some natural defenses against AGEs

At least one type of scavenger cell in your immune system destroys AGEs, but the process is not very efficient, and it slows down with age.

Antioxidant enzymes also play a part in keeping AGEs to a minimum.

Interestingly, AGEs may explain the beneficial effect on the heart of having a daily glass of wine. The alcohol seems to block the formation of some AGEs at an intermediate stage in the process, stopping them from building up inside your arteries and damaging your LDL cholesterol.

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References:
[1] Web MD. Blood Glucose. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/blood-glucose
[2] Science Magazine. UNDERSTANDING GLYCOSYLATION. Available from: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6166/5.1.short
[3] U.S. National Library of Medicine. Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to Their Reduction in the Diet. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/
[4] NBC Nes. Face Facts: Too much sugar can cause wrinkles. Available from: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21257751/ns/health-skin_and_beauty/t/face-facts-too-much-sugar-can-cause-wrinkles/
[5] Web MD. Face Facts: Antioxidants minimize damage to your cells from free radicals. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-antioxidants-work1

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