Advanced Glycation End-Products
Glycation or glycosylation is a chemical process
by which simple sugars (e.g., glucose) are attached to proteins to
form glycoproteins or are attached to lipids (fats) to form glycolipids. Both glycoproteins and glycolipids are found in cell
membranes and are needed in energy transfers (to put it simply).
However, in the formation of AGE's,
this glycation process is referred to as "non-enzymatic glycosylation." (GLY-co-sy-LA-shun)
While researching AGE’s, again and again I found nearly the same
darn definition: “AGEs are the end-products of glycation reactions,
in which a sugar molecule bonds to either a protein or lipid
molecule without an enzyme to control the reaction.”
Websites were quite consistent. I especially loved the
phrase “without an enzyme” because if the authors of these websites
knew what that phrase actually meant, they would have tried to
explain the difference between glycation with an enzyme and
glycation without an enzyme. So, I went out and found out how they
are different and the end products of each process.
Glycation with an enzyme is a normal biochemical
reaction with specific purposes.
For example, some proteins, to be used properly
by the body have to "fold." Folding means that nearly two dimensional
proteins have to become three dimensional objects for all their parts
to be effective at doing what proteins need to do, and so an
enzyme comes along and helps it bond (glycoslyation) to a sugar and
"fold" into a three dimensional glycoprotein.
Other reasons for this bonding (glycosylation) is
for cell to cell adhesion (sticking together) as do immune cells
(some immune cells work best when bonded together).
AGE's are created in our bodies when a sugar
bonds with proteins or fats without the assistance of an enzyme and
what is formed is gunk.
Yes, gunk (I hate to get too technical,
but we've got to call a spade a spade).
The result of this glycation (without an enzyme)
is glycotoxins (or gunk) that we call AGE’s. These glycotoxins
accumulate in your cells and send out chemical signals. The body
responds by producing sites of inflammation. In addition, the
abnormal protein and/or lipid structures do not regenerate and do
not self-repair, so they hang around a long time before the body can
clean them up (which is a slow process that, unless we help it
along, is never ending).
What this all adds up to is the process of aging
You see, getting older is not optional. Aging is
optional. We all know those people who look younger (or older) than
There are two types of AGE’s, endogenous and
exogenous. Endogenous means they are created within our bodies, and
exogenous means they are created outside of our bodies. Exogenous
AGE’s are found in foods that have been cooked without water and are
browned, from crackers to cookies, to meats, and even the crust of
breads. Some of these can be avoided, as I will show you later, and
some can have the damage they’re associated with lessened by
However, it’s the endogenous AGE’s that are the
deadliest, especially today with our highly processed diets and that
"sugar" that has proliferated throughout the supermarket:
Fructose Corn Syrup.
In our bodies, if too much sugar gets into our
blood stream, AGE’s are created. Fructose glycates approximately 10
times faster than glucose. This is just one reason why fructose is
so much deadlier than sugar.
In a diabetic whose insulin resistance keeps
blood sugar levels higher longer, the formation of AGE’s is a daily
occurrence and the effects can be deadly.
AGE’s have a half life that is about twice as
long as a normal cell. They gunk up the system and have been
connected to cataracts, cardiovascular disease (they damage the
endothelial cells in our blood stream leading to atherosclerosis),
strokes, cancer, blindness (from damage to the small blood vessels
of the eyes), peripheral neuropathy (numbness in limbs), Alzheimer’s
disease, and reduced muscle function as we age.
If a person does not have type two diabetes, AGE
production in the body can eventually lead to type two diabetes, and then lead to
all the other possible diseases listed above.
And, of course, the one thing AGE’s lead to that
underpins all of these problems is inflammation.
How to keep AGE’s in your body low:
Diet; it’s all diet. We are what we eat. It is
through our diets we get them, so the solution will be modification
of our diets.
Low Temp Cooking
When we overcook foods, large amounts of
glycotoxins collect in the
food. Studies have demonstrated that if we eat these foods, the
glycotoxins transfer to our tissues.
All of the recipes we have at this site are
examples of low temp cooking. Over cooked meats are deadly. I love a
good steak, but I eat them bloody. If you love smoked food, you're
going to have to use some of the supplements we list below.
Avoid Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
This is the next step. These things spike your
blood sugar. Soda pop, french-fries, white bread, all these high
glycemic foods that we find everywhere. Oh, and avoid High Fructose
Corn Syrup. It’s in everything (look at your ketchup bottle). One
way to avoided HFCS is to make your own ketchup. We have
recipes at this site (because our ketchup
erythritol, we have placed it in our Weight Loss Recipes).
Eat More Resistant Starches
We’ve talked about them here:
Next time you make a pasta dish, undercook the pasta by two or three
We’ve already talked about a few things that keep
your blood sugar levels from spiking (or just keep those levels low) such
as Svetol®, and Fenugreek.
Cinnamon: You can take a cinnamon capsule prior
Personally, I take a
fenugreek capsule prior to meals.
If the meal looks high in starch or high glycemic foods, I will take
a cinnamon capsule too, especially if I haven't worked out prior to
Another supplement I take daily, along with
Alpha Lipoic Acid. Along with L-Carnitine, ALA makes
your cellular functions more efficient and actually fights insulin
resistance, while the L-Carnitine inhibits protein glycation. [“L-Carnitine
inhibits protein glycation in vitro and in vivo: evidence for a role
in diabetic management,”
Rajasekar P, Anuradha CV,Acta Diabetol, 2007; 44(2): 83-90.]
The one spice that fights glycation the most is
cumin. Cumin is a part of Mexican cooking and Ayurvedic cooking. I
use it in all my stir-fry’s.
One last supplement that has been proven not only
to protect us from AGE’s but actually disposes of them when they get
into our tissues is
Take one 500mg capsule with two meals (totaling 1000mg per day).
Sugars: Good & Bad
Agave Nectar ─ is mostly fructose but doesn't raise blood sugar or
spike insulin. However, it creates many AGEs and has been linked to
Alcohol Sugars ─ xylitol, sorbitol, and erythritol do not raise blood sugar
and do not cause AGEs.
Artificial Sweeteners ─ aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, etc.,
were thought to not raise blood sugar, but recent studies now
dispute that. Additionally, the side effects are numerous including
weight gain and hunger.
Corn Syrup ─ raises blood sugar and spikes insulin; also creates
Fructose ─ doesn't raise blood sugar or spike insulin,
very many AGEs and has been linked to liver damage; The most
interesting side effect is that you're still hungry after consuming
it and it can encourage you to find other sugars to feel full.
Glucose ─ raises blood sugar and spikes insulin and
Honey ─ is half fructose and half glucose, raises blood sugar,
spikes insulin, creates many AGEs and may damage liver.
HFCS ─ is high fructose corn syrup, raises blood sugar and spikes
insulin, creates many AGEs and has been linked to liver damage.
significantly destroys good bacteria in the gut which can
lead to debilitation and weight gain.
Stevia ─ is a sweet protein
that doesn't raise blood sugar or create
Sucrose ─ raises blood sugar, spikes insulin, creates AGEs, and
has been linked to liver damage
Finally, Steaming Veggies
Better than boiling (and I know how we all
love to barbecue), steaming is actually one of the best ways to
prepare some veggies. Not only will you prevent the creation of
exogenous AGE’s, you will boost the free-radical fighting ability of
many of your favorite veggies. Yes, I realize this is counter
intuitive. One would think that since cooking destroys nutrition
that the most nutrition available from our veggies would come to us
in their raw form, but take a look at these figures from a study
published in the
American Journal of
Asparagus: Steaming boosts antioxidants by
Broccoli: Steaming boosts antioxidants by
Carrots: Steaming boosts antioxidants by
291%; boiling by 129-159%.
Green Cabbage: Steaming boosts antioxidants
Green Pepper: Steaming boosts antioxidants by
Red Pepper: Steaming boosts antioxidants by
Red Cabbage: Steaming boosts antioxidants by
Tomatoes: Steaming boosts antioxidants by
Spinach: Boiling boosts antioxidants by
Sweet Potatoes: Steaming boosts antioxidants
Editor's Note: every supplement mentioned in this article that
is linked (blue and underlined) is linked directly to the product I purchase at
the online store from which I purchase it.