AGEs stand for Advanced Glycation Endproducts and what they refer to is when proteins or fats (lipids) bond with a sugar (fructose or glucose) without an enzyme controlling the action.  These compoundsDr Holly sugary deserts are both haphazard and dangerous to the body.  When an enzyme controls the process, it occurs at a defined site where the compound is required.  But without the enzyme control…we have several problems…as they effect:

  • inflammatory mediators
  • intracellular damage
  • cellular death
  • vascular permeability (blood leaking through blood vessels)
  • interference with NO (which promotes arterial dilation – helps to push the blood through the body)
  • oxidizing LDL (note: there are several types of LDL, but when LDL becomes oxidized – then it causes a problem)
  • bind to various types of cells disrupting their function :
    • macrophages (part of both the innate and the adaptive immune systems)
    • endothelial cells (the inner layer of both blood and lymphatic vessels)
    • mesangial cells (specialized cells around the kidney blood vessels)

In addition, side products are produced like hydrogen peroxide, beta amyloid proteins, etc that can also cause problems.

AGEs happen both inside and outside the body and both are detrimental.  Exogenous AGEs (outside the body) occur when sugars are cooked with proteins or fats and especially at higher heat.  Sugar will be added to anything from French fries to baking goods to enhance the browning effect…but this causes problems inside the body.  In addition, AGEs are added to enhance both flavor and color.  Or AGEs are added/created as a carmelization effect, for instance, donuts, barbecued meats, cake, dark coloured sodas, etc.

Endogenous AGEs occur inside of the body and predominantly in the blood.  Simple sugars like glucose, fructose and galactose tend to be the worst culprits.  Like free radicals and a variety of other issues in the body, there are different types of AGEs and some are more harmful than others…glucosepane appears to be the most common one…but the bottom line is that AGEs are implicated in the following diseases:

  • Alzheimer’s disease (amyloid proteins are side products to progressing AGEs)
  • Cancer (acrylaminde and other side products are released)
  • Cardiovascular diseases (where the endothelium, fibrinogen and collagen are damaged)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (the myelination of the neurons is depleted)
  • Red blood cells have a life span of 90 – 120 days  and are utilized as a measurement of AGEs.

Damage by glycation can result in the stiffening in the walls of the blood vessels thus preventing arteries from expanding and contracting.  This then leads to high blood pressure, aneurisms and strokes.

So, can we reverse AGEs and their damage?

1. stop eating sugars and refined carbohydrates!!!

2. neutralize this “glue” that is circulating your system; attaching to different types of cells; by utilizing carnosine.

  • Don’t confuse it with L-Carnitine, which is a valuable amino acid that increases cell energy and helps build muscle & decrease fat. Both are valuable but only Carnosine has the effect of neutralizing Advance Glycation End-products.
  • When taking Carnosine as a supplement, take between 50 and 150 mg per day. It’s best taken with other nutrients at meals.
  • Carnosine is a known dipeptide that is found in high concentrations in the brain and muscle tissues.  It is a combination of beta-alamine and l-histamine and while it is a good anti-oxidant, an even more important function is that it may reverse the formation of AGEs.  It is thought that carnosine binds to AGEs and helps remove them.

3. Other products that look like they might inhibit AGEs are:

  • Lypo-spheric Vitamin C
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
  • Taurine
  • Resveratrol & other anti-oxidants may prevent some of the side effects

Once again, it is important to find a good health practitioner; do your own research; be responsible for your health.

Here’s to your health!

For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca

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