AGEs and Aging

We all want the secret looking and feeling young. As it turns out, we have more control over it than we may realize.

Advanced Glycation End products, or AGEs, are harmful compounds that are formed when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream. The proteins then change their structure and lose function. This process is called glycation.

Glycation has an effect on the youthful appearance of the skin. Consuming refined sugars causes the level of glucose in the bloodstream to rise. As blood sugar goes up, sugar binding with proteins increases, forming unwanted waste product buildup in the cells. This actually causes an accumulation of oxidized products under the surface of the skin, making it appear less elastic. Eating refined sugars can actually age skin faster, robbing your skin of its youthfulness.

Sugar is not only found in processed foods, but it appears naturally in healthy foods as well. But the good news is, when consuming sugar in its natural form, such as in fruits, those foods contain phytochemicals which naturally inhibit glycation. So, you only need to cut back on the processed and refined sugars to ensure your skin the best chance at limiting AGEs.

While the body can eliminate most of these harmful compounds, the body can’t always get rid of them fast enough, so they accumulate. High levels of AGEs can lead to oxidative stress and inflammation, which can also increase the risk of developing certain diseases and premature aging.

AGEs can have other harmful effects on the body. They collect in the kidneys, arteries, and the brain and can damage important body systems and functions. They can also affect the liver and reduce energy, so it’s not just your skin that is being damaged.

Just like rust on a car bumper, increased levels of AGEs in the bloodstream oxidize the body from the inside out, damaging cells in the process. And since they damage the structure of the cells, they are no longer able to perform their very basic functions, which literally causes our bodies to age faster. AGEs = AGING.

Our skin regenerates every few months, replacing all skin cells with new ones. Old cells flake away and need to be replaced. Glycation interrupts that process by reducing the skin’s ability to make important structural components, like collagen, and prevents new nutrients from being delivered to the cells, which slows the renewal process. The result is dull, lifeless, visibly-aging skin.

After age 30, our bodies stop naturally producing collagen and elastin fibers, so it’s critical to do all we can to protect ourselves from a buildup of AGEs and harmful glycation. As these collagen fibers decrease, what results is an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, inflammatory conditions, sagging skin, and bags under the eyes.

AGEs are also increased in people who have higher blood sugar levels, so people who have diabetes are at higher risk of producing excess AGEs that can accumulate in the body.

Certain foods, such as meats that are high in fat and protein, are more susceptible to AGE formation during cooking. Grilling, roasting, baking, and frying foods can increase the amounts of AGEs formed during cooking.

Foods highest in AGEs include red meat, certain cheeses, fried eggs, butter, cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise, oils, and nuts. Fried foods and highly processed products also contain high levels.

To reduce the risk of increased AGEs, try using different, healthier forms of cooking. Stewing, boiling, and steaming can significantly decrease the amount of AGEs found in your diet.

Eliminating the bad foods and consuming more fresh, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce the amount of AGEs that build up in your body over time.

It’s no secret that eating a healthy diet full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and reducing refined foods and sugars is good for your health. But now we know, it’s what keeps us not only feeling young, but looking young. Supplements containing resveratrol, curcumin, and Vitamin C can also help to protect against AGE formation.

And, here’s the good news! Glycation can be reversed. Here are some tips to decrease AGEs in your body, keeping you looking and feeling younger, longer.

-Eliminate, or greatly reduce, eating refined sugars to promote a youthful, healthy complexion.

-Eat a healthy diet, high in whole foods like greens, fruits, nuts, and whole grains to help halt glycation in its tracks.

-Avoid the sun and use sunscreen every day to reduce the production of AGEs.

-Daily exercise helps to reduce the amount of glucose in the blood, reducing the formation of AGEs.

-Choose supplements which include peptides, antioxidants, and collagen, increasing hydration and decreasing free radical damage.

-Use topical products containing peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants to increase hydration and reduce the outward appearance of early aging.

-Don’t burn or scorch your food at high temperature. Boil, stew, or steam instead.

Using DNA science, we can actually find out how well your body breaks down collagen and handles glycation. Based on genetics, different people can process AGEs better than others. Knowing and understanding your own body’s genetics can go a long way in preventing the signs of premature aging. Get ready to take aging into your own hands. It’s time to know the skin you’re in, and do something about it!