AGEs (advanced glycation end products) are linked to aging as well as many diseases. Of the 7 types of aging discussed at the SENS Foundation (7 Deadly Things), AGEs are responsible for cross-linking between tissues. AGEs accumulate outside our cells, which is a space rarely “cleaned-up” by the body. When molecules accumulate between cells, they can form bonds, or cross-links, causing the tissue to become hardened. Think artery walls, the lens of the eye, and ligaments.
The SENS Foundation will be conducting research to find ways to break these cross-links, but until we have a solution, we must find a way to minimize cross-link formation. AGEs are responsible for the majority of cross-linking, so if we can reduce AGE accumulation in our body, we can theoretically delay one step of the aging process. AGEs can either be consumed or can be produced within the body. Understanding these two routes of AGE accumulation is important if we want to minimize their effects in our body.
These are AGEs we consume. Animal studies show positive correlation to AGE consumption and health problems, but it is unknown whether exogenous AGEs actually cause cross-linking. To reduce our AGE consumption, we must know what to avoid. The Inhuman Experiment blog post on AGEs gives a great generalization on exogenous AGEs (original post HERE):
* Fats and meat products contain the most AGEs
* Carbohydrates are relatively low in AGEs
* Higher cooking temperatures increase AGEs
* Longer cooking times increase AGEs
* The presence of liquids in cooking reduces AGEs
* Processed foods have more AGEs than natural or homemade food
The author of this blog has some very interesting related posts. One post is on comparing serum AGE levels in vegetarians and omnivores, which surprisingly finds that vegetarians/vegans have higher AGE levels despite having diets lower in exogenous AGEs. This suggest that endogenous AGEs are more important to AGE levels in the body.
Studies & Articles to Check Out:
Advanced glycoxidation end products in commonly consumed foods
These are AGEs produced inside our bodies. The primary cause of AGE formation within the body is excess sugar in the blood. Specifically, fructose and galactose are prone to glycation. However, there is no hard evidence on the dietary relationship between serum AGE levels and intake of AGEs or sugars, but some type of relationship does seem to exist. This area is really lacking in data, so more research needs done. There is evidence that taurine many protect against AGEs, which could help explain why omnivores have lower serum AGE levels than vegetarians.
Studies & Articles to Check Out:
Advanced glycation end products and nutrition
Dietary consumpton of AGEs and production of AGEs in the body is still not well known. We can hopefully minimize AGEs by watching our blood sugar, fructose consumption, and exogenous AGE consumption, but we need to be aware of how to reduce AGEs presently in the body (at least as much as we can until the cross-linking cure is available). Until anti-aging therapies come out, we may be able to do a few things to help ourselves:
Green tea has actually shown promising results in reducing AGEs. Check out THIS post on the Inhuman Experiment blog.
Taurine acts as a glycation inhibitor: Effect of taurine on advanced glycation end products-induced hypertrophy in renal tubular epithelial cells
Obviously there is a real concern for lowing AGEs in the body from both a health and aging perspective. Until we have proper anti-aging therapies, we can hopefully manage the accumulation rate of AGEs by dietary practices and reduction methods.
What am I going to do?
Keep reading about AGE research, try not to cook the crap out of my food, drink green tea, and hope the taurine in my meats (selected and prepared with AGEs in mind) does do some good! :-)