Premature Aging With Sugar - A Not So Sweet Tale of Wrinkles and Woes

Premature Aging With Sugar - A Not So Sweet Tale of Wrinkles and Woes

Once upon a time, in the bustling metropolis of the Human Body, there lived a molecule named Glucose. Glucose was a lively character, always zipping around, providing energy to all the cells in the land. But Glucose had a dark secret. When it partied too hard, it got involved in some shady reactions, leading to the formation of the notorious gang known as Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs)[1],[2].

Glycation & AGEs – What’s all the Fuss?

Glycation is the story of how Glucose, in a heated (more on this in a bit) moment of unchecked enthusiasm, accidentally binds to proteins, forming a sticky situation known as a Schiff base. The reason this is so potentially problematic, is the fact that the human body is made up of so much protein, from skin to nails, to blood vessels and organs. This Schiff base then transforms into something called an Amadori product, much like caterpillars transform into butterflies, except these butterflies aren't quite as charming. They're more like moths that eat away at your favorite clothing. Over time, these Amadori products undergo a metamorphosis into the ultimate villains of our story, called AGEs[3],[4].

Cooking from the Inside Out

Imagine your body as a gourmet kitchen. When AGEs form, it's akin to cooking a turkey and watching its skin turn brown. The browning of the skin is created from sugars interacting with the protein that makes up the skin, which causes a cross-linking reaction that permanently changes the skin color and texture. In the body, this process is known as glycation, and over our lifetimes, we cook slowly from the inside out and sugar just happens to be the fuel responsible for turning the heat up, leading to a faster cooking process and causing premature aging of our cells[5].

Elevated Blood Sugar = AGEs

The plot thickens when our villain, Glucose, spikes in the bloodstream. This is when the party really gets out of hand, resulting in an AGEs rave. The aftermath? From wrinkled skin, making you look more like a prune than a peach, to cellular damage that goes way beyond skin deep, affecting the very essence of our cells' vitality[6].

What Foods Contain AGEs

AGEs are not just an inside job; they also lurk in many foods, especially during the cooking of those foods (which I’ll cover next). Picture a barbecue grill, sizzling with meats and veggies. That delicious charring you love so much. Those are AGEs, adding flavor at the cost of our youth. Processed foods are like the fast-food joints of the AGEs world – quick, convenient, and full of unwanted guests[7]. Guests that never leave!

Cooking for AGEs

As mentioned, the way we cook our foods often determines how many AGEs are formed. The simplified explanation goes something like this; the higher the temperature, the more AGEs are created. But fear not, for not all cooking methods are villains in this tale. Boiling, steaming, and stewing are the knights in shining armor, rescuing our meals from the clutches of AGE formation. These methods keep the AGEs at bay, allowing us to enjoy our feasts without inviting more of those unwanted guests[8].

Eliminating AGEs through Diet

The main heroes in this story are the antioxidants, as they carry many weapons that combat the AGEs. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as dark berries, and green leafy vegetables, along with spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary, turmeric and cinnamon, are the warriors that keep our cells youthful. On the other hand, processed foods are the main enemies, as they contain many AGEs to begin with and they elevate our blood sugar levels, further incinerating our insides with AGEs[9].

Supplementing to Combat AGEs

In the quest to vanquish AGEs, our heroes are joined by allies such as Humic and Fulvic Acids[10], Glutathione (GSH)[11], N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)[12], and Carnosine[13]. These supplements are like the magic potions of old, helping to cleanse the body of AGEs and restore the balance of good over evil. They work by providing some of the most powerful antioxidants known to deal AGEs a lethal blow, but also by helping the body rid itself of these nasty chemicals through natural detoxification.

Exercise and AGEs

The final piece of the puzzle is exercise, the white stallion that carries our heroes to victory. Regular exercise, especially brisk walks after meals, acts like a charm to lower blood sugar levels, thus reducing the formation of AGEs[14]. Actively exercising muscles can clear blood sugar levels 30 times faster! You can basically say, "A walk a day keeps the AGEs away".


The tale of Glucose and AGEs is a cautionary one, reminding us of the delicate balance between indulgence and moderation, convenience and preparation. By choosing our foods wisely, embracing cooking methods that minimize AGE formation[15], and adopting a lifestyle rich in antioxidants, exercise, and beneficial supplements, we can keep the story of our health one of vitality and healthy longevity. Don’t allow AGEs to write the final chapter of your life. Instead, learn to take control of the narrative, turning it into a saga of wellness and wisdom.

Remember, in the battle against AGEs, knowledge is our sword and healthy choices our shield. Together, we can ensure that our story is one of triumph over the trials of aging, living happily and healthily ever after.

The End.




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[9] Cepas, V., Collino, M., Mayo, J. C., & Sainz, R. M. (2020). Redox signaling and advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) in diet-related diseases. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2), 142.

[10] Salehi, M., et al. (2022). Activation of apoptosis and G0/G1 cell cycle arrest along with inhibition of melanogenesis by humic acid and fulvic acid: BAX/BCL-2 and Tyr genes expression and evaluation of nanomechanical properties in A375 human melanoma cell line. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 25(4), 489–496.

[11] Sharma, A. K., et al. (2019). Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), glutathione and breast cancer: Factors, mechanism and therapeutic interventions. Current Drug Metabolism, 20(1), 65–71.

[12] Walayat, S., et al. (2021). Role of N-acetylcysteine in non-acetaminophen-related acute liver failure: an updated meta-analysis and systematic review. Annals of Gastroenterology, 34(2), 235–240.

[13] Khan, M. R., et al. (2023). Inhibitory potential of carnosine and aminoguanidine towards glycation and fibrillation of albumin: In-vitro and simulation studies. Journal of Fluorescence.

[14] Puspitosari, A., & Nurhidayah, N. (2023). Diabetic exercise decreasing blood sugar levels on women’s middle adulthood. Jurnal Ilmiah Kesehatan Sandi Husada, 12(1), 209–2015.

[15] Inan-Eroglu, E., Ayaz, A., & Buyuktuncer, Z. (2020). Formation of advanced glycation endproducts in foods during cooking process and underlying mechanisms: a comprehensive review of experimental studies. Nutrition Research Reviews, 33(1), 77–89.

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