Glycation may sound like a word straight out of a science fiction novel, but it plays a critical role in our health and aging process. We all know that the overconsumption of sugar can lead to health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, and dental issues, but it also contributes to glycation. But, what is glycation? Should we be concerned? Is there anything we can do about it? This blog post is here to answer all of these questions and more!
The Basic Science Behind Glycation
At its core, glycation is a non-enzymatic reaction that happens when sugars react with proteins, fats, or nucleic acids in our body. Imagine sugar sticking to these molecules, altering their normal function.
When we consume food, especially those high in sugar, these sugars, primarily glucose, roam in our bloodstream. Over time, they bind to important molecules like proteins and fats. This binding, unfortunately, makes these molecules less functional and more rigid.
The end result of the glycation process is the formation of AGEs (Advanced Glycation Endproducts). As the name suggests, these molecules can make us ‘age’ as they accumulate in our bodies over time and can be quite harmful (1).
Why Glycation Is A Concern
Aging: The key players in maintaining youthful and radiant skin are undoubtedly collagen and elastin. These are the proteins responsible for giving our skin its youthful elasticity and firmness. AGEs affect these proteins, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin (2).
Chronic Diseases: Research has linked glycation to a variety of chronic diseases. From cardiovascular disease and diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease, the accumulation of AGEs plays a role in exacerbating these conditions (4), (5).
Factors that Accelerate Glycation
Diet: A sugar-laden diet or one rich in highly processed foods can increase the rate of glycation. Consuming excessive amounts of simple sugars, like fructose and glucose, directly provides the raw materials for glycation reactions in the body (6). Additionally, highly-processed foods, red meat, mayonnaise, and some cheeses also contain high levels of AGEs.
Cooking: How you cook is as crucial as what you cook. Methods like grilling, roasting, or frying at high temperatures can produce more AGEs in the food we eat (7).
How to Counteract Or Reduce Glycation
Dietary Changes: Switch to a balanced diet focusing on whole foods, especially plants, and cut down on added sugars. Try to limit your red meat intake and switch to plant-based forms of protein such as tofu or lentils. Your body (and skin!) will thank you (6).
Cooking Methods: Instead of using aggressive heat to cook your food, opt for gentler cooking techniques that involve liquid, such as boiling or steaming your food. These methods produce fewer AGEs (7).
Commit To Exercise: It has been shown that long-life endurance running has been associated with reduced glycation (9). While it is not practical for everyone to commit to a life of endurance running, adding moderate exercise such as swimming, bike riding or brisk walking to your daily routine may help to reduce AGE levels (10).
Skincare: The beauty market offers skincare products specially formulated to counteract the effects of glycation on the skin. Look for ingredients that are AGE-fighting to give your skin an added boost.
The Power Of Antioxidants For Combating Glycation
Some research points towards the benefits of certain antioxidants and supplements in combating the effects of glycation. Vitamins C and E are well-known antioxidants that can counteract oxidative stress, often elevated by the presence of AGEs.
Glutathione, a potent antioxidant found in our cells, not only neutralizes free radicals but has also shown promise in inhibiting the glycation process. Fortunately, Glutathione is available in supplement form, and many have found success with its use. For firsthand experiences, you can read reviews from Approved Science® customers who took Approved Science® Glutathione and reported remarkable outcomes.
Everyone’s Talking About Glutathione
Glycation isn’t just a fancy term; it has real consequences for our skin and overall health. However, armed with insights and the benefits of antioxidants like Glutathione, we have the tools to fight back. By actively choosing the right diet and supplements, we can take a stand against glycation’s effects, ensuring healthier skin and a stronger body.