Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aging, AGEs and Glycation

What is Advanced Glycation End Products and how does it affect the Aging process? (humm, this is a little heavy on the science. I'm a bit excited writing this..whooohoo)

Glycation is what happens when a sugar molecule (fructose, lactose, glucose) bonds with a protein or lipid without the normal help of enzymes. This dangerous bonding causes impairment of molecules within the body. 
It can occur inside the body (endogenous) or outside (exogenous).
Exogenous glycation is provided by the foods we eat like baked goods or fried foods and even sodas. (particularly the brown pigments in these foods which are a result of melting sugar and proteins in high temperatures) So avoid foods that are baked, broiled, fried or roasted and opt for steamed or boiled foods. Most importantly if you have a high sugar intake you will age faster (you will start to see serious aging starting in your late thirties and are setting yourself up for serious health complications as well. 
Endogenous glycation occurs in the bloodstream. When we eat sugars get broken down into simple sugars like fructose and glucose which float in the blood stream and are used to fuel cell functions and energy. 
Studies show that AGEs can lead to Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, among others.

Another downside to AGEs is that they are resistant to proteinases ( are hard to degrade by the body's normal processes) and result in ROS better known as reactive oxygen species or free radicals (really nasty stuff we don't want in our body) these cause the cross linking of collagen and elastin which in turn causes our skin to wrinkle faster by preventing our skin's repair mechanism. 

But what is it to us in the beauty world? AGEs attack our collagen by forming covalent( really strong) bonds. Leading to brittle dry collagen/elastin which in turn leads to loss of elasticity (sagging and wrinkles), thin skin and inflammation. 

Moral of the story. Don't get to carried away and limit all your sugar, sugar is important just not in excess. Also, It is important to be concerned with eating healthy at any age and watch your sugar intake ( I speak mainly to myself because I have a serious chocolate addiction, but also to whoever this may help) 

Now to the nitty gritty. How the heck do you repair all this damage?

You can start with diet. Foods high in Protein and fats as well as processed refined foods carry a lot of AGES. Supplements like aminoguanidine and carnosine.

Topically you can try Dermalogica's Age Smart Multivitamin Power Concentrate. It's chockful of Vitamin A, C, E or their MAP-15 regenerator which has Vitamin C, White tea and hyaluronic acid. Skin Ceuticals Retinol .05% is a good lose dose vitamin A (great for sensitive skins) which can help rebuild collagen. Also Skin Ceuticals Phloretin  CF which uses Vitamin C and Phloretin. Dr. Brandt  lineless antiglycation serum which has a heavy blend of white and green tea as well as grapeseed extracts. 

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