If we were to ask you what is the major reason why you have wrinkles and sagging skin what would your answer be? You’d probably say the sun or improper care, aging and so on and so forth. However, the major reason why our skin gets wrinkled and saggy has a fancy name you probably haven’t heard about – Glycation!
Now you’re probably wondering what is Glycation? It’s a natural part of the aging process but some experience it sooner, others later, and some just have to deal with a few minor wrinkles and almost no sagging at all. How is this possible? Well, these people who are almost unaffected by this process know something man others don’t and we’ll let you in on the secret. Glycation is the chemical reaction which happens when sugars in the body attach to proteins in the body – and we have a lot of proteins and sugar naturally flowing in our body. This creates another feature of glycation called Advanced Glycation End Products or AGES (so appropriately named).
According to science, the sun is not the only culprit when it comes to skin woes, the sugar or glucose in our body plays a bigger role. Glucose is what gives us energy, we all know that, but if we consume it in excess it can cause damage on the long run. Just like when people with diabetes who don’t pay attention to their glucose levels start noticing many age-related problems much sooner than others, this can happen to everyone who consumes too much glucose on the long run.
AGES isn’t just a factor in skin quality and wrinkles, it can have an effect on our overall health, including cardiovascular issues, renal function and cataracts. The main problem with glycation is that it can change the shape and function of tissues in our body. For example, glycation from excess sugar can stiffen and harden arteries, simply through excess sugar circulating throughout the body. We want flexible arteries and a flexible heart for optimal health. Every molecule in proteins and fats has their own structure and even the smallest change in their structure, like with glycation, normal functioning of the fat or protein is lost forever.
The best definition for this process, albeit a bit comic, is:
“Glycation is essentially the caramelization of bodily tissue”
What are the causes of AGES?
- Excess sugar (in all forms)
- Excess carbohydrate intake – all forms
- Cooking at high temperatures (crispy, blackened foods)
- Insufficient intake of veggies, nuts, seeds, fruits rich in antioxidants
- A lack of supplements that can help prevent oxidized cells and glycation