Type 2 diabetic AGEs are found in every organ damaged by diabetes. That is why you need to know what they are and what you can do about them.
AGEs are the catchy name for advanced glycation end products. This high sounding scientific name means one thing. Science has found the enemy that accelerates aging in the human body.
Type 2 diabetic AGEs enter the cells, causing damage wherever they go. Diabetes is only one of the diseases that can be blamed on them.
The heart, liver, kidneys, brain and blood vessels show tissue damage caused by AGEs in everything from heart disease to Alzheimer dementia.
Searching for the cause of high blood sugar and its role in diabetic complications, researchers studied red blood cells and noted the amount of sticky glucose that attached to them.
Some glucose attached in the proper places and was carried to the cells for energy. Other glucose seemed to be sticking randomly, causing the red blood cells to be damaged.
Those studies led to the hemoglobin A1C test, where the levels of glycation were measured in a diabetic. We have learned that a lower HgA1C means fewer complications from diabetes.
Why? Because a high percentage of glycated hemoglobin accelerates the aging process. The more random glucose is sticking to the red blood cells, the more damage is done.
Researchers also found that this sticky glucose problem was reversible. If they reduced the amount of available simple sugar, the red blood cells had fewer AGEs.
Higher glucose made more. Lower glucose made less. Since red blood cells live two or three months they can give your doctor a true picture of how well controlled your blood sugar has been over that time.
The hemoglobin A1C test is a great way to measure blood sugar averages over two or three months.
The sticky nature of simple sugar is the basis for AGEs, the proteins with sugars stuck to them in random places.
Cells that live a long time are the ones that show the most damage from type 2 diabetic AGEs.
We know that nerve cells, brain cells, the proteins in the eyes and beta cells in the pancreas live the longest.
That explains why retinal cells in your eyes and beta cells in your pancreas are going to see damage from AGEs first.
So will nerves in your hands and feet where you feel numbness and pain. Brain plaques, the first sign of Alzheimer's, start forming.
Type 2 diabetic AGEs alter the proteins in your blood vessel walls. They accelerate atherosclerosis, the medical term for breakdown of blood vessels.
Arteries stiffen, and LDL deposits form where walls are weak or damaged. This buildup of plaque blocks blood flow, raises your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder and age faster.
The pro-oxidation and pro-inflammatory action of AGEs is behind every one of the diabetic complications. So AGEs are well named because they make our bodies age too quickly.
Heat adds flavor to foods, and adding sugar to protein and lipids browns it and adds even more flavor. It is called carmelization, and the result is advanced glycation end products. One great example is barbecued meat.
We love those flavors and buy foods that have them, so in the past 50 years food manufacturers have developed synthetic AGEs and added more and more of them to our packaged foods.
These manmade AGEs increase the flavor we are used to, and they add that pleasing brown color.
This makes foods more appealing in look and taste. It is the reason for hidden sugars and hydrogenated oils in SoFAs.
You will find type 2 diabetic AGEs in french fries, doughnuts, cake and dark colored sodas, to name a few. As flavor enhancers and colorants AGEs might be in any prepackaged food, but you will not find that word on any label.
Using AGEs in processed food has increased dramatically in the past 50 years. Over that same time type 2 diabetes has grown into an epidemic everywhere the Western diet of fast food has spread. That is not a coincidence.
In animal studies the more AGEs were added into their diet, the higher and faster the progression to diabetic tissue damage.
In all the studies this damage was prevented by taking type 2 diabetic AGEs out of the diet.
When looking at human group testing, a diet that cut AGEs by 50% led to a 30% decrease in the blood level of AGEs within one month.
The HbA1C did not show a decrease in that month. The obvious reason is that the red blood cells do not respond that fast to change.
The test takers speculated that it might take months or even years to lower a hemoglobin A1C.
But by lowering processed, packaged and high glycemic foods I lowered my HbA1C numbers in three months from 7 to 6.5. It convinced me that reducing type 2 diabetic AGEs improves diabetes fast.
Fast foods rely heavily on AGEs to improve the look and taste of prepackaged food. It makes you wonder how tasteless and unappealing fast food would be without them.
It also shows again why you are much better off keeping fast food out of your diet.
If you lower the high glycemic (simple sugars, white flour and low fiber) side of your diet you will at the same time lower the amount of type 2 diabetic AGEs in your blood.
This will also lead to a lowered blood glucose and a more normal hemoglobin A1C.
A healthy diet and plenty of exercise are the secrets to fighting the premature aging from type 2 diabetic AGEs. By avoiding the things that break down quickly into simple sugars you will slow the glycation process.
If you also avoid eating the AGEs in processed foods, they will not accelerate the aging process in your blood vessels and eyes and peripheral nerves.
Researchers hope to find a medicine that will attack AGEs and keep advanced glycation end products from forming. But you do not have to wait years for help from them.
Try a healthy diet with lots of antioxidants - the opposing force against AGEs - and exercise to strengthen your heart, blood vessels and legs.
Eat whole foods, avoid fast food, and you have found the cure for type 2 diabetic AGEs. Congratulations!
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