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How AGEs cause ageing

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

You've heard of ageing - but do you know what AGEs are?


AGEs are Advanced Glycation End products which cause oxidative stress in the body, contributing to premature ageing by damaging cells, tissues and DNA.


They are often found in protein and high-fat foods and they cause inflammation.


AGEs can often contribute to stiffness and swelling in the joints, as well as causing tiredness, fatigue and skin issues normally associated with 'ageing' such as hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and fatty lumps under the skin.


The most important thing about AGEs in the context of longevity, is that they can disrupt SIRT1, which belongs to a family of proteins called sirtuins. These proteins control some major functions in the body such as fat metabolism, insulin resistance, immune responses and brain function.


Glycation is the name given to the process whereby sugars like glucose bind to fats and proteins in the bloodstream. These sticky, glue-like structures are called AGEs and as they accumulate in the body, they accelerate the ageing process.


They may accumulate in the skin in the form of double chins, 'muffin tops' and the bit of extra fatty tissue that sticks out of the back of your bra.


The presence of AGEs signifies that the liver is struggling to perform its normal functions of detoxifying the body and they have been implicated in chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and heart failure.


What causes AGEs to form?


  • Poorly controlled blood sugars

  • Yeast and fungal infections

  • Low antioxidant levels

  • Heavy metals

  • Not drinking enough water.

How can you reduce AGEs?


FATS


We need fats to survive - but it's important that we choose the right fats. Animal fats are often higher in AGEs than plant fats such as avocados and olive oil. Opting for more raw nut and seed-based fats will help to lower the overall toxic burden of AGEs in your food.





PROTEINS


Meat and dairy products are usually higher in AGEs than any other food - but you can significantly reduce the content of these harmful, inflammation-forming molecules by adjusting the way you cook them.





Marinating meat in some form of acid - be that vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil or wine for at least an hour before preparing it can reduce the AGE content by half. Poaching, steaming and slow cooking proteins are all great ways to reduce their AGE content. Avoid frying, browning and generally using high heat at all costs! Slow 'n low is the way to go!


PLANTS


For reducing AGEs in your diet, plants are your best friends! This is because they are naturally low in AGEs due to their water and mineral content. They also contain natural detoxifying phytonutrients such as chlorophyll, anthocyanins and beta-carotene.





LOOK AFTER YOUR LIVER


Your liver is a powerhouse that detoxes and filters all of the crap that we put into our bodies every day. If it's functioning optimally, you should have clear skin, good digestion and a regular bowel movement.


If you want to give your liver a helping hand, try introducing more bitter foods into your diet - ideally eaten before your main meal. Bitter foods like watercress, spinach and even black coffee can help to stimulate the detoxification pathways.


For herbal liver support, consider getting some milk thistle and dandelion root from a Medical Herbalist.


Learn more about AGEs and loads more about how to improve your health and longevity on my brand new Health Reset programme starting in September!



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