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Advanced Glygation End Products – AGE’s and Sugar
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE’s) and Sugar Overconsumption of sugar is a well known health problem but most do not realize how serious is can be. Advanced glycation end-products (AGE’s) are a combination of sugar and protein that combine into a worthless, inflammatory foreign substance that accelerates degenerative diseases. The over-abundance of sugar in the body results in an attack on many cells and proteins of the body. This hazard seems to get little press, perhaps because it only came to light in the late 1980’s. AGE’s are a cross linking or hook up of a sugar molecule and a protein. There can be a cross link with lipoproteins which also contain fat as well as protein. Here is the problem with AGE’s, they cause:
- Cardiovascular problems by their hook-up with blood vessel linings and thereby increase the rate of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke
- Skin problems by binding to the collagen (fiber) and increasing wrinkles and producing less flexibility in the skin.
- Eye problems by making the lens cloudy and hardened
- Kidney problems by interference with the nephrons that filter out wastes in the kidneys.
- Nerve transmission problems by interference with signal conduction due to the resistance produced by AGE’s on nerve tissue.
- Cognitive decline because they cause inflammation in brain tissue and impede neurotransmission.
- Overworking of the immune system, especially the macrophages
AGE’s are foreign irritants to the body and must be dealt with. It is the job of the macrophages (pac-man type of white blood cells) which are equipped with special AGE receptors, to deal with the culprits. Macrophages do indeed take out these AGE’s but it can become a costly expenditure of immune system resources. Macrophages lead the charge in most immune responses and their diminished numbers cannot be good for immune health.
There are many reports of over consumption of sugar but most conclude U.S. residents consume from 139 pounds to 159 pounds per person per year. Michael Cutler, M.D. reports the latest statistic is 170 pounds per person per year.
That sounds incredible and hard to believe but the food industry adds sugar to literally everything. They learned sweet always sells better. You name it…catsup, salad dressing, soup, any packaged food… virtually all have sugar added.
One of the biggest and most significant contributors to sugar overconsumption is sodas. There are from 8 to 12 teaspoons of sugar in most beverage sodas. Many fruit juices sold in the supermarket add water and have sugar added in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
There are various forms of sugar that even natural foods have. The table sugar that everyone is familiar with contains two sugar molecules, glucose and a fructose molecule.
At one time fructose (fruit sugar) was thought to be better for you. Unfortunately when stripped away from the other metabolites found in fruit, it is much more of a health hazard.
Ordinarily fructose (in fruit) is accompanied by bioflavonoids and polyphenols that are great antioxidants; they counteract oxidative free radical damage and inflammation. In addition there are vitamins, minerals, catalysts and only God knows what else that helps the metabolism of the fructose. The fructose is less concentrated in fruit.
When fructose is separated from these helpful ingredients there is a 10 fold increase (1000 %) accumulation of AGE’s. There is compelling evidence that pure fructose, as that found in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)…along with glucose… is a major cause of the obesity epidemic found in our Western world.
The body was not design to handle such high concentrations of sugar, stripped and separated from other helping metabolites. Why is concentrated fructose, like that found in HFCS, so harmful? The simple answer is it associated with health destruction by:
- Damage to fructose metabolism
- Propelling diabetes II
- Producing atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke
- Association with increase obesity
- Increased inflammatory uric acid
- Increased gout
Dr. Joseph Mercola, N.D. has one of the most creditable, cutting edge, health blogs on the internet. He says this about fructose, it:
- Increases insulin resistance
- Increases hypertension
- Elevates triglycerides
- Increases cardiovascular disease…heart attack and stroke
- Increases non alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Is associated with increased cancer
- Increases arthritis and Is highly correlated to obesity and weight gain
To put the fructose consumption in perspective, 100 years ago 15 grams per person per day was consumed. Today the estimate is 73 grams per person per day. That is nearly a fivefold increase.
The widespread use of HFCS became prevalent during the 1970’s. HFCS is 20% sweeter and is cheaper than table sugar. This means the food industry will favor its use because of bottom line profits. Fifty five percent of all sugar sweetener used in the food industry is HFCS.
Fructose not only propels obesity but it is now closely associated with the number one killer in the U.S.A. This is cardiovascular disease. It is associated with high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
The over abundance of sugar in the blood and elsewhere in the body over saturates any tissue it comes in contact with, produces inflammation and creates advanced glycation end products. These propel degenerative diseases, premature cell death and ultimately a shorter lifespan.
Julian Whitaker, M.D., reports in his June 2010 newsletter to cut back on sugars (glucose & fructose) and take good supplements. What are good supplements? He lists vitamin B-1 in the form of Benfotiamine which is fat soluble (B’s usually are only water soluble) and vitamin B-6. He also recommends ALA (alpha lipoic acid). All of these supplements are reportedly beneficial to improvement of diabetes II symptoms, especially neuropathy, as well as reducing the production of AGE’s.
Not surprisingly, apparently due to drug company influence, the FDA has tried to block the sale of natural B-6. Since this substance counter-acts the frequent side effects of diabetes II, in terms of neuropathy and other organ damage, it competes with the sale of diabetes drugs.
Dr. Whitaker has successfully treated thousands of diabetes patients over the years at his Whitaker Wellness Clinic without drugs. He reports that reducing sugars, adding good supplements can reverse many of the deleterious symptoms resulting from diabetes. These include neuropathy (pain & numbness in extremities), cardiovascular, eye, skin and kidney problems.
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