Sunday, September 27, 2009

Advanced glycation end products

That which is truly tasty, like make the hair stand up on your neck and shiver over the full delicious tastiness of it all, may prematurely age your blood vessels, your nerves, your kidneys, and your joints.

These advanced glycation end products or AGE are the end-products of reactions that bond sugar to protein in the absence of water. Think sugar steaks (too bad you won't want to try one at Bastien's Steak House on Colfax after reading this), the brown sugar/Jack Daniels crust on baked ham, browned cookies, the caramelized surface of creme brulee. So let's just say you avoid AGE in foods, and I'm not necessarily saying you should because, after all, life is meant to be enjoyed, well turns out you can glycate your own darn sugar once its ingested or produced. And fructose (that which sweetens your bottled drinks) is very prone to glycation.

So AGE along with ALE (that would be advanced lipoperoxidation end products or metabolized fat) are very proinflammatory molecules. AGE hooks up with specific cellular receptors called RAGE and the combo acts as a 'master switch' that activates nuclear factor kappaB(1) and creates high levels of dysfuntional proteins among other things. The sort of dysfunctional proteins that gum up your brain, your peripheral nerves, and your arteries.

Well we're all going to rust and glycate and peroxidate eventually, and we may as well do it with the satisfied smile of the occasional gourmand. But, as in all things, a little is good but a lot is not, and if you want to keep your cells functional, some things are best done in moderation or not at all.
1) NF-kB is a good thing if you happen to be injured or infected as it amplifies the immune response but a bad thing if you happen to drink Coke and eat browned chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis.


JeanMac said...

The body sure does know what's best for it - on holiday, salads were rare although we were offered some fruit and vegs - but it's not the same. We ate huge salads once home.

Anonymous said...

If I understand it correctly, revesterol is suppose to be really good at 'un-gumping' up things..... uh oh, the english grammer police.....