Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins, are a diverse group of highly oxidant compounds with pathogenic signiﬁcance in diabetes and in several other chronic diseases. AGEs lead to oxidant stress in our bodies, resulting in adverse changes in gene expression and other cellular properties. The Division of Nephrology, Deparment of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine has demonstrated a direct association between dietary AGE intake and markers of systemic inflammation in a large group of healthy subjects. Together with previous evidence from diabetics and renal failure patients, these data suggest that dietary AGEs may play an important role in the causation of chronic diseases associated with underlying inflammation and with aging.
The fact that the modern diet is a large source of AGEs is now well documented. The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology points out that the popularity of high-protein diets has surged recently in the United States and other developed nations where obesity has become more and more common. High-protein diets are nephrotoxic because they increase the circulating pool of AGEs through an excessive dietary AGE content. AGEs are naturally present in uncooked animal-derived foods, and cooking results in the formation of new AGEs within these foods. In particular, grilling, broiling, roasting, searing, and frying propagate and accelerate new AGE formation.
There is new research that is now turning conventional dietary advice on its ear. Professor Cynthia Kenyon‘s work on the source of AGEs and their genetic impact on worms is so revolutionary that many experts think she should get a Nobel Prize for it. “It’s a fitting acronym because – along with oxidation – it’s one of the major molecular mechanisms whereby damage accrues in your body, which leads to disease, aging, and eventually, death.” She discovered that cutting back on the dietary sources of AGEs actually alters our genetic makeup, a concept we also explored in “Want New Genes?“. “We jokingly called the first gene the Grim Reaper because when it’s switched on, the lifespan is fairly short,” she explains. “The second ‘elixir’ gene seems to bring all the anti-aging benefits — its proper name is DAF 16, but it was quickly nicknamed ‘Sweet Sixteen’ because it turned the worms into teenagers. It sends out instructions to a whole range of repair and renovation genes,” says Professor Kenyon.
Want to know what dietary changes you need to make to avoid AGEs? Watch this brief video and reap the benefits.
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