Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) Play Causative Role in Maladies Associated with Growing Older
Studies show that many ailing organs and tissues throughout the body are stuffed full of AGE. They gum up the works no matter where they deposit. Because of their molecular structure they bind tissues together in abnormal ways. This phenomenon is called “cross-linking.” Cross-linking causes tissues throughout the body to become inflexible, deformed, and dysfunctional before their time.
Over time, AGE molecules clog up your heart, kidneys, liver, brain, eyes, nerves, blood vessels, bones, joints and skin, contributing to a myriad of conditions from age spots and wrinkles to joint pain, memory loss, blindness, enlarged heart, painful nerve damage, arterial plaque, and kidney failure among others.
Until recently, it was thought that AGEs were only a problem for those with high blood glucose levels — predominately diabetics. AGE accummulation and its effects do occur much faster in the diabetic population, but Kanauchi (2001) and others have shown that nondiabetics have AGE-related health problems as well.
Even if the problems were limited to diabetics, the economic and health impact of AGEs could be catastrophic. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse estimates that 1 out of 5 Americans age 60 and above has diabetes. Although the full extent of AGE-related problems for non-diabetics is not known, the current research shows that it is far-reaching, especially among seniors.
Although much needs to be learned concerning the actual mechanism of AGE damage to the body, the fact that AGEs play a major role in many of the maladies linked with the health complications associated with aging and diabetes is undisputed. AGEs tend to form and accummulate in diabetics about 4 times faster than they do in non-diabetics. Because of this fact, studies conducted on diabetic populations provide a quick picture of what affects AGE will have on the entire population as it grows older. Studies with diabetics have provided much of what we understand about glycation chemistry and help to gauge the effectiveness of AGE blocking supplements.