Sugar, Glycation, and Skin Aging

Sugar and the glycation process play an important role in skin aging.  Excess consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white bread and rice, pasta and potatoes will age your skin.  In short, what you eat, will indeed show on your face.

When you eat sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates (those which are quickly converted to sugar by the body), blood sugar rises rapidly.  The rapid rise in blood sugar can result in processes that can accelerate skin aging.  First, it can trigger an inflammatory response leading to biochemical changes that promote aging.  More information on inflammation and the skin.  Second, it stimulates a process known as glycation.

Glycation occurs when glucose molecules attach themselves to the proteins in the body.  These glycated proteins may then react with other proteins resulting in irreversible bonding between the two.  This bonding is termed cross-linking and results in the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).  AGEs are large aggregates of damaged proteins that accumulate over time and proceed to damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion.  They also have the ability to cause further tissue damage by interacting with free radicals. 

The body is more than 60% protein (dry weight), a portion of which consists of the collagen and elastin fibers that give the skin its strength and elasticity.  The cross-linking of proteins that occurs in glycation, causes the skin to become stiff and brittle.  Consequently, wrinkles, sagging, and the loss of elasticity occurs.

Unfortunately, to date, no cross-link breakers are commercially obtainable, although the drug ALT-711 is currently undergoing clinical trials.  It has been shown to break the bonds between cross-linked proteins and free them so they are once again able to function normally.  Until cross-link breakers become available, inhibiting glycation is the only means of preventing the formation of AGEs and deterring the havoc they create in the body.  

One method of addressing the detrimental effects of glycation is to take dietary measures to deter the process.  Since it is the result of rapid rises in blood sugar, limiting consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates will help.  The average person consumes approximately 150 pounds of sugar annually, yet only 1 to 2 teaspoons of circulating sugar at any one time is all that is required to fuel the body’s metabolism.  Any more than that can cause problems to arise.  Hence, limiting sugar intake is an excellent first step for preventing glycation and retarding the aging process.

In addition to limiting dietary sugar, some nutrients have also been shown to prevent the formation of AGEs.  Substances shown to have an anti-glycation effect include peptides (carnosine, glutathione, and N-acetyl cysteine), supplements (alpha lipoic acid and inositol), plant phytochemicals (full spectrum grape extract), and herbs (ginger, rosemary, thyme, tumeric, and stinging nettle).

Topical skin care products containing palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, tripeptide-1, and any of the nutrients listed above will also provide anti-glycation benefits.  Dr. Brandt, Anti-glycation Serum and the Dermal Renu product line are  examples of  skin care products that specifically target AGE formation. 

Of course, no cosmetic is a suitable substitute for a healthy skin diet.  It is imperative to take measures to inhibit the formation of AGEs now, because until products become available that can break them down, advanced glycation end products that have formed or will continue to form within our bodies, are there to stay. 

Dr Brandt Lineless Anti Glycation Serum

Dr Brandt Lineless Anti Glycation Serum

Dr. Brandts Lineless Anti Glycation Serum is a powerful serum targeting collagen and elastin to prevent and minimize the effects of glycation.Glycation is a natural process where sugar molecules in the cells stick to protein fibers binding them together c