On Consuming AGEs

Regular readers will know that advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are not a good thing; they're one of the types of biochemical gunk that accumulate in our tissues to degrade function and cause follow-on issues relating to that lost functionality.

Problems caused - or not helped - by AGE buildup include kidney disease, and the many variations of blood pressure and heart conditions caused by a lack of elasticity in the tissues of heart and blood vessels. Diabetics in particular suffer due to more rapid accumulation of AGEs based on their metabolic biochemistry (e.g. high blood sugar, inflammation, free radicals).

You might also recall some of my posts on RAGE, the receptor for AGEs and how that fits in to the way in which AGEs damage the workings of your biochemistry.

At least some of the degenerations brought on by AGE buildup can be laid at the feet of the interaction with RAGE, and the resulting actions then taken by your cells. Cell receptors are like keyboards or buttons - hit them with the right sort of molecules and you're instructing the cell to take action.

There is, however, some debate over the role of AGEs ingested with food - cooked meat is comparatively high in AGEs, for example, and pretty much anything else that involves the Malliard reaction. Do these AGEs contribute to damage in the same way as those generated inside the body as a side effect of the operation of human metabolism? Here's a recent paper on the topic:

Effects of high-AGE beverage on RAGE and VEGF expressions in the liver and kidneys

BACKGROUND: The formation and accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) increase in some lifestyle-related diseases as well as in aging; however, little is known about the relationship between food-derived AGEs and the pathology of such diseases.

AIM OF THE STUDY AND METHODS: To explore whether food items containing high levels of AGEs are involved in the development of lifestyle-related diseases, rats were orally administered a commercial high-AGE beverage (LB-A) ... With a particular focus on angiogenesis-associated diseases, the gene expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) were examined in the liver and kidneys using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Moreover, AGE deposition was immunohistochemically investigated in these tissues.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic VEGF expression was significantly increased in rats administered LB-A ... Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis detected glucose-derived AGE-positive cells in the liver from the LB-A group. These results suggest that AGE-rich beverages increase hepatic VEGF expression and AGE accumulation, bringing about early events associated with lifestyle-related diseases.

Fair evidence to suggest that reducing your AGE intake in addition to reducing your overall calorie intake might be a good idea over the long term.

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