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Can you slow down aging?

Updated: May 22

Older Male

When you bake bread or pies in the oven, they turn brown with the crust getting the most brown.  This is the Millard Reaction, named after French chemist Louis Camille Maillard, who first described it in 1912, and is the result of the sugars reacting with protein.  The same thing happens inside your body when sugars mix with proteins, and this process, known as “Glycation”, is gradually damaging your cells and aging you.

As tissues in your body are glycated, they are damaged and form what is known as Aged Glycation End-products (AGE’s).  For example, red blood cells assaulted by sugars in your blood gradually become glycated and the common blood test HbA1c is a measure of the level of glycation.  Glycated red blood cells gradually lose their ability to function and after about 3 months, are replaced by new blood cells.  The higher the HbA1c score in your blood test, the higher levels of sugar your red blood cells have been exposed to, which means, that this test functions as a good indicator of the levels of sugars in your blood over the past (about) 3 months.

Glycation is a mechanism operating all over your body and aging you from the inside out and there is no way to reverse the impact.  More dietary sugars equals more aging.  This means loss of skin elasticity, hair loss, more wrinkles, collagen damage, more work for your body to try and minimize the damage and repair.  Dietary sugar comes from sugar and sugar based products in your diet.  From carbohydrates like bread, grains, starches, pastries, rice,  pasta, flour based products, soda, fruit juice, beer, and, to a much lesser, extent most vegetables.  As soon as these foods arrive in your mouth, your saliva begins converting them to glucose (blood sugar).

Another way in which we age is with insulin resistance (IR).  If your body is subjected to continuous high levels of insulin, which would be the case if your diet had a high level of continuous carbohydrates, then over time you develop a resistance to the hormonal impact of insulin.

A recent study has shown that the level of insulin resistance, as measured by your HOMA-IR score, is closely correlated to the level of biological age extension.  In other words, continuous high insulin resistance means that your biological age can be up to 10 years older then your real age.

Another contributor is mTOR, a protein active in breaking down cellular structures, inhibiting the repair and recycling of damaged cells and mitochondria.  This is an important part of muscle breakdown and rebuild for muscle growth but it is critical that it is regularly turned off.  One activator is insulin, which means that continuous high levels of insulin equals continuous high levels of mTOR.  Without downtime, excess mTOR contributes significantly to age related diseases like cardiovascular disease.

So can you slow down aging? Diet matters, lowering insulin, reducing sugar, managing mTOR, reducing carbohydrates in your diet all have an impact. You can slow aging by doing this

Seek professional medical advice before making dietary changes, particularly if on medication.  Questions are welcome.  Buy my book HERE.

Good health,  George Elder, Diet Research Reviewer, Diploma in Nutrition.

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