As described in my blog on diabetes, elevated blood sugars are certainly a potentially life-threatening risk factor to your immediate and long term well being. Yet, the story does not end with blood sugars alone. In fact, there is something called AGE (Advanced Glycation End products) that are generated at a more rapid rate when one’s blood sugars are running rich, meaning above the normally accepted lab range.
AGEs occur when there is attachment of sugars onto your body’s proteins or fats, a process known as glycation. This is the same process that is in part measured by HA1c (Glycosylated Hemoglobin), the test your healthcare provider uses to measure your long term blood sugar control.
When a sugar links with a protein molecule in your body, something called cross-linking occurs. This process can be best imagined if you think of toasted bread. When bread is toasted the protein and the carbohydrates in the bread are exposed to heat and turn brown as a result of the chemical reaction that occurs between the proteins and carbohydrates during the toasting process. The same process occurs within your body at 98.6 F over the course of time resulting in AGEs and ultimately RAGE. The accumulation of AGEs damages tissues in your body and perpetuates the ravages of long term diabetes within the 75 trillion cells that make up the human frame.
AGEs also impact other biochemical processes within the body via activation of signal two pathways, one is anti-inflammatory called AGER1 and the other is proinflammatory RAGE. When RAGE is triggered to over express within the body, it fuels inflammation, premature aging and damage to tissues and accelerates cellular destruction.
Ultimately, AGEs and RAGE contribute to heart disease, mental decline, gastrointestinal maladies and joint problems to name a few.
First and foremost, controlling blood sugars as described in my diabetes blog (recently posted) is essential. Also, gaining control of your diet and tracking your blood sugars daily and getting quarterly HA1c (HbA1c) testing is of paramount importance. When it comes to supplements there are many that can be considered, yet a few of my favorite to support a healthy diet include a good multi-vitamin (men’s / women’s), Lipoic acid, chromium and use of a good daily fiber with each meal.