Are These Toxic Compounds Taking Years from Your Life?

In All Health Watch, Featured Article, Heart and Cardiovascular

When sugar molecules attach to proteins, the proteins can become damaged. This complex chemical process is called glycation. The result is a toxic molecule called an Advanced Glycation End Product (AGE).

AGEs can be very damaging to your health. They cause inflammation. And they are closely related to heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

AGEs form inside your body. This happens at a higher rate when your blood sugar is elevated. The more sugar you consume, the more AGEs  develop. It has also been shown that simple sugars (like the fructose found in soft drinks) form these compounds at a much faster rate than glucose.

But the foods you eat also contain Advanced Glycation End Products. AGEs form when foods (especially meats) are cooked or processed at high temperatures. Think grilling, frying, smoking or broiling. The same chemical process causes “browning” when you grill a steak or toast a piece of bread.

The Journal of Gerontology published one recent study of AGEs. The researchers wanted to determine how age and diet influence the accumulation of these harmful compounds. They divided 172 healthy men and women into two age groups. The younger group consisted of subjects between 18 and 45. The older group was made up of subjects between 60 and 80.

The researchers discovered that AGE levels were 35 percent higher in the older group. But they could also be very high in young people. In fact, the AGE levels in some of the young adults in the study were as high as those seen in diabetic patients. These high levels were associated with the consumption of AGE-rich foods.

So how can you reduce AGEs in your diet?

It’s simple. Just keep the heat down and maintain the water content in your food. Browning may give food a desirable flavor. But it can also compromise your health. So enjoy more raw foods. And when you do turn on the heat, choose to boil, slow-roast, steam, or stew.

Another way to reduce the effects of these dangerous substances is to take a nutritional supplement called benfotiamine…

In 1996, researchers showed that the B-vitamin thiamine could halt the formation of AGEs. The only problem is that thiamine is not easily absorbed by the body. However, benfotiamine is a fat-soluble version of this vitamin. Its structure allows it to easily pass through cell membranes. In fact, your body absorbs benfotiamine better than thiamine itself.1

And studies show that it could provide powerful protection against disease…

In one study, diabetic subjects consumed several AGE-rich meals over three days. After some of these meals the subjects received a benfotiamine supplement (up to 1,050 mg daily).

Before the supplement, they saw – on average – a 60 percent reduction in capillary blood flow. Their larger vessels also lost the ability to dilate. Blood flow in the larger vessels dropped by 35 percent. These changes are typical in people with heart disease. They can easily lead to heart attack or stroke.

Then the researchers evaluated the subjects after supplementation. They found that benfotiamine completely prevented the detrimental effects on the blood vessels. They also noted a drop in oxidative stress.

The research shows that benfotiamine is safe and effective. It has no known side effects or drug interactions. Recommended use ranges from 150 to 1,000 mg per day (in divided doses). You can find this beneficial supplement in your local health food store or online for under $10.

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