Glycation is a process by which proteins, certain fats, and glucose tangle together. It affects all body tissues, and tends to make them stiff and inflexible. Glycation causes most problems for organs where flexibility is most important, such as the heart, kidneys, skin and eyes.
Once it has become glycated, the tissues start to produce ‘glycotoxins’, such as Advanced Glycation End-products - or AGEs, which are damaging to our cells. AGEs do this in two ways, both of which promote aging: they produce free radicals, and increase inflammation.
Glycation, and the glycotoxins caused by it, are a major cause of the horrible side-effects of being diabetic – higher levels of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and eye problems. Happily, though not widely known, these conditions can be partly or fully controlled, as discussed below.
Glycation is particularly relevant to diabetics as it is more likely because of the raised blood sugar which is a feature of diabetes.
Treatment of glycation
Treatment of glycation is through 3 routes:
- Avoiding certain foods
- Keep blood sugar levels low
1. It is the preparation of food which is important when seeking to avoid glycation. Specifically, high temperature cooking must be avoided. Frying, grilling and roasting all produce glycation and ‘glycotoxins’.
Much manufactured food will have been prepared using high temperature processes. Junk food can be a nightmare of glycation! Food should be chosen which is which is raw, steamed, stewed or poached. A slow cooker is very useful to prepare meat, fish or vegetarian meals easily, conveniently – safely.
glycation helped by poaching food
2. A healthy blood sugar range is below 100mg/dL. Above this level, glycation occurs much more readily. This level can be checked with a ‘fasting blood test’; ie you don’t eat for a length of time, then blood is taken for analysis. If blood sugar is higher than 100mg/dL, action can be taken to reduce blood sugar. This can quickly be achieved by dramatically reducing starchy food in the diet, and replacing it with extra vegetables, salads and protein.
- High temp. cooking leads to glycation
- Glycation reduce tissue flexibility
- Damages heart, kidneys, eyes, brain
- Poaching, stewing, slow cooking are best
- Take supplements if necessary
The starchy foods to cut out or reduce dramatically, are; sugar itself, potatoes, and grains and grain products including bread, pastries and pasta. Fruit juice and cooked fruit should be reduced or cut out because its sugar quickly passes into the blood; but moderate amounts of whole fruit are fine as they contain abundant nutrients and their sugar is absorbed more slowly thanks to the fibre content of the fruit.
3. The primary supplements to help avoid glycation are benfotiamine and carnosine.
Benfotiamine is a form of vitamin B1 which has been shown strongly to protect against the damage to nerves and blood vessels caused by glycation. It does this by acting on the triosephosphates caused by glycation, which can damage both blood and nerve cells. Studies have shown that benfotiamine reduces the formation of triosephosphates as well as reducing its effects once it has formed. Benfotiamine has not reported side-effects.
For all these reasons, Benfotiamine is of particular benefit to diabetics.
Carnosine is a combination of two amino acids which shields proteins from being attacked by glycotoxins – such as AGEs. A maintenance dose of carnosine is recommended for everyone; for diabetics, a larger dose is highly protective, and has no known side-effects.
Slow Cooking reduces damaging glycation.
Sticking to food prepared with low temperatures is an easy way to reduce aging. Barbequeued, grilled and roasted food are just loaded with glycotoxins. If you want to help yourself avoid eye, circulation, kidney and brain problems, stick to poaching, braising, and slow cooking.
If you need extra help to reduce glycation – and especially if you are diabetic – benfotiamine and carnosine have a proven track record, and are safe.
Read the book: “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Diabetes” (An Innovative Program to Prevent, Treat, and Beat this Controllable Disease. This book amplifies the information given in this article, and fills in more details. Recommended. It is by Steven Joyhal a medical doctor.
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