Health scientists now believe that sugar over a lifetime can cause dull wrinkled skin!
Glycation, a natural metabolic process, is to blame. When sugar enters the bloodstream, it attaches to protein molecules and forms a harmful molecule called Advanced Glycation End Products, the pseudonym of which is AGEs. The more sugar you eat the more AGEs you develop.
The other offender causing AGEs is rapidly cooking foods, e.g. frying. These bonds between sugar and protein are difficult to break, which is bad because as the AGEs accumulate they attach to enzymes required for every chemical reaction in the body, collagen, elastin, immunoglobulins, and virtually everything on a molecular level, causing damage to all of the above. Collagen and elastin (the protein fibers that keep skin firm) are most vulnerable to damage. In fact, collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body and once damaged, the damaged collagen becomes dry and brittle which then leads to wrinkles. The elastin becomes “gummed up” and cannot contract back to its original shorter length, thus causing sagging. This aging effect starts around age 35 and increases rapidly after that.
Besides sugar damaging collagen, it can also affect what type of collagen you have, another factor in how resistant skin is to wrinkling. The most abundant collagens in the skin are Type 1, 11 and 111. Type 111 is the most stable and longest lasting. Glycation transforms type 111 collagen into type 1, which is more fragile. When this happens the skin looks and feels less supple.
AGE’s also de-activates your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes and immunoglobulins, as mentioned above, leaving the skin more vulnerable to sun damage. The UV light from the sun and smoking are still the main causes of skin aging.
The good news regarding sugar damaged skin is that it can be reversed. One way to do this is to build new collagen with a skin treatment system that includes ingredients that actually both rebuild collagen and help prevent formation of AGEs. These ingredients are found in New Youth Skin Treatment System, the main ones being carnosine, alpha lipoic acid, extracts from Russian black tea, among others. Glycation “bond breakers” have been one of the primary goals of New Youth.
Changing one’s diet will also help reverse the effect of AGEs. Glycation is a main cause of hardening of arteries, arteriosclerosis, and thus anything that requires a blood supply is affected. Limiting simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, white bread, potatoes, white rice, fried foods or rapidly cooked proteins reduces formation of AGEs.
The book “Why Grow Old,” which I authored, has a chapter and many other sources on this all too important subject of glycation. It can be purchased through Amazon or our office, www.fingerandassociates.com or www.newyouthskincare.com.
E. Ronald Finger, M.D.
Finger and Associates Plastic Surgery Center, PC