As the cost of "Sick"care skyrockets so to do the cost associated with every aspect of the sick care industry (insurance premiums, co-pays, pharmaceutical drugs, sick leave, etc.). The time to act and take care of ourselves while jealously guarding our health has come. We can no longer afford to hand over our health or our wealth to others and hope to live happy, productive lives. The goal of this blog is to wade through some of the more mundane as well as a few sensational health issues that affect us today and how to get over them.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Are you familiar with your AGE?

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What's troubling you or a loved one these days? Is it a chronic condition like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, etc. Perhaps it's something like a lack of energy, sex drive or a zest for life. Our lives today involve so much chronic stress and inflammatory foods it is a wonder we survive at all. Our lives are not meant for us to be mere survivors and there is one thing that is for sure; surviving is not thriving. Thriving involves quality of life while surviving focuses on quantity. So what does this philosophical posturing have to do with your AGE? Well, it is your AGE that partly determines how fast you "age" and it is the speed of your aging that helps determine your quality of life.

 What are AGE's?

AGE stands for advanced glycated end-products. They form throughout our lives in varying degrees depending on our aptitude to live healthy. In a nut shell AGE's are molecular trash formed when glucose (blood sugar) molecules bond with free amino groups like proteins, lipids and nucleic acids that may be in the blood at the same time. These free amino groups come primarily from inflammatory foods and when they bond with glucose they change structurally and become nutritionally void and useless. Not only are they useless but they accumulate in the body where they begin to change a person from thriving to surviving (more on this in a bit).

AGE's also attach themselves to LDL cholesterol and once attached the cholesterol oxidizes making it sticky. At this point it is just a matter of time before atherosclerosis and other degenerative cardiovascular conditions begin to set in.

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Where do they accumulate? 

AGE's have the ability to disrupt the life of all people but it is especially true for those who suffer with diabetes. The reason for this is because of where AGE's tend to accumulate. Diabetics suffer from a wide range of "spin-off" ailments such as heart attacks, nephropathy (kidney disease), stroke, neuropathy, eye disease and erectile dysfunction. AGE's find their way into cardiovascular tissues, nerve endings (especially those in the extremities and penis), brain tissues, and eyes. Once there they lodge themselves into the tissues and begin producing free radicals at a rate that is 50 times higher than non-glycated proteins. These free radicals alter the natural state of healthy cells in the body rendering them non-functional or potentially malignant (cancerous). The retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and atherosclerosis are directly correlated to this free radical production free-for-all. You no longer need to wonder why these conditions affect diabetics so specifically anymore. Furthermore, the free radicals produced can cause aging related issues such as thinning and graying hair, deep wrinkles in the skin, bone mineral depletion (leading to osteoporosis), a weakened immune system due to chronic inflammation, and adrenal fatigue causing loss of energy, drive and libido. The aforementioned issues can occur in anyone just in case you were thinking this only applied to diabetics. It's one for the AGE's.

How to avoid them?

High blood sugar levels over an extended period of time leads to increased glycation (associated with AGE's). Blood sugar control through exercise and a healthy eating plan, which would include eating foods that are minimally processed and fresh with low glycemic loads, will go along way in the fight against AGE's. If you are diabetic right now do not rely solely on medication for glucose control. Your blood sugar levels may be within normal range but your AGE's may still be high do to poor eating habits.

A simple way to check your rate of AGE production is through a HbA1c blood test. Traditionally used to check blood glucose levels it is also a way to gauge you AGE.

Source: Reversing Diabetes by Don Colbert, M.D.

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