Hemoglobin A1c Testing to know your AGE (AGE = advanced glycation end-products)

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The hemoglobin A1c test is a well known tool for following long-term glucose control in patients with diabetes. However, the same blood test also helps identify age-accelerating glycation reactions in the body.

New studies reveal that all of us may suffer from the damage inflicted by advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are formed when sugars bind with proteins or amino acids in the body.  AGEs cause damage by causing cross-linking that causes intracellular damage and apoptosis. Recent research indicates that these damaging end products play a role in heart disease, cancer, neurodegeneration (dementia), cataracts  and the aging process itself.   Monitoring hemoglobin A1c levels is essential for all adults who wish to identify excess glycation processes in their bodies and take measures to control and minimize glycation-induced damage.

Research suggests that a hemoglobin A1c level of less than 5% is ideal.  Surprisingly, glucose is only part of what increases the A1c.   The A1c goes for two reasons;

1.    We eat foods that raise our glucose.  Sugary, starchy food cause our glucose to increase and this causes glycation of our bodies proteins.
2.    We eat AGE rich foods.  The ingestion of dietary AGE’s from foods cooked at high temperatures.

1.    Follow the optimal eating program.  Avoid processed foods, sugar, fructose, grains – especially wheat (even whole grain). Animal-derived foods that are high in fat and protein are generally AGE-rich and prone to new AGE formation during cooking. In contrast vegetables and fruits contain relatively few AGEs, even after cooking.
2.    Cook Smart: Steam, Stew,  Boil.  AGEs are significantly reduced by cooking with moist heat, using shorter cooking times, cooking at lower temperatures, and by use of acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar.  low-AGE– generating cooking methods such as poaching, steaming, stewing, and boiling.  For example, the high AGE content of broiled chicken (5,828 kU/100 g) and broiled beef (5,963 kU/100 g) can be significantly reduced(1,124 kU/100 g and 2,230 kU/100 g, respectively) when the same piece of meat is either boiled or stewed. The use of acidic marinades, such as lemon juice and vinegar,before cooking can also be encouraged to limit AGE generation. These culinary techniques have long been featured in Mediterranean, Asian, and other cuisines throughout the world to create palatable, easily prepared dishes.
3.    Exercise regularly.
4.    Hormonal balance: thyroid, DHEA, testosterone in men, progesterone in women.
5.    Supplements to lower AGE include: Cinnamon, garlic, psyllium, chromium 400-1000 mcg/day, alpha lipoic acid 300-600 mg/day, fish oil – 1 teaspoon or 4 capsules, carnosine, and benfotiamine Vitamin_C,  Vitamin B6,  L-taurine.  Resveratrol helps protect against AGE damage.

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