Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are increased in people whose metabolism isn’t functioning optimally anymore such as diabetics and elderly.
These AGEs are associated with many adverse health effects.
Researchers from Japan have found that exercise might help to reduce these AGEs.
AGEs form when sugar molecules attach to proteins. This process happens during normal metabolism, but is increased in diabetics and elderly.
AGEs can also form during heating processes in food preparation and about 10% of them are absorbed when ingested.
AGEs exert their adverse health effects through a variety of mechanisms.
First, they can bind to their receptor called RAGE, which triggers inflammation. Inflammation contributes to many diseases such as heart disease when it is chronically elevated.
Second, when a sugar molecule attaches to a protein, the normal function of the protein can be disturbed.
Finally, multiple proteins can be
linked together by AGEs, which increases stiffness in the tissues these proteins are part of.
In muscle tissue for example example, the increased inflammation can reduce muscle mass, while the attachment of sugar groups to the muscle proteins inhibits its normal muscle function and the cross-linking of the muscle proteins increases muscle stiffness. Thus, AGEs are deleterious
for both health and performance.
Japanese researchers may have found a way to combat the amount of AGEs in your blood: exercise. They compared a healthy group of women that participated in a 12 week exercise intervention to a control group who performed no exercise. They measured two different AGEs: CML and pentosidine. They found that CML was reduced in the exercise group compared to control, but found no significant effect for pentosidine. The figure below shows their findings:
These results are in line with previous studies in animals which showed that exercise was effective to reduce CML. Thus, exercise might be an effective way to lower some type of AGEs. Are there other options to reduce AGEs? Yes, and I’ll discuss them soon!