What is glycation and how does it lead to dry skin?

-Jul 17, Dr Sara Palmer Hussey, PhD, Health -

Glycation is another process that causes ageing in the body. It is defined as the haphazard bonding of proteins or lipids with sugars to form non-functioning structures called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). Some AGEs are very reactive and have been implicated in diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

Why does glycation make mean more wrinkles?

Glycation damages collagen, an essential component of healthy skin, by reducing its regenerative ability and increasing its breakdown. This results in the wrinkling, creping and sagging common in ageing skin. Glycation also depletes the skin of its natural moisturiser, hyaluronic acid, to cause dry skin, which further exacerbates the ageing process.

How does the body deal with glycation?

So, how does the body itself deal with glycation? It calls upon a unique dipeptide called carnosine that interferes with the glycation process. Carnosine levels in the body decline with age rendering the body more vulnerable to the damaging effects of glycation.

Do carnosine supplements help with glycation?  

Carnosine supplements are ineffective as they are broken down in the digestive tract and not absorbed; a more efficient way of upgrading stores of carnosine in the body is by providing its essential building blocks in the form of the amino acid alanine. Alanine is also a powerful antioxidant, a major part of connective tissue, an immune system booster, an important source of energy for muscle and the primary amino acid in sugar metabolism.

Blocking the actual formation of AGEs rather than focusing solely on undoing the damage caused by AGEs once it has already occurred, is far more effective in promoting and maintaining healthy collagen, which ensures the firmness and elasticity of the skin.

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