Second Chance Blog

Save your Skin, Starve a Wrinkle

Beauty in NOT Skin Deep, Part #2 Nutrition.

Just as the word "glycosylation" will destroy your opponent in Scrabble, the process of Glycosylation destroys your body's youthfulness from the skin right down to the arteries! At the skin level the glycosylation of collagen causes your skin to become less elastic resulting in increased wrinkles and skin stiffness. But that is just the obvious surface damage! Other changes are occurring deep inside the body at a molecular level!

Glycosylation happens when sugar molecules (glucose) circulating in the blood attach to protein molecules, reducing their effectiveness and contributing to inflammation. This entire process happens more easily and more quickly the older we get. Glucose itself is needed by the body as it gives our cells the energy required to function. Insulin is what moves the glucose out of our blood and into our cells where it is can be used. When we develop insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes or being overweight) the insulin can't get all the glucose into our cells, so it circulates in our blood, and damages the proteins in our body.

How does this glucose cause damage? It attaches onto another molecule on the outside of the cell, and interferes with the function of that cell. Imagine that you have your hands full and someone hands you something that you really want and need…but you can't accept this item because your hands are already full. With glycosylation the receptors on the outside of your cell are occupied with the glucose molecules therefore the cell itself cannot do its job properly. When glucose attaches to protein molecules, these modified proteins are called Advanced Glycosylation End Products (AGE…an appropriate acronym don't you think?). AGE's are a key cause to cellular aging and dysfunction!

Of course the damage caused by glycosylation is much more than skin deep! It occurs in a variety of locations in the body:

a) The blood: The cells in the walls of your blood vessels are normally tight together. Glycosylation weakens the bonds between the cells making the wall leaky and vulnerable to tears. This damage is repaired by the body with cholesterol plugs, resulting in plaque in the arterial walls.

b) The eye: Glucose attached to the proteins in the lens of your eye, makes the lens more cloudy leading to cataracts. If the glucose attaches to the proteins in the blood vessels at the back of the eye, it makes them leaky. When bleeding occurs it is called diabetic neuropathy, a leading cause of blindness

c) Connective Tissues: Glucose attached to collagen in your connective tissue, leads to less elasticity, and interferes with the smooth function of your joints. This can lead to impaired joint movement and even arthritis.

d) The lungs: Glucose attached to collagen reduces the elasticity of lung tissue….when we breathe in, our lungs need to expand or stretch, and when we exhale the lung tissue needs to recoil to help expel the air. Loss of this elasticity results in difficulty in getting air in and out of your lungs. Eventually with enough long term damage you may end up with respiratory failure.

e) Blood Pressure: there is an automatic system in your body that regulates your blood pressure. Too much blood sugar destroys this auto-regulation system putting more stress on your artery walls (which remember, have also been weakened by excess glucose)

f) Nerves: Glucose inside your nerve cells, results in the nerve itself expanding, but the sheath around the nerve stays the same…like after eating that large Thanksgiving meal and having to undo the top button on your now uncomfortably tight jeans! Over time this causes damage to the nerves resulting in peripheral neuropathy, where the sensation is diminished most commonly in the feet.

g) Skin: Glucose attached to the protein molecules in the skin results in reduced elasticity, that more "stiff" appearance of the skin as we age. The cross linking of the collagen fibers also contributes to the formation of fine lines and deeper wrinkles.

Increased blood sugar happens when we indulge in sweets such as candy and deserts, but it also occurs when we consume simple carbohydrates such as breads, pastas, white potatoes etc. Ideally we should eat only low glycemic index foods. Visit to learn more.

So the next time you reach for that sweet treat, think about whether the brief enjoyment of that item, is worth the development or deepening of a wrinkle, or the accelerated aging of your precious cells and organs! Walk away from that food. Save your skin, and starve a wrinkle!

Written by Second Chance at 11:26




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