It is that time of year every turn there is something tempting, sugar treats to that traditional once a year family recipe. It starts with Halloween candy and then continues with the holiday baking! All the extra sugar can wreak havoc on the skin and body. The average American consumes between 150 and 170 pounds of sugar each year, that number is staggering, that is a person! A new World Health Organization (WHO) guideline recommends that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake to provide health benefits and help reduce the risk of obesity and tooth decay. These free sugars are monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and natural sugars found in honey, syrups, and fruit juices. The skin and body can benefit from this guideline too. Glycation can only be prevented or mitigated due to changes to diet and lifestyle.
Glycation is the process by which a sugar molecule, either fructose or glucose, bonds to a protein or lipid molecule. This is a natural process for sugars in the blood stream to attach to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. As AGEs accumulate, they permanently damage and do not detach from other proteins next to them. The more sugar we eat the more AGEs develop. AGEs not only damage collagen and elastin, but also causes inflammation.
Glycation happens in the skin and the body. In the skin it causes crosslinking of collagen, resulting in collagen and elastin to become brittle, making the skin sag and wrinkle. In the body it causes degenerative and inflammatory response compromising the function of bones, tendons, cartilage, teeth, muscles, cardiovascular system and shrinks the brain. Elevated blood sugar levels cause neurons to miscommunicate. Especially in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center. Alzheimer’s disease relates to even the slightest elevated blood sugar levels over time.
Enjoy the holiday season, maybe slow the sugar intake a bit, and be proactive in protecting the health of your skin and body. Manage stress levels, keep moving, carve out time to exercise, eat some protective foods, dark leafy greens, broccoli, almonds to name a few and have a plan to clean up/detox as the season weans. For the skin look to products with alpha lipoic acid, vitamin E, green tea and other anti-oxidants. Massage the skin when cleansing and applying moisturizer to release collagen bundles and Don’t go to sleep without washing your face!
Here is proactive and reparative program to combat the Glycation effects on the skin and body:
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