AGEs and How to Minimize Them

by Margaret Stoklosa

AGEs or Advanced Glycation End-Products do exactly what they say they do: they AGE you.  These byproducts of reactions between sugars and proteins/fats add to body stress, heighten inflammation, and require nutrients to neutralize. While the body produces these molecules on a daily basis, eating certain things or eating in certain ways will heighten the pool and thus tax internal reserves. Since the body has receptors for these AGEs, more AGEs mean increased inflammation and an increased predisposal for chronic disease.  While most AGEs come from food, smoking generates an extensive number of AGEs, as does exposure to various toxins in the environment. 

Research indicates that AGEs are associated with the following conditions: (3)(4) 

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome 
  • Cardiovascular Disease 
  • Cancer 
  • Elevated Cholesterol 
  • Kidney Disease 
  • Type II Diabetes and its complications 

How to Minimize AGEs 

  • Minimize eating out – food preparation when eating out emphasizes speed and efficiency at the detriment of quality. Additionally, oils used for preparation may contain high levels of AGEs due to reuse. (1) 
  • When using the microwave to reheat food, turn down the power setting and ensure moisture in the dish. (2) 
  • Focus on incorporating water when cooking and decrease the temperature to avoid generating AGEs. Frying (yes, air frying too), charring, grilling, roasting and broiling all generate higher AGEs due to the lack of moisture and high heat. 
  • Focus on incorporating spices to counteract the formation of AGEs. Rosemary, garlic, and thyme are all great choices. 
  • Cook your food with acidic ingredients such as lemon, vinegar, tomato or lime.  Doing so can reduce the AGE content by 50%. (5) 
  • Focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains to counteract AGE formation. 
  • Incorporate moderate exercise into your daily routine, as it has been shown to be effective at reducing AGEs. (6) 

Speaking to our in-house nutritionist can help to identify sources of AGEs in your diet and ways to minimize them on your journey of healthy living. 

1. PMID: 28740318 ; 2. PMID: 20359976 ; 3. PMID: 26938557 ; 4. PMID: 31285723 ; 5. PMID: 20497781 ; 6. PMID: 19478714 

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