The Trouble with Wheat #8: AGE’s and Aging
Aren’t we all aging? Well, some faster than others! And wheat is central to that problem. It all has to do with the acronym AGE which stands for Advanced Glycemic End-Products. When you eat a lot of refined wheat products and have a high glycemic response, which we talked about a couple weeks back, you also have to understand the chemistry of what happens to that high blood glucose that wheat causes.
Glucose is quite a chemically reactive molecule. That’s why it has so much energy packed inside it and makes it so valuable to use as the body’s “gasoline”. But we have to take care of gasoline for our cars with exquisite care. We are very cautious about dispensing it with nozzles that soak up the vapors. We dispense it into our car engines with precise dosing. That same analogy works for your body with glucose – to a point. It is our fuel for many of our cells. When we eat broccoli, spinach, cabbage and other low glycemic foods, our blood glucose doesn’t rise very fast or very far, but stays gently elevated in the range our body’s mechanisms can use smoothly. When it rises a bit too fast and too far, the reactive quality of glucose kicks in, just because there is too much of it. It starts to attach to things.
AGE’s are proteins that have had a glucose molecule become inadvertently attached to them just because of the high glucose level. That glucose gets glomed onto a part of the protein that wasn’t meant to have anything attached to it. Can you imagine having a softball suddenly welded to your elbow? You could use your arm, but it would be hard to put on a jacket. And bending your elbow would be unwieldy. Can you imagine another softball attached to your ribs, and one to your forehead? Eventually you would get pretty spastic and have a hard time functioning. Well, that’s what happens with high glucose. Whereever it happens you get dysfunctional proteins. We can measure it with hemoglobin easily because we can simply draw a tube of blood. HgbA1c is the name we give to the AGE product of hemoglobin. That hemoglobin doesn’t work as well as a clean, non-glycosylated hemoglobin. We want a level below 6. Five would be nice. 10 is awful. It provides us with a window into how high our glucose has been internally for the last couple of weeks.
Guess what happens with wheat? High glycemic index means higher blood glucose. Higher glucose around collagen means stiffer, less stretchy collagen. Collagen is what makes your skin stretchy and supple, your arteries bend, your joints flexible. Guess what happens when those things become glycosylated. They AGE, in both senses. That’s it in a nutshell. You look older, function older, feel older. From wheat.
WWW. What will work for me. Want to look young? Want to not have osteoarthritis? Want to not have wrinkles in your skin? Eat foods with lower glycemic indexes so your blood sugar is lower. The chief culprit is wheat. It doesn’t happen overnight and you can’t go backwards very fast, but some things do repair slowly. If not, bad things happen faster going forward. You are aging faster than you would otherwise. You are “rusting”.
Written by John E Whitcomb, MD Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic, 17585 W North Ave, Suite 160 Brookfield, WI 53045 262-784-5300