Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

AGEs are Powerful Contributing Factors to Many Diseases

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., DACBN, MS, CFMP

High levels of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) have been linked to inflammation, oxidative stress, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, renal (kidney) failure, premature aging and metabolic health.

One study examined a group of 559 older women and found those with the highest blood levels of AGEs were almost twice as likely to die from heart disease than those with the lowest levels.

High levels of inflammation over a long period can damage every organ in the body.

What are AGEs?

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that are formed when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream. 

If we are unable to clear the sugar out of the blood stream, the sugar molecules combine to proteins and create AGEs.

Diet is the biggest contributor of AGEs.

Foods highest in AGEs include meat (especially red meat), certain cheeses, fried eggs, butter, cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise and oils. Fried foods and highly processed products also contain high levels.

Of significance, even if your diet appears to be reasonably healthy, you may consume an unhealthy amount of harmful AGEs just because of the way your food is cooked.

Foods that have been exposed to high temperatures and dry heat, such as during barbecuing, grilling, roasting, baking, frying, sautéing, broiling, searing, and toasting, tend to be very high in AGEs.

These cooking methods may make food taste, smell, and look good, but they may raise your intake of AGEs to potentially harmful levels.

In fact, dry heat may increase the amount of AGEs by 10–100 times the levels of uncooked foods.

Diseases Associated with Advanced Glycation End Products

Diseases Associated with Advanced Glycation End Products

Unfortunately, when you consume too many AGEs your body can’t keep up with eliminating them and they accumulate playing havoc on your health and well-being increasing the risk of many diseases.

Many health professionals are calling for AGE levels to become a marker of overall health.

Testing for AGEs

Measuring Fructosamine and Hemoglobin A1c tests can assist in the early identification of dysglycemia as well as advanced glycation end products. 

The fructosamine test is a measurement of glycated protein, mainly albumin (the main protein in the blood). 

The hemoglobin A1c test is a well known tool for following long-term glucose control in patients with diabetes. However, the same blood test also helps identify age-accelerating glycation reactions in the body.

Monitoring hemoglobin A1c levels is essential for all adults who wish to identify excess glycation processes in their bodies and take measures to control and minimize glycation-induced damage.

Although the standard normal reference is below 5.7, to inhibit and reverse AGEs the optimal goal is <5.0

How to Get Rid of Advanced Glycation End Products

Fortunately, your body has mechanisms to eliminate these harmful compounds. The good news is that your body can fight AGEs through antioxidant and enzymatic activities.  The problem is that when you are eating too many foods that create AGEs, your body won’t be able to keep up with it and AGEs end up accumulating in your body.

Follow the optimal eating program to reduce AGEs  

1: Avoid processed foods, sugar, fructose, grains – especially wheat (even whole grain).

2: Animal-derived foods that are high in fat and protein are generally AGE-rich and prone to new AGE formation during cooking.

In contrast vegetables and fruits contain relatively few AGEs, even after cooking.

3: Cook Smart: AGEs are significantly reduced by cooking with moist heat such as poaching, steaming, stewing, and boiling. Using shorter cooking times, cooking at lower temperatures, and by use of acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar limits AGE generation.

4: Exercise regularly.

The Following Graphic and Below Details Provide Additional Nutritional Steps to Reduce AGEs

Polyphenols, found in fruits, vegetables and other plant-derived food have many beneficial biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and have the ability to inhibit the formation of AGEs. Approximately 200–300 mg of polyphenols are found in every 100 g of fresh fruit.

Spices and herbs, as good sources of polyphenols, could be strong inhibitors of advanced glycation end-product (AGE) formation. 
Research has shown cinnamon, cloves, and allspice to be good glycation inhibitor.


Foods high in polysaccharides include: sweet potatoes, green beans, winter squash, cassava, chickpeas, zucchini, hearts of palm, pears, oatmeal, lentils, green beans, oranges, beans, bananas and asparagus. These foods have been found to inhibit and reverse AGEs.

It has been identified the natural polysaccharides compound berberine as a potent AGEs inhibitor that significantly suppressed AGEs formation as well as improving glucose and lipid metabolism.

Hawthorn, bitter melon, oat, green tea have many biological activities, including antihyperglycemic, antioxidant, anti-atherosclerotic and anti-inflammatory activities as well as decreasing AGEs. The most studied of these compounds to date are oleanolic acid (OA) associated with the Mediterranean Diet. The most important sources of oleanolic acid in human diet are olives. Other medicinal plants containing oleanolic acids are seaweeds, apples, figs, and cranberriesOA at 500 µg/ml has been shown to almost completely inhibit the AGE formation.

Vitamins-Antiglycation Nutrients
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (α-tocopherol), thiamine and pyridoxamine are excellent antioxidants. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin widely found in fruits and vegetables. Ascorbic acid can compete with glucose for binding to proteins, reducing AGE production.

Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble vitamin found mainly in fruits, vegetables and nuts. Studies have shown that vitamin E has a good inhibitory effect on aging and glycation. It can resist lipid peroxidation, prevent the glycation of hemoglobin, and inhibit the formation of AGEs.

Studies have shown that benfotiamine can prevent glycation, and human studies have shown that it can help prevent the damage caused by glycation.

Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate is an active form of vitamin B6, like benfotiamine has the dual benefit of helping prevent glycation as well as its harmful effects.

Alkaloids are a class of naturally occurring compounds that are produced by many plants, especially nightshade vegetables. Peppers, coffee, tea leaves, tomatoes, black pepper and tonic water. (did you know that that taste is the result of the alkaloid quinine?). Alkaloids exert protective effects against advanced glycation end products.

Carnosine is a dipeptide naturally produced in the body; it is highly concentrated in brain and muscle tissue. Carnosine is a potent free-radical scavenger and anti-glycating agent that inhibits AGE formation and its cross-linked proteins, helping to keep them functioning properly.

Animal and human studies suggest that limiting dietary AGEs helps reduce levels of inflammation and oxidative stress protecting against many diseases and premature aging.

Several animal studies have shown that eating a low-AGE diet results in a lower risk of heart and kidney disease, increased insulin sensitivity, and lower levels of AGEs in blood and tissues by up to 53%.


** Always consult with a physician or healthcare practitioner with significant integrative or functional medicine training before starting any of the above recommendations.

Material in this post are provided, compliments of Functional Medicine University

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