Aging and Longevity – 3. Glycation

Glycation is one of four key process which lead to aging by damaging cells. Addressing these four issues reduces aging.

What Is Glycation?

Glycation is a process where sugar and protein molecules combine to form a tangled mess of tissue. Glycated tissue is tough and inflexible, leading to wrinkling not only of the skin, but also of important internal organs. Furthermore, glycated tissues then produce Aged Glycation End-products [AGEs], which further compound the problem by producing large numbers of damaging free radicals.

All in all, glycation is a nightmare process which degrades important body tissues. It must be dramatically reduced if aging is to be minimized.

What Problems Does Glycation Cause?

Glycation causes tough, wrinkled connective tissue. This is most visible on the skin as wrinkles. However, it occurs all through the body. Tough, inelastic connective tissue is very damaging to organs where flexibility is vital. This is especially important in the heart, kidneys, brain, eyes and pancreas.

The lack of flexibility in the important organs leads to reduced functionality and early death. The reason diabetics suffer from organ ailments earlier than most people is that their raised blood sugar level produce greater glycation.

How Can We Reduce Glycation?

Glycation cannot be stopped completely; neither can it be reversed, currently. However, it can be reduced considerably by making changes in lifestyle and diet.

There are two main causes of glycation;

  1. High blood glucose level, and
  2. Eating foods cooked at high temperatures – over 250°F (110°C, oven gas mark 1½)
1. High Blood Glucose

Continually high blood glucose promotes glycation, as well as other aging processes and degenerative diseases. If glycation is to be reduced, then so must the intake of sugar from the diet.

Sugar in the Diet

Dietary sugar comes from the obvious sugary sources – including honey and maple syrup – but it also comes from starchy food, many of which are close to 100% sugar, when they are broken down in the body.

These high sugar foods include potatoes, Rice, pasta, and all grains, including bread.

To reduce glycation, all these foods should be reduced to a minimum. This is most easily done by cutting them out of the diet when eating at home, and eating minimal amounts when visiting or eating out.

As a further guide, Kurzweil and Grossman (Fantastic Voyage, 2004 edition p57) suggests that a person 160 pounds [72 kg, 10 stone] should probably be limiting their total carbohydrate (= sugar + starches) intake to between 90-180g (3-6 oz). This will be derived mainly from sources such as vegetables, beans and small amounts of fruit, rather than the usual starch sources – potatoes, bread, pasta and rice.

2. Food Cooked At High Temperature

High temperature cooking produces glycation which, when eaten, causes glycation in our own tissues.

Food cooked at a temperature above 250°F promotes glycation. Do not barbecue, fry, grill, roast, [or broil]. Eat plenty of raw food in salads, and use slow cooking, steaming, simmering and stewing to prepare food.

Ideally, make sure all the food you eat is prepared in this way. Practically, only eat foods cooked at high temperatures on rare occasions, such as when visiting friends.

Wikipedia on glycation

Glycation Is Crucial To Aging

Although carnosine can be used to help reduce glycation:

see information about carnosine here

… it is best to reduce the process to a minimum using the above measures. Once tissue has become glycated there is no known way to reverse it, so it is best to reduce glycation as soon as possible.

However, taking carnosine in addition will only help, according to today’s evidence.

By using the above methods to help address glycation. You will age more healthily. By reducing blood glucose, you will be helping the body in various other ways too, by reducing the chance of developing heart and artery disease and certain cancers.

Practical application

When eating out, it’s a fairly simple matter to choose foods which follow these guidelines. “Salad-and-something” is an option which is often available; or order a protein choice such as braised fish or chicken plus mixed vegetables – hold the potatoes.

As in all things, don’t strain too much to get 100%. But doing 95% of all you can to avoid glycation is great. It will reduce your aging significantly. Oh – and it will certainly help reduce the amount your skin wrinkles.

Living A Long And Healthy Life

The evidence is strong that glycation is closely involved in most if not all degenerative diseases and in aging. Dealing with this and the three other ‘-ations’ – methylation, oxidation and inflammation– should be a priority for anyone concerned with living a fulfilling life with minimal illness.

  • Simon@Leadership

    I did not know that high glucose actually accellarates aging! I’d better lay off the red bull!

  • Malc

    You bet! Good move :-)

  • JLL
  • Malc

    Many thanks for that, Jerry.

  • Richard@How To Videos

    I had no idea that Glycation could be consumed by eating high temperature goods. Thanks for the insight!

  • chris@ younger looking eyes

    Great stuff. I didn’t know this either and ever bit of knowledge i get toward fighting aging is awesome. Thank you.

  • Malc

    UR Welcome.

    M :-)

  • Proofreader

    The Wiki page you link to says:

    “Exogenous, meaning outside the body, may also be referred to as dietary or pre-formed. Exogenous glycations and Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) are typically formed when sugars are cooked with proteins or fats. Temperatures over 120°C (~248°F) greatly accelerate the reactions, but lower temperatures with longer cooking times also promote their formation.”

    Which is not the same as your:

    “2. Food Cooked At High Temperature
    High temperature cooking produces glycation which, when eaten, causes glycation in our own tissues.

    Food cooked at a temperature above 250°F promotes glycation. Do not barbecue, fry, grill, roast, [or broil].”

    The cooking has to involve proteins or fats being cooked at gigh temperatures ALONG WITH SUGAR. An example might be grilling meat covered in barbeque sauce.

    If you want to inform, please do it accurately.

  • Alesandra @ nerd costume

    Hi thanks for sharing this ideas about Aging and Longevity. I’m glad to know that there a lot of ways to take care of our health so as to prolong our life. Though we’re aware of the reality that we all die, at least if that time comes we leave this earth having lived a descent life and fulfilled. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  • Deb

    I’m stunned about the grains, I have been led to believe they are good for you. Everything seems to be whole grain, so what do you do…

  • Malc

    I know – it’s shocking. Same with orange juice – always thought it was good for you: but though it has benefits, it’s near to sugar water :-( You just have to cut back on the grains and eat more lean protein with vegetables and salads: fewer grains, rice, pasta, bread. Sorry!

  • Malc

    Ok – so there are different interpretations. We are at the cutting edge here: and authors vary. But the main thrust of what I am saying is: check this out, cut down on food cooked at high temperatures.

    Pleased to see you went and checked it out – bully for you. :-)

  • Gabi

    Thanks for the great information. I have a blog that I use to share information about chemical peels to undo some aging to the skin, but this is a great strategy for the skin and total body:

  • Bhairavah

    actually, there is a way to rejuvenate: you can force the body to consume the glycated proteins by FASTING (40 days or more). the damaged tissue is the one consumed first. after the fast, it is mandatory to eat raw organic leaves (not fruits) in order to rebuild the body – if one eats shitty food, one can expect to ‘rebuild’ oneself with it, so the whole purpose of the fast is defeaed.

  • cindy

    i have been very interested in this subject lately, thanks Malc for the answer on the other post. I would like to ask you also how can i know if i am a victim of glycation? i have some wrinkles around my eyes and i’m only 25..also i have some chronic inflammation. I have decided to take resveratrol, glutathione and fish oil supplements to maximize the anti-aging process, but i can’t get any carnosine because where i’m from it is not available.What are other supplements good for anti-aging?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Cindy

    Thanks for your comments.

    We are all victim of glycation! You can minimise it if you keep your blood sugar level as low as you can.

    Blood tests help here:

    – Fasting blood glucose
    – HA1c (haemoglobin A1c) (rather magically, tells you what your average blood sugar has been for 4 months past)

    Also – if you have chronic inflammation – do you know that fact because you have had CRP measured? (c-reactive protein)

    If so, fish oil is the main recommended treatment: just take, say, 2000mg of DHA + EPA (read how much is in each capsule, add it up, and divide it into 2000. Take that many capsules a day.) Then retest after, say, 3-4 months.

    As for other supplements – I am in a quandry right now. I want to take more supplements – but I stopped taking Life Extension Foundation’s multi-min/vit when, after investigation, I was shocked to find it was badly formulated in several respects. It did not take account of years-old formulation criteria; that is, it was out of date. It appeared to have thrown out a couple of my mineral levels. (Could not be certain about the latter because did not have appropriate ‘before’ as well as ‘after’ blood tests. But the indications were there.) Anyway, at that time, I cut down to the minimum – Fish oil (1500mg EPA and DHA daily), spirulina (5 g daily), garlic and bowel flora.

    I have just have blood test panel results – today, actually. I am in the UK, but visited California for 2 weeks holiday and had tests done there: so I need to review now and decide what to introduce. Also for my partner.

    I am leaning towards ta-65 right now, and one option is to go and see Al Sears for a consultation – as he seems to be a decent guy (I like his interval training background) and he can prescribe ta-65.

    Hope this helps!



    Hey Malc
    Fluff-Free Internet Marketing

  • cindy

    hello, thanks again for answering , i will do the blood tests and see my results, right now i can say i feel much better after taking resveratrol, sam-e , glutathione, fish oil and b6+b12, i know it’s a lot but i need to make changes in my diet. i will try to keep a low carb diet from now on. By the way does fish oil help with an urinary tract inflammation? i am very disappointed because no matter what i do it just won’t go away, i also have a sticky blood so my circulation is very bad that’s why my ear is ringing sometimes. i am not from the uk or us, so i can’t visit the doctor you mentioned but i will gladly take your advice! i hope your blood tests will come out ok and i think the supplements you are taking are great! keep up the good job!
    thanks again

  • Anonymous

    Hi Cindy

    No, fish oil will probably not help with uti. I have a herbal supplement company, and for this condition I recommend out Kid Tea, on this page:
    01273 424333
    +44 1273 424333

  • Lena

    I´m writing an essay about AGEs and glycation. I want to use some information from this article but I just can´t find out who wrote this and what organisation that is responsible for this blog. And when was this written? Very thankful for a quick reply. Best regards, Lena.

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Hi Lena

    Yes – the “About” link had disappeared…

    I have put it back,



  • Sandra

    If you are researching AGE’s, look into benfotamine and type 1 diabetes to prevent damage from AGE’s.

  • etr

    Why on earth would you promote the false mantra of ‘eat more lean protein’? The fat is good for you if it is from a good source. (raised outdoors in sun and pasture)

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    I believe it may be better to eat less saturated fat, rather than more. Admittedly, the jury is out on that one – especially after the George Mann’s Maasai warrior study. But I have not had time to study the issue fully, so being on the safe side.


  • Deb

    I have a physically demanding job & have always eaten porridge with wheat germ for bfast, what on earth can I have that keeps me going for the 4hrs I’m on the go till the next feed and how do you cook meat if not grilling & frying

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Hi Deb

    It’s all a compromise… For staying full for a long time, you can’t beat protein. I just had poached eggs, ham, sliced tomatoes and a small slice of sprouted wheat bread and butter for breakfast and I feel very full 2 hours later. If I’d had muesli for breakfast, I’d be feeling peckish by now. You cook meat at low temperature by simmering, stewing, baking in foil or a pot with a lid or casseroling J




    Fluff-Free Internet Marketing

  • Philip Terry

    If we seperate protein from starch during digestion does that reduce glycation?

    (I have started doing it and feel much better……. Similar to Hay diet.)

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Hi Philip

    It’s not really about the food combining diet: it’s about what happens to the protein and carb once it is inside the body.

    Really, it’s about lowering glucose levels in the diet – which means reducing all high carb foods – mainly rice, pasta, potatoes, bread and other grains.



    Fluff-Free Internet Marketing

  • Rudraflo

    I stopped eating ALL grains, pasta, potatoes, corn, quinoa, millet–only eating meat and veggies, the occasional piece of fruit.  In 7 months, I’ve lost 55 pounds.  Now, if I have one bit of sugar, say a piece of candy, I have unbearable stomach pains.  If I eat a piece of bread, my abdomen hurts and I don’t feel good.  I used to be a vegan, and was very heavy.  I thought whole grains and soy and all that was good for me.  Now, I eat meat, oily salad dressings, and all manner of fat, but the weight keeps coming off.

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Wow – Interesting! Good weight loss. So clearly, fat doesn’t put on fat for you!

    Funny about the stomach pains.

    What was it in the vegan diet that put on weight for you – just the starch? Or did you eat food in a junk direction sometimes?



  • Elke Houghton at Juvele

    Top article. Can’t wait to read all the others.

  • Amirqullikutz

    the people of Hunza who live in karakuram mountains stop cooking food during fresh fruit season and they take fresh fruit three times a day. That might be one of the reasons for longivity of Hunza people.My father in law is 92 years old and in a perfect health fitness. Amir Qullikutz Hunzai

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Very interesting. Thanks for that feedback. :-)

  • Blueskies2fly

    Hi there ~  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s not to believe everything I read. Science in all it’s infinite wisdom doesn’t know everything. Remember when they told us NOT to eat eggs as they were so full of cholesterol? And now they’ve reversed it, saying they are the best thing we can eat . Ask yourselves this people, “IF we are doing such a horrible job with our diets, WHY are we living longer than ever?”

    I’m so sick of our country (America) and it’s obsession with anti-aging. We are flowers. We sprout (born), we bloom (flower), we wither (age) and finally, we die. That IS the way it is and making us feel guilty about it is the worse psychological thing society has done for us.

    I’ll get off my soap box now, but all I want to say is this ~ We have but this one life to live. Don’t live it worrying about leaving a young corpse behind. Everything in moderation, and natural is better than packaged ~ as long as you wash all the pesticides off (but that’s another problem all together)

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Hi Blueskies – the point is, to research as best you can. Accepting everything you hear is as bad as rejecting everything you hear. Part of the reason we are living longer is that medical interventions are more successful, and also infant mortality is reducing.

    I agree with your “moderation” suggestion, but also intelligent research will yield ways in which you can reduce the ravages of aging easily. For example, check out on this blog glycation and inflammation. Cheers, Malc

  • Norma Daniel

    At our Spa we offer a Skin DNA saliva test which results include your  genetic DNA Glycation propensity. Until I read your blog I was focused on discovering why some people’s skin ages faster than others. Now I realize that  glycation affects not only skin but all our organs. Although we can’t reverse the damage thankfully we can reduce glycation risk by eating the proper foods. If anyone in Canada is interested in having a Skin DNA test, they can contact us via email which is Thank you for such excellent information.

  • RobertAksland

    Fructose is much more likely to cause glycation than glucose. Reducing fructose is a very easy way to reduce glycation. Sources high in fructose is sugar and honey, and of course high fructose corn sirup. Most fruits contain fructose, especially apples and pears. This knowledge makes it easier to minimize glycation.

  • Orla

    Thanks for this article :) Ok, so right now around 80% of my calories come from fruits daily, so I’m going to age rapidly?! Say what!! :( I was under the impression that artificial sugars are different to natural sugars in regards to the formation of AGEs – ie the latter producing less?

    Oh dear, the more you learn the more you realise you don’t know lol

  • Dave

    Don’t believe everything you read. Do your own research.

  • Malc

    I know – it’s annoying, isn’t it? I was shocked when I discovered fruit juice was next door to coke for sugar content and effect 😐

    Yeah – fruit pushes up blood sugar. And blood sugar is directly related to aging.

    I only eat fruit with something to slow down digestion of it. So I have an apple with a mixture of peanut butte (no salt, no sugar type) and tahini. Prob not perfect! But better than apple on its own, I reckon.

    Malc :)

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Yep – that glycation goes right through the body. 😐

  • NanoDoc

    Frankly, the explanations here are far too simplistic to be blindly acceptable. Sometimes it’s easy to look at something that you see and then attempt to explain it without knowing anything about the real processes of causation…..really it’s akin to “Guesstimation”. Want another way to actually understand aging….that makes perfect sense? Go to

  • Pingback: A diet for health | AHZ()

  • Pingback: Glycation and Why We Should Strive To Reduce It()

  • Pingback: The Problem With PUFA - Critical MAS()

  • Steve

    Excellent advice! Thanks for the informative article.

  • Malc Simmonds

    Cheers Steve. Glad you found it helpful.

  • Pingback: Vitamin B6: Extension of B Vitamin -

  • barefoothorseman

    If the skin replaces itself every month why would the damaged skin not simply be replaced by new skin

  • Emiliyan Aslanyan

    Meats and cheeses as well as fats have the highest amount of advanced glycation end products which are the result of glycation.