Sugar Damage and Related Research

For anyone interested in looking “behind the scenes” at the research that goes into development of medical knowledge, this is a link to what I have been doing this morning. (Note: it is not obvious, but there are 4 pages, you click at the top right.)

I have spent the past couple of hours looking at research related to damage from high blood sugars and from molecules that have been damaged by sugar (glycation). Some of these molecules are called AGEs, which is Advanced Glycation End Products. In the body, these attach to receptors, which are thus called RAGEs, or Receptors for Advanced Glycation End Products. It gets confusing as AGEs aren’t the only damaging molecules from high blood sugars. On top of that, it is now known that RAGEs react to many other molecules that occur within the body, not just those related to sugar damage.

AGEs are produced in your body and they are also present in foods. The AGEs present in foods (bacon is, sadly, the source of the greatest amount of AGEs in the typical North American diet) have been shown in research to have damaging effects.

This list of published papers is in no way an attempt to be complete, just some interesting ones I have set aside in a list, published in the past few months, to pursue in more depth later. To be more complete, I would do other searches on PubMed  using related search terms or following the work of specific researchers. For example, the older citations on the list are because I followed backwards Dr. Ceriello’s work, for example:

Vascul Pharmacol. 2012 May 16. [Epub ahead of print]

The emerging challenge in diabetes: The “metabolic memory”

Ceriello A.


Large randomized studies have established that early intensive glycemic control reduces the risk of diabetic complications, both micro and macrovascular. However, epidemiological and prospective data support a long-term influence of early metabolic control on clinical outcomes. This phenomenon has recently been defined as “metabolic memory.” Potential mechanisms for propagating this “memory” may be the production of reactive species unrelated to the presence of hyperglycemia, depending on the previous production of AGEs which can maintain RAGE over-expression, on the level of glycation of mitochondrial proteins and on the amount of mtDNA produced, all conditions able to induce an altered gene expression which may be persistent even when glycemia is normalized. Clinically, the emergence of this “metabolic memory” suggests the need for a very early aggressive treatment aiming to “normalize” the metabolic control and the addition of agents which reduce cellular reactive species and glycation in addition to normalizing glucose levels in diabetic patients in order to minimize long-term diabetic complications.

Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.  PMID:22609133

I generally will look at a thousand or so of these “abstracts” of published papers in a typical week, on many different health-related topics, but mostly regarding diet and nutrition.

The place to go online for information about AGEs is to the website The AGE-less Way, where you can learn about this subject and the very important work of Dr. Jaime Uribarri MD and Dr. Helen Vlassara MD.  There is much useful info on their site and they also have a book out, The AGE-less Way, available in print and on Kindle.  Dr. Uribarri was interviewed by Jimmy Moore in January 2012.

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