Is your gluten free diet anti-aging?

Gluten is a word derived from the Latin language which gives the meaning “glue”. As the name suggests, gluten gives an adhesive effect to various cereal grains in addition to providing elasticity, maintaining the shape and helping in the rising process for the doughs made from those cereal grains. Gluten is made out of prolamins and glutelins which are two forms of storage proteins. It is stored along with starch in the tissues that are formed inside the seeds following fertilization, known as the endosperm. Gluten is commonly found in wheat, barley, rye, oats and several other cereal grains.

Gluten is identified as having aging effects primarily due to the biological mechanisms that gluten undergoes such as glycation, inflammation and oxidation. In addition to these three mechanisms, gluten is known to cause various conditions in some individuals such as celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity which may have aging effects. Even though there are several such mechanisms when gluten is considered, the most noteworthy issue that is talked about is the celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction that occurs in the presence of gluten in the diet. This condition can be treated by strictly following a non-gluten diet. Celiac disease causes the immune system to react in such a way that it damages the villi in the small intestine when gluten is ingested. It is also known to cause a number of other symptoms among which inflammation is identified as an accelerator for the aging process. Numerous animal and clinical studies have been conducted to identify how inflammation can induce aging and the results positively associate inflammations to induce aging and develop chronic diseases. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is defined as “a clinical entity induced by the ingestion of gluten leading to intestinal and/or extraintestinal symptoms that improve once the gluten-containing foodstuff is removed from the diet, and celiac disease and wheat allergy have been excluded”. It is another common disorder that is associated with a number of aging effects such as dementia and inflammation which may accelerate aging in addition to the general symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, peripheral immune and neuro-immune communication. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are also known to cause difficulties in recalling and memory and may lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, since celiac disease patients are to strictly follow gluten free diets, the effects may be minimal. Also, non-celiac gluten sensitivity does not occur in every individual and thus, there is a requirement to identify whether gluten can have an affect on aging in individuals who are not diagnosed with these diseases. Gluten causes aging in such situations by the process of glycation and oxidation. Glycation is a biochemical process that bonds lipid, protein and sugar molecules that forms Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) which causes stiffening of protein fibers, resulting in wrinkles and reduced performance and functionality of organs. This is a normal process that occurs, however more AGEs are produced in diets that contain gluten, resulting in premature aging. Oxidation of gluten also causes the hardening of proteins which can cause similar symptoms to glycation, resulting in lose or saggy skin.

To minimize premature aging, try to minimize gluten in your diet or switch to a gluten free diet to enjoy the maximum benefits.


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Is sugar linked to premature aging?

Sugar has been around for centuries, even though it was not always cheap or abundant as it is now. It was produced in ancient India and was first found in Europe as an imported medicine, not as a sweetener, in the 1st century CE. Sugar is a soluble carbohydrate which is used extensively in the food industry to provide a sweet taste and flavor. There are several types of sugar which is derived from a number of different sources. The “table sugar” or granulated sugar which is most commonly used is a sucrose. Sucrose is formed by the two simple sugars known as glucose and fructose. When sugar enters the body, sucrose is broken down into the simple sugars, fructose and glucose again.

Even though sugar is one of the most essential ingredients when it comes to preparing food, it is associated with several health effects. The impact of sugar is quite significant, so much so that many countries are setting quantitative targets for added sugar. Increased use of sugar is becoming a significant issue as it causes many diseases and has a harmful effect on metabolism. Sugar contains a large number of calories but does not have any essential nutrients. Therefore, consuming large quantities of sugar can cause various nutrition deficiencies. It can also cause issues with your teeth since sugar provides an easily digestible form of energy to the harmful bacteria in the mouth. The fructose present in sugar can overexert the liver since the liver is the only significant place which can metabolize it. Overloading the liver with sugar will cause serious problems in the liver. Increased sugar intake can also build up a resistance to insulin which is an important hormone in the body. This can lead up to diseases such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Insulin resistance is believed to be the major cause for obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

Recent studies have identified sugar to be a catalyst in the aging process, giving your skin the appearance that it has aged. According to a paper published by F.W Danby from the Department of Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, glucose and fructose present in sugar gets combined with the amino acids found in collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin supports the dermis, and when increased sugar levels are found in the body this combination with amino acids form Advanced Glycation End Products also known as “AGEs” which can elevate the aging of skin. This process will be further sped up during the presence of ultra violet radiation on the skin. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to dark circles, wrinkles and dehydrated skin, causing the aging process to occur much faster than normal. Therefore, to answer the question of whether sugar can age you simply, yes, it can.

The problem is that it is difficult to keep track of how much sugar you consume because almost all foods contain sugar. This is the main reason why we are ingested with more sugar than we realize. Therefore, it is important to understand how much sugar in what you eat and to maintain a healthy intake level. This will ensure that you can lead a healthy life free from diseases and untimely aging.


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