The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 11 No. 7 • December 2008

Slowing Aging by De-AGEing: Western Diets Contain
High Levels of Fat and Also of AGEs

As the study of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) proceeds, more information is being revealed about the deleterious effects of ubiquitous dietary content of AGEs and their precursors, as well as the health and longevity benefits of reducing them. New papers looked at the effect of dietary AGE content on the results of caloric restriction in mice, mediation of cardiac inflammation by AGEs in a Western-style diet [e.g., high (21%) fat], and inhibition of protein glycation (which proceeds to AGEs) by extracts of culinary herbs and spices. Do your health a favor that you will definitely not get from any government-funded healthcare program by reducing your intake of AGEs.

A research group published a new paper1 testing the hypothesis that consumption of a reduced calorie diet, which also reduces the consumption of dietary AGEs, might mean that some of the beneficial effects of caloric restriction (CR) are due to AGE restriction. The researchers created an increased AGE version of a CR diet by increasing the heat exposure of the diet by 15 minutes at 120°C, which contained AGE levels similar to those ingested in the regular (Reg) diet fed ad lib to another group of mice in the experiments.

Lifespan Effects of CR Erased by High AGEs

Compared to control CR mice (eating the basic CR diet without the additional heat treatment-created AGEs), the CR-high (higher in AGEs) group had a shorter lifespan than even the mice on the ad lib Reg diet. The higher AGEs also increased oxidant load and depleted antioxidant defenses. Old CR-high mice developed high levels of 8-isoprostanes (marker of oxidant stress), AGEs, RAGE (receptor for AGEs), and lower GSH/GSSG levels (lower reduced-glutathione levels), as well as insulin resistance, marked heart and kidney fibrosis.

Cardiac Inflammation Occuring on A Western-type Diet Mediated by Activation of RAGE by AGEs

Another new paper2 reports that a high fat Western-type diet is also high in AGEs. They examined the effects of a high fat “fast food” (21% fat) diet in intact mice and also in mice with RAGE (AGE receptor) knocked out. A group of the intact mice fed the high fat high AGEs diet were also treated with an AGE inhibitor drug, alagebrium chloride.

The Western-style diet was associated in the intact mice with cardiac hypertrophy, inflammation, mitochondrial-dependent superoxide radical production, and cardiac AGE accumulation. The RAGE KO (knockout) mice on the diet similarly became obese and accumulated intramyocardial lipid, but the cardiac hypertrophy, inflammation, and oxidative stress were attenuated compared with the intact mice. Both the intact mice and the RAGE KO mice receiving the AGE inhibitor drug had reduced levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. The authors conclude that “[t]his study suggests that AGEs represent important mediators of cardiac injury associated with a Western fast-food diet.”

Inhibition of Glycation by Extracts of Culinary Herbs and Spices

The benefits of certain herbs and spices are reported in another new paper3 to include inhibition of protein glycation (in this study, the sugar used was fructose, which (like glucose) also forms glycation (AGE) products but is actually more reactive than glucose.3

Of the many herbs and spices studied, cloves was the most potent in inhibiting the glycation of albumin, followed by cinnamon. Other effective herbs included sage, marjoram, tarragon, and rosemary.

Inhibiting the Formation of AGEs with Nutrients

We use lower heat food preparation methods, such as slow cooking at a low setting, to reduce cooking-induced creation of AGEs. In addition, we also take a formulation (AGEless™) containing a group of nutrients that potently inhibit the formation of AGEs within the body; these include rutin, carnosine, histidine, benfotiamine, and alpha-lipoic acid. See “Reducing Glycation Reactions for Better Health and Longer Life” in the February 2008 Life Enhancement magazine.


  1. Cai et al. Oral glycotoxins determine the effects of caloric restriction on oxidant stress, age-related diseases, and lifespan. Am J Pathol 173(2):327-36 (2008).
  2. Tikellis et al. Cardiac inflammation associated with Western diet is mediated via activation of RAGE by AGEs. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 295:E323-30 (2008).
  3. Dearlove et al. “Inhibition of protein glycation by extracts of culinary herbs and spices,” J Med Food 11(2):275- 81 (2008).

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