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The Science of Glycation and AGEs

By October 6, 2017Skincare

When we eat food, the body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars like glucose and fructose, which are the essential fuel for cells and energy metabolism.

Glycation is the non-enzymatic reaction between sugars, such as glucose, and proteins, lipids or nucleic acids [1]. This process was first described by food chemist Maillard in 1912 and its involvement in food browning during thermal processing was discovered by Hodge 50 years later [2]. Since then, the involvement of glycation in various pathologies of the human body has been an intensive field of research [3,4].

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are proteins or lipids that have become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars. Studies on the contribution of glycation to diseases have primarily focused on its relationship to diabetes and its complications. However, even at normal glucose levels, some degree of glycation occurs and the damage caused thereby accumulates slowly over time. In addition to diabetes, AGEs have been linked to other diseases such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s, dialysis-related amyloidosis, atherosclerosis and Parkinson’s as well as physiological ageing [5].

Effects of glycation and AGEs on the skin

Over the last few years, there has been increased interest in the role of AGEs in skin ageing. Glycation contributes to the visible signs of ageing, including fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration and skin thinning.

Preventing glycation and AGE formation

Since oxidation steps are involved in formation of many AGEs, antioxidants may have antiglycating abilities (6). In addition to maintaining a healthy diet low in simple sugars and high in antioxidants, there are now skin care ingredients that specifically target glycation and AGEs.

AlumierMD’s new Alumience A.G.E. is an exclusive formulation that reduces the visible signs of ageing caused by free radicals, pollution and advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

To find out more about AlumierMD and how it can help you combat the effects of glycation and AGEs book a consultation and find out more



1 Ahmed N. Advanced glycation endproducts–role in pathology of diabetic complications. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2005;67:3–21

2 Lee AT, Cerami A.. The Role of Glycation in Aging. Aging and Cellular Defense Mechanisms November 1992:663;63-70.

3 Maillard LC. Action des acides amines sur les sucres: formation des melanoidines par voie methodique. C R Acad Sci (Paris) 1912;154:66–8

4 Hodge JE. Dehydrated foods, chemistry of browning reactions in model systems. J Agric Food Chem. 1953;1:928–43

5 Suji G, Sivakami S. Glucose, glycation and aging. Biogerentology 2004.5;365-73.


6 Price DL, Rhett PM et al. Chelating activity of advanced glycation end-product inhibitors. J Biol Chem. 2001;276:48967–72