How does sugar affect us as we age? - Weddington Wellness Center

How does sugar affect us as we age?

In the 1900’s, environmental advancements extended the average life human span with substantial improvements of food and clean water, better living conditions, less exposure to infectious diseases, and gained access to medical care. Infant mortality reduced and the chances of surviving childhood diseases improved. The average lifespan today in the United States is about 80 years and some are now living much longer. What are the factors for people to live pass this average age?

The biggest connection is to study the lifestyles of centenarians. Most centenarians are women, but, once anyone reaches 75-80 years of age, these older adults are less likely to develop age-related chronic diseases. Genetics are not the only factor, but lifestyle is, and the conclusive similarity is what a family teaches the generation to come. If someone wants to avoid conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, then shared lifestyle habits need to be taught.

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Cells are constantly exposed to a harmful environment throughout life. Increasing cell damage contributes to the dysfunction that characterizes the aging body. Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes that are at the ends of the linear DNA strands. Telomeres support and prevent chromosome instability. During aging, a telomere shortens and the somatic stem cell declines.

Age-related diseases have a higher rate of telomere destruction and noted chromosome instability. Some studies with mice have shown that longer telomeres showed delayed aging and cancer resistance. The damage to our cells accrues with age and causes cell dysfunction. The key modes of anti-aging are the repair systems balancing between our defense and damage.

Though genetics are not always the only factor, there are some cell damage caused by genetic syndromes. Premature aging can occur with genetic changes and are demonstrated by progeria syndromes. Scientific America states, “Progerias are a group of diseases characterized by a premature aging phenotype and are a model for studying aging-associated genetic changes.

The clinical characteristics of progerias can include premature senescence (gray hair, atherosclerosis, increased risk of cancer), skin changes (atrophy, ulcer, hyperkeratosis), metabolic disorders (diabetes, hyperlipidemia) and senile dementia.” If scientists have found that lifestyle is a stronger contributing factor of health and life span than genetics, then are their other common denominators that could influence our genes?  Even though genetics play a role up to the eighties and beyond, lifestyle habits determine the quality of our whole life.


  1. Eating well by limiting calories and sugar
  2. Limiting alcohol consumption
  3. Avoiding tobacco
  4. Staying physically active
  5. Happier attitude/stress control


  1. DNA repair
  2. Maintenance of the ends of chromosomes (called telomeres)
  3. Protection of cells from damage
  4. Avoid free radicals (oxygen-containing molecules)
  5. Avoid heart disease with maintenance of blood fat (lipid) levels,
  6. Avoid inflammation
  7. Avoid insulin resistance (diabetes)

CUTTING CALORIES CAN INCREASE LONGEVITY. Discovered over the last 70 years, life span extension has been connected to calorie restriction. In one study by Martin W. Mayo and his colleagues at the University of Virginia, calorie restricted by 30 percent decreased inflammation and prolonged lives in fruit flies. Inflammation is involved in several disorders, including heart disease, neurodegeneration, arthritis, asthma, and cancer. Inhibiting this inflammatory compound called NF-kB is a common area of drug development and nutraceutical supplement education. Improving the diet does suppress excessive inflammation.

Not only does calorie restriction help with anti-aging, but the actual calories from sugar, are by far the worst. The effect of sugars affects the collagen fibers. The vascular, renal, retinal, coronary and the cutaneous tissues (skin), will age faster.

WHAT ABOUT OUR SKIN? As we age, chronic diseases are always a concern, but the wrinkles, saggy skin, loss of muscle tone and loss of elasticity and collagen are cosmetically a worry. Fat cells shrink, too. Thicker skin has less wrinkles and that is why you notice more wrinkles on the thinnest skin of your forehead and under your eyes. “Chok Chok” is a South Korean word, for plump and moist. Hydrated skin stays plumper. Molecular damage and repair of DNA all require proper nutrition, avoidance of skin damage, exercise. Melanin rich skin (darker), has natural SPF 13 already built in.  As far as genetics play a role, your skin will likely be like your mothers.

Poor nutrient absorption makes the preservation and healing process incapable of repair. Poor skin integrity is affected by mechanical stress, ability to heal wounds, and decreased dermal circulatory blood supply. This is partly attributed to a process called glycation. This produces “AGEs”, also known as, advanced glycation end products.  This process is noted when sugar is elevated (insulin resistance) and is further aggravated by ultraviolet light in the skin. Reducing glycation load can be achieved through careful diet and use of supplements. Excess levels of glucose and fructose connect the amino acids found in the collagen and elastin that support the dermis and accelerates all body tissues.

The formation of AGEs is also related through cooking. Various methods of food preparation (i.e., roasting, grilling and frying) increase levels of AGEs than cooking the preferred methods such as boiling and steaming and non-cooking method of raw vegetables and fruits. The evidence supporting the dietary strategies inhibition of glycation-mediated aging may be able to combat this process.

Not only is skin aging found with increased accumulation of AGEs, but it is also associated with end stage renal disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Further studies are needed, and exploration of these genetic connections are being developed and hopefully more anti-aging strategies to revolutionize senility-related diseases will evolve. If 25 % of human longevity is due to genetic factors, then our environment and lifestyle can greatly influence our fate. The interaction of our genetic background and our daily living can determine everyone’s chance to attain a long-life.

The anti-aging protocol of Weddington Wellness Center’s triangle of health (Structural, Chemical and Emotional), is more and more confirming and validating. The fact that healthy living and laughter is why integrative and holistic healthcare is in demand. The Weddington Wellness Center’s approach could influence the genetic code and help reduce rapid unwanted health decline.

In conclusion, healthy aging and longevity are apparently a fortunate combination of genetic and non-genetic factors. Families teach each other what to eat, how to cook, how to interact and how to display healthy activities. A healthy life is taught from generation to generation. Live, love and laugh, is the motto taught today!

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