The Cross-linking Theory of Aging has been around since 1942 and was first discovered by Johan Bjorkstein.
It pretty much died out in the medical and dietary community until the early 1990’s, where it suddenly reemerged and gained a lot of popularity.
The reason for this emergence was quite simple; simple sugars.
As we all begin to age and pass the magic 55 year old mark, most of us are looking for ways to slow this process, or at least control it the best we can.
My wife of 42 years and I are no different and have found several different things that may help in the process.
While I have no medical or chemistry credentials, I do have a Master degree.
Although it is in business and not the medical field, the research we are doing is to help share with people in our age group.
The Cross-Linking Theory of Aging may sound confusing and complex, but it is really quite simple and straight forward once you understand it.
Understanding it in our middle to late 50’s, may be one of the best things we can do for ourselves in this aging process.
Here is a simple way to understand it.
Simple sugar binds with protein under the pressure or presence of oxygen, and the simple sugar weakens or impairs the proteins.
Once this occurs, it can weaken our cells as well as our DNA, resulting in aging.
It is really that simple.
However, there are a couple of key points that must be made.
The first is we should not be confused by the term “simple sugars”. The reason for this is very important as it is much more than just sugars as we know it.
It also involves simple carbohydrates. In fact, the actual theory itself should include the fact that simple carbohydrates are simple sugars.
But there will be a lot more on that later in the article.
The Cross-Linking Theory of Aging also suggests that once this process has been completed, the protein are damaged or impaired.
Once this damage occurs, several bad things can happen and they include the following.
At this point we may still be asking how does this really work and how can it possibly affect us.
Here is an example in real life that is very easy to relate to and understand.
Buy some bananas at your local grocery store but make sure “they are green” when you buy them for two very simple reasons.
As soon as you get them home, take one and cut it in half and leave it for about 3-4 hours and then look at it again.
You will not see a lot of changes in it on the cut or exposed part (exposed to the presence of oxygen) and that will be explained below.
Now let the bananas ripen for 2-3 days and repeat the exact same process.
We all know what happens. Within 60 minutes or less the exposed part of the banana has turned brown or black in some cases.
What you just witnessed in the yellow or ripened banana was the Cross-Linking Theory of Aging right before your eyes.
At this point we may be asking ourselves what is the difference and why did the “green banana” not age right before our eyes like the “yellow banana” did.
The answer to this is simple
This is a near perfect example of the Cross-Linking Theory of Aging as we were able to see it happen and now have at least some understanding of why it did not and did turn brown.
Once the presence of oxygen hit the banana and it still has starch in it (complex sugar or carbohydrates) very little happened.
However, as the complex (starch) turned to simple (fructose), the simple sugar banded to the proteins under the pressure of oxygen, and it aged.
Now, as a word of full disclosure; bananas has several other huge health benefits, but if you have Diabetes, you should never eat them if they have aged.
However, if you have high blood pressure like I do, they are a must in your diet but try to buy and eat them as green as you can.
They also have, like most fruits even though they contain fructose, several vitamins and minerals that man made sugars does not.
The bottom line in Cross-Linking and Aging is that all us need to take a step back and look at simple sugars or carbohydrates in our diets.
Simple sugars or carbohydrates include some of the following;
Our bodies, especially as we age, cannot tell the difference where the sugar comes from, but once it is broken down it, can and will have huge impacts on our health.
Complex carbohydrates in the vast majority of cases come from plant based foods, and they also contain a litany of minerals, vitamins, as well as antioxidants.
Antioxidants are also very important to us as we get older for several different reasons.
Soft drinks have never been good for us, but once we pass the Golden age of 55, they can become very dangerous because of the sugar content,
If this theory has any merit to it, we should look at a lot more complex sugar or carbohydrates in our daily diets.
They include some of the following.
The Cross-Linking Theory of Aging may or may not be valid, but if you have any second thoughts about it, do the bananas test again.
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