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Help Slow Down Aging With Good Sugar

We’re quite familiar with the negative impacts sugar can have on our bodies. These might include hormonal imbalance, weight gain, and inflammation. But did you know there is a good sugar called glycans that can have a positive impact on the body and help you live longer? Glycans play a key role in the aging process so learning to alter and measure them could make way for a longer life.

skin aging

Glycans…. What Are They?

All your cells’ structural elements are made up of sugar molecules called glycans. Glycans are influenced by your environment and in turn, influence your body’s inflammation and immune responses. When glycans change, so do your cells. Because glycans are so responsive to your environment and activities, changing up that environment could prove to be very beneficial.

What are glycans

Glycans Diminish As We Age

Since glycans help keep inflammation at bay, your body struggles to maintain this as you age, and your glycan levels see a decline. If anti-inflammatory operations in your body aren’t performing well, you could develop chronic inflammation; this can lead to many health issues like stroke, obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

Female eye representing aging concept

Track And Hack Your Glycans

Measuring glycan levels can alert you up to a decade in advance if you’re prone to developing certain illnesses like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension. Here’s how to track and hack your glycans to help protect yourself from inflammatory diseases linked to aging.

There are anti-aging tests available that measure glycans, like GlycanAge. This test was developed by a group of scientists who have over 100 scientific papers published on aging and glycans. The test can offer insight into your biological age. Biological age differs from chronological age in that it essentially measures how well you take care of your body.

Lifestyle changes and their effects on your glycans can look something like this, according to GlycanAge research:

  • A 2019 study showed that young men who regularly practiced high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, performed better on a cellular level and established more productive glycans.
  • There was an improved glycan function in women with low estrogen after taking estradiol. This showed more balanced hormones and better aging. This was also the case for men who took testosterone.
  • Glycans can improve significantly in people who are obese and lose weight. This decreased their biological age.

A good way to know how well your newly implemented changes are working is to test your glycans. Your biological age should improve as time goes on and you’re implementing all the right things. It’s not always the case that these changes, or biohacks, work so it’s a good idea to decide on an objective measure of your biological age. There was a study that discovered such a case. Women who heavily restricted their caloric intake and practiced intense exercise saw the opposite effect on their glycans. A routine that seemed healthy was far too intense and their glycans were not positively benefited.

Man turning a calorie knob
Photo: Le Moal

The Takeaway

Glycans are good sugars that help determine our biological age. Learning to alter your environment and implement proper practices can greatly benefit your glycans, like helping to keep chronic inflammation away as well as illnesses that result from it. Tracking your glycans can offer a better picture of your health at a cellular level and help you see if you’re benefiting or hindering improved biological aging. The key is to understand what measures will do you good and not automatically jump to the changes we might think are the most healthy. We might do more harm than good by pushing ourselves too hard.