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We all watch our skin slowly reflect the signs of aging, and often spend thousands of dollars trying to stimulate the growth of new, healthier skin. While many of these skin therapies work beautifully, they are unable to get to the root of the skin’s process of accelerated aging.
New research is pointing to the smoking gun for the aging process potentially as a process called “glycation.” Glycation is when excess sugar molecules in the blood bind to proteins in the blood, causing the production of toxic compounds called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). (1,2)
The bad news for the skin is that these sugar molecules have two favorite proteins that they just love to bind to: collagen and elastin. Both of these proteins are critical for the health, function, and youthfulness of the skin. A lack of available collagen and elastin can affect the skin on both the inside and outside of the body. When we see the skin on the face beginning to age, the same process is taking place on the skin that lines the intestines, lungs and arteries.
While a diet of sugar-laden foods and refined carbohydrates is the primary cause, stress, lack of exercise, and overeating foods cooked at high temperatures are factors as well. (3) Of these factors, addressing a diet with excess sugar stemming from a culture with epidemic levels of pre-diabetes must be the first line of defense. To address these issues, I invite you to download my free Blood Sugar Secrets for Health and Longevity eBook – a 42-page comprehensive guide to balance your blood sugar and reduce glycation.
In addition, there are many studies suggesting that certain foods high in antioxidants, like pomegranates and blueberries, are exceptional at breaking the glycation bonds of AGE formation. (4-7)
Fight Glycation with Triphala
According to Ayurveda, treating the skin is all about its function as a protective shield against toxins such as glycation end-products, the sun, and other harmful invaders. If the skin is healthy, a stable of beneficial immune-boosting microbes naturally populate the inner and outer skin. (8-14)
One herb found in the Ayurvedic formula triphala, called haritaki (Terminalia chebula), has been found to have a potent effect on reducing glycation. It seems that the chebulinic acid naturally found in haritaki is able to break the bond between the sugar and the skin’s proteins, such as collagen and elastin. (15)
Interestingly, in recent studies with topical applications of haritaki, subjects reported significant improvement in the appearance of skin elasticity and smoothness by 22% and 24%, respectively. (16) Triphala is classically used in Ayurvedic skin care to support healthy inner and outer skin, and it is used in many of the LifeSpa skin care products.
Triphala is also rich in two other fruits – amalaki and bibhitaki – both of which are well-documented for the health of the inner and outer skin, and are particularly helpful for maintaining healthy elimination. Caring for the skin, according to Ayurveda, is the foundation for good health. Today we know that the beneficial microbes that live only on the skin’s surfaces of the body proliferate best on healthy skin. (8-14)
How are you protecting your skin from the harmful effects of advanced glycation end-products?