Perhaps, glucose is the most unique substance in the body.

Glucose, as a simple sugar and the main fuel source for the human body (about 60% of all energy processes involve it), also performs various important structural functions.

Here are some key structural functions of glucose:

  1. Source of glycogen. Glucose molecules are used to form glycogen, which is a form of glucose storage in animals and humans. Glycogen is predominantly contained in the liver and muscle tissue, where it serves as a reservoir of readily available glucose molecules for energy production.
  2. Formation of the extracellular matrix. Glucose, in the form of complex carbohydrate chains called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) or proteoglycans, is a major component of the extracellular matrix, providing structural support for connective tissues. These structures play an important role in maintaining the integrity of organs and facilitating cell communication and regulation of tissue hydration.
  3. Formation of mucus and lubricants. Glucose and glucose derivatives contribute to the formation of mucus — a protective coating that covers various organs and tissues of the body. Mucus provides lubrication, protects against pathogenic microorganisms, and facilitates the normal functioning of the body’s systems, such as the respiratory and digestive tracts.
  4. Connective tissue. Glucose is necessary for the synthesis of various glycoproteins and proteoglycans, which play a key role in the structure and functions of connective tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.

Thus, in the body, glucose is used both for its chemical properties (in energy processes) and mechanical properties – the ability of glucose to serve as glue. This glue connects the smallest building blocks – molecules of amino acids and fats into mechanical structures according to the blueprints of a genius architect – nature itself. And even these blueprints are written in the chains of RNA and DNA, whose bases sit on the sweet framework of ribose and deoxyribose.

However, any positive quality always has a flip side, which under certain conditions takes on a negative value. And the adhesive properties of glucose (as well as other sugars) are no exception.”

In normal conditions, glucose is extracted with great difficulty through numerous enzymatic reactions.

Rare excesses of sweet substances (honey, ripe fruits) caused a brief but intense feast for all living beings who could reach the divine nectar of life. Drunken Indian elephants, if they could, would tell about the wonderful properties of fermented tropical fruits.

Humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas, as a result of consuming such aged fruits, even developed an amazing resistance to alcohol due to a common genetic mutation that allows them to break down ethanol 40 times faster than other primates.

However, more often than not, they had to be content with food that required effort to digest. In this process, herbivorous organisms acquired long intestines and special microflora for fermenting and extracting glucose from starch and cellulose.

The mastery of fire by ancient humans was a radical and pivotal moment in human evolution. Thermally processed food has one remarkable property – the glucose from starch and cellulose became much more accessible. Essentially, the body gained the ability to assimilate glucose indefinitely, limited only by its capacity to digest the consumed volume. At this point in evolution, the energy barrier was lifted. And the brain, as the most energy-dependent organ, gained the ability to work more intensively. This impacted the enhancement of intellectual activity and took competition in the natural environment to a new level, with the emergence of such confrontations as the struggle for meanings.

However, human metabolism, which had undergone millions of years of gradual evolution, was not prepared for the constant processing of large volumes of incoming glucose. A situation arose where the long-term excess of incoming glucose (and other sugars) in the body began to undergo spontaneous reactions – the reaction between reducing carbohydrates and free amino groups of proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids without the involvement of enzymes. This glycation is a natural property of glucose and other sugars to act as structures that provide the spatial arrangement of atoms and molecules of proteins and lipids in a certain configuration (conformation).

The products of non-enzymatic glycation are toxic to the body. All structures lose elasticity, channels and capillaries narrow for the normal passage of substances, and oxidative stress reactions intensify. Various diabetic complications arise, such as neuropathy, cataract, retinopathy, and atherosclerosis. Glycation of proteins and fats can cause serious damage and be fatal for various organs, causing dysfunction of the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels, and impaired wound healing. The overall aging of the body accelerates.

Following the discussion on the necessity of minimizing non-enzymatic glycation in the body, it is essential to consider the role of pharmaceutical interventions, particularly metformin, as explored in the research of David Sinclair and colleagues. Metformin, a widely prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes, has garnered significant interest in the field of aging and longevity due to its potential to influence glucose metabolism and extend lifespan.

  1. Metformin and Glucose Metabolism: Metformin’s primary action is the reduction of hepatic glucose production, thereby lowering blood glucose levels. This mechanism is crucial in the context of aging, as elevated glucose can lead to increased glycation and associated complications. Sinclair’s research suggests that by controlling glucose levels, metformin may reduce the rate of glycation, thereby potentially slowing down aging-related processes.
  2. Activation of AMPK Pathway: One of the critical insights from Sinclair’s work is the activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway by metformin. AMPK is a cellular energy sensor that plays a significant role in metabolic regulation. Its activation enhances insulin sensitivity, improves cellular energy balance, and may promote longevity. This pathway is a focal point in Sinclair’s research on aging, as it is closely linked to the body’s cellular response to metabolic stress.
  3. Impact on Longevity: Studies have indicated that metformin may extend lifespan in various organisms. Sinclair’s research delves into the molecular mechanisms behind this effect, exploring how metformin’s influence on glucose metabolism can have broader implications for aging. By improving metabolic efficiency and reducing oxidative stress, metformin may help in preserving cellular function over time.
  4. Clinical Implications and Future Research: The implications of Sinclair’s research extend beyond diabetes management to the broader context of aging and longevity. Ongoing studies are investigating the potential of metformin as a therapeutic agent for extending healthspan, the period of life spent in good health. These studies aim to unravel the complex interactions between metformin, glucose metabolism, and aging processes.

Understanding the mechanisms of glucose function in the body, in fact, provides the key to longevity. It is necessary to organize life in such a way as to minimize the rate of non-enzymatic glycation in the body.

This is achieved only by strictly limiting any sources of rapid glucose intake in the diet. Even honey, advertised as a healing product, in many cases leads to an enhancement of non-enzymatic glycation reactions.

The same can be said about sweet fruits – even if we disregard the fact of their thorough poisonous chemical treatment against spoilage, the benefit of fruits, for example, can only be in photochemical substances (flavonoids, anthocyanins, lycopene, beta-carotene, and others), dietary fiber, and organic acids (malic, tartaric, oxalic, and others).

The belief that fruits are a source of vitamins is greatly exaggerated – the normal intestinal microflora produces dozens and hundreds of times more necessary vitamins. But the harm from non-enzymatic glycation is quite obvious, and diabetes was especially prevalent earlier among wealthy people who could afford to eat fruits all year round.

The ancient Egyptians, for example, described a condition called “honey urine disease,” which is now considered a symptom of diabetes.

Symptoms similar to diabetes are also described in ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese medical texts. These civilizations considered increased thirst, excessive urination, and weight loss as characteristic symptoms, although they did not have a clear understanding of the basic mechanisms or classification of diabetes.

Therefore, it can be considered that the harm from sweet fruits with their regular consumption can significantly exceed some benefits.

However, even among non-sweet products, there are many sources of ‘fast’ (easily digestible) carbohydrates, which also cause significant harm, especially in the absence of physical activity that allows quickly neutralizing the rise in sugar concentration in the body fluids after eating.

A Chinese proverb says: ‘Walk a hundred steps after a meal and live to be ninety-nine years old.’

And this has been confirmed in a special scientific study: Three 15-minute periods of moderate walking after meals significantly improve 24-hour glycemic control in older adults at risk of impaired glucose tolerance

There is another detail that has not been properly understood anywhere in the medical literature. The fact is that the glycation process actively occurs in an acidic environment. Considering that blood and lymph usually have a pH of 7.35 to 7.45, and glucose itself and other sugars are considered neutral with a pH of 7.0, it is obvious that an increase in glucose concentration leads to a greater relative shift towards acidity, the more glucose there is in the blood. And accordingly, the rate of non-enzymatic glycation increases.

From this follows a simple conclusion about the necessity of alkalization. The idea is not new, but its meaning in light of glycation processes is quite specific.


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