Toxic Sugar and Skin:What You Don’t Know Can Age You

Dr. Annette Tobia

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Sugar is sweet

And toxic too!

Sugar is an enticing and dangerous seductress: obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cavities, and a litany of other health woes are all well-documented sugar-related problems. Sugar is also a skin-aging and wrinkling accelerator. It’s a cruel paradox: How can something that tastes so good be so bad?

Part of the challenge is the ubiquity of sugar in our diet. Cruise down almost any aisle in a supermarket and you’d think you’re sailing on the Good Ship Lollypop. Three out of four packaged goods contain sugar. Never mind the usual suspects like soda, cookies and candy. Crackers, mustard, peanut butter and cereal—the list goes on and on—all are chock-a-block with sugar. Call it sugar, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, sorbitol or a variety of other names, no matter. You wind up adding calories with little or no nutritional value.

From Sugar Consumption to Toxic Sugar

Combating sugar is not merely a matter of exercising Spartan willpower. Researchers at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine concluded that sugar is an addiction, “literally in the same way as drugs.” As they observe: “In animal studies….given the choice, rats will choose sugar over cocaine in lab settings because the reward is greater; the ‘high’ is more pleasurable.” [i]

Just as troublesome, while breaking the sugar addiction is a necessary condition for dealing with the effects of sugar on health and skin, it is not a sufficient condition for doing so.  Our bodies continue to produce toxic sugar byproducts as part of the normal metabolic process, even in the face of restricted sugar intake.

A team of research scientists studying aging at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia discovered the presence in the body of an enzyme, fructosamine-3-kinase (FN3K) that causes the production of toxic sugar, whenever sugar is available in the body’s cells, especially in skin cells. Eating the wrong foods causes the sugar-production process through the FN3K enzyme to go into overdrive, resulting in more toxic sugar being produced.

And it goes beyond carbohydrate consumption, which is often singled out as the bad boy of diet regimens. Take the humble sausage. Cooking sausage, or any other sugar-infused protein, turns them into glycated foods. Glycated protein, which is the byproduct of cooking protein with sugar, causes three deadly skin-aging factors:   Glycation, which occurs when sugar binds to proteins, such as collagen and elastin in skin, and which then collapses to form wrinkles and dryness. Inflammation, which causes redness and aging; and Oxidative Stress, which accelerates skin aging.

These three factors can transform baby-smooth skin into a deeply wrinkled, crepey, sallow, “older-than-you look” surface.  And it can do so fast.

Figure 1 illustrates how toxic sugar is produced in the body.prevention

Skin Malware

Think of glycation, inflammation, and oxidative stress as a kind of malware that targets skin, disrupts its health and has severe, visible impact. Let’s examine each of these, beginning with glycation.

Glycated proteins result from glucose and fructose becoming bound to proteins. As they pass through the FN3K enzyme pathway, FN3K acts to separate proteins from the sugar. In the process, the sugar gets converted to a much more active form, which we call toxic sugar. Toxic sugar is responsible for the formation of  advanced glycation end products (A.G.E.s), including collagen and elastin that have been cross linked. Result: Collagen and elastin lose both function and the water that rests between them; this, in turn, causes skin to collapse leading to dryness, sagging and wrinkling.

Figure 2 illustrates what happens when toxic sugar cross links to collagen.

Unexpectedly, scientists at Dynamis Skin Science have recently discovered that passage of glycated proteins through FN3K also directly causes inflammation in immune cells, which circulate throughout the body, including the skin.[ii] The inflammation actually becomes a chronic condition. Inflammation causes a cascade of aging events, triggered by these glycated sugars. The most visible effects on skin include redness, slow healing of damaged skin, skin eruptions and accelerated aging.

Toxic sugar also increases levels of oxidative stress, which, in turn, increases the levels of free radicals, which do extreme damage to skin cells, including causing skin cancer. The body has a very efficient pathway for deactivating free radicals. The pathway uses glutathione, a natural tripeptide to do so. But in the process, glutathione gets changed to an inactive form that must be reactivated by the cell. This is known as the glutathione recovery pathway. The problem is that the toxic sugar formed as a result of the passage of glycated sugar through the FN3K enzyme inactivates the glutathione recovery pathway, leaving more free radicals available to damage the skin. And damage they do: hyperpigmentation, sun damage, damage to DNA and RNA, and even skin cancer.

Time for Toxic Sugar Detox

Given the effects of toxic sugar on skin health and aging, think seriously about going through toxic sugar detox. It requires a two-step regimen:

  1. Restrict the consumption of sugar, starches and carbohydrates. Most importantly, avoid
    glycated foods. Period.
  2. Block the production of toxic sugar. The same scientific team that discovered the FN3K enzyme conducted subsequent experiments at Dynamis Skin Science and discovered Supplamine®. It is a powerful compound which contains both Meglumine, an amino sugar which lowers the production of Toxic Sugar coming from the FN3K Enzyme, and Arginine, a natural amino acid that neutralizes toxic sugar coming from poor diet. Supplamine intercepts and prevents the production of toxic sugar coming from our basic metabolism and our addiction to sugar.

Figure 3 illustrates how Supplamine blocks the production of toxic sugar in the body.

The good news is, what you now know about toxic sugar and skin can age you–gracefully and with healthy, beautiful skin.

[1] James J. DiNicolantonio and Sean C. Lucan, ‘Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive,” New York Times, December 22, 2014. [1] Dr. Annette Tobia et al. Annette Tobia, PhD, is founder of Dynamis Skin Science, which offers the MEG 21 product line ( Dr. Tobia earned her PhD from New Your University, her post doctoral degree at Rockefeller University, and her law degree from Rutgers School of Law.