This age-accelerating process occurs when sugar molecules in the bloodstream bind to protein tissue throughout the body, creating advanced glycation end products (AGEs), free-radical damage, and inflammation. Among the tissues affected are the collagen and elastin fibers responsible for keeping skin smooth, plump, and flexible, which is why scientists now link a chronically high-glycemic diet to premature wrinkling and sagging. Glycation (sometimes called non-enzymatic glycosylation) is the covalent attachment of a sugar to a protein or lipid. Typical sugars that participate in glycation are glucose, fructose, and their derivatives. Glycation is the non-enzymatic process responsible for many (e.g. micro and macrovascular) complications in diabetes mellitus and is implicated in some diseases and in aging. Glycation end products are believed to play a causative role in the vascular complications of diabetes mellitus. In contrast with glycation, glycosylation is the enzyme-mediated ATP-dependent attachment of sugars to protein or lipid. Glycosylation occurs at defined sites on the target molecule. It is a common form of post-translational modification of proteins and is required for the functioning of the mature protein.
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