There are many biochemical processes that occur in the body, and it can be difficult to keep track of them all. One important duo is glycosylation and glycation.
But what is the difference between the two? And what does each process do in the body?
Keep reading to find out more!
What is Glycation?
Glycation is a chemical process that occurs when excess glucose (sugar) molecules attach to the proteins in our cells, which then become damaged.
This process is widespread throughout our bodies and plays a role in many health conditions over time.
The most well-known damaging effects of glycation are associated with wrinkles and reduced skin elasticity.
In fact, many anti-aging products market their products based on the “low level” of glycation they can provide, trying to inhibit this damage as much as possible.
But there are other ways that glycation can affect our health – not all of them are related to aging!
For example, research has linked high blood sugar levels with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and there is some speculation that the glycation process could be to blame.
This theory suggests that glycation increases cholesterol particles within our blood, leading to fatty buildup in blood vessels and increasing the risk of heart disease.
Glycation also affects other parts of the body – for example, it has been linked with the increased onset of cataracts, kidney failure, and nerve damage in diabetes patients.
In fact, altering diet to decrease one’s sugar intake can help prevent cellular damage from glycation at all stages of life!
Incorporating anti-glycation diets into your lifestyle may not stop you from aging completely (and many people don’t believe those products really do what they advertise!), but it can help you prevent some of the nastier effects of sugar-related damage in your body.
What is Glycosylation?
Glycosylation is the process of adding a carbohydrate molecule to another protein.
It occurs in the Golgi apparatus, and it is important for many different functions, including cell-cell communication and the assembly of complex molecules such as antibodies and collagen.
Researchers are still working to understand exactly how glycosylation happens, but one theory suggests that sugars act as "molecular zip ties" on proteins during this process.
There are two major types of glycosylation--N-, which adds sugar to an asparagine residue (a basic amino acid), and O-, which attaches sugars to an oxygen atom within the protein.
Both N-glycosylation and O-glycosylation take place at different stages of protein synthesis.
In N-glycosylation, proteins are first transferred to the rough endoplasmic reticulum, where they bind with a chaperone molecule called calnexin and undergo folding and processing.
After this step is complete, the proteins move on to the Golgi apparatus where they become "matured" by adding sugars that determine their final destination in the cell.
O-glycosylation takes place after asparagine-linked glycosylation has already occurred; it adds another type of sugar, which helps form and stabilize interactions between cells.
Because of its importance for cellular communication and assembly, glycosylation is critical for health and disease.
Malfunctions in either N- or O-glycosylation can lead to many different types of diseases, including diabetes and cancer.
Research on glycosylation is ongoing, and scientists are hopeful that a better understanding of this process will help improve detection and treatment methods for various diseases.
Similarities Between Glycation and Glycosylation
A glycation is a form of non-enzymatic sugar modification that can have adverse effects on health.
Which, in turn, has similarities to the process of glycosylation.
Though there are some differences between the two processes involved.
In glycation, sugars such as glucose and fructose bond with proteins via the formation of what’s called an Amadori product.
This happens through a chemical reaction that creates something called an advanced glycation endproduct (AGE).
These molecules can cause inflammation and other unwanted side effects within the body.
But this is not to say that all sugars or carbohydrates are bad for you.
In fact, your body uses them for fuel and for energy production under normal circumstances.
However, when your body’s circulation suffers or you are at risk for diabetes, then it may be wise to cut back on the number of carbs in your diet.
Glycosylation meanwhile is a process that affects the formation of proteins.
In this process, sugars are attached to proteins, which can affect the function of the protein itself.
And as mentioned earlier, glycosylation is a normal part of biology, since sugars bonded to proteins help form cells and even act like a sort of “sugar code” for cells.
But there are some similarities between glycation and glycosylation and how they each affect health.
This includes causing inflammation and oxidative stress within cells.
And they can also affect the insulin response in your body and lead to other health problems as well.
Nevertheless, glycosylation is a process that plays an important role in many biological functions such as cell communication, immune system function, and even digestion.
But it’s best to understand what foods cause glycation and stick with healthy sources of carbs instead.
Difference between glycosylation and glycation
Glycosylation is the process of adding a carbohydrate group to another molecule.
Glycation, however, is the process of unwanted and irreversible attachment of a glucose molecule to proteins within the body.
This results in an altered protein that functions poorly or not at all, leading to negative health consequences.
This can be avoided by maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels with proper diet and exercise.
Monosaccharides are simple sugars that serve as building blocks for larger carbohydrates such as starches and sugars.
In glycosylation, monosaccharides are added onto other molecules in order to create complex carbohydrates called glycans.
The most common source of monosaccharides used in glycosylation is glucose, which binds to proteins to create glycated proteins.
Glycated proteins can result in the formation of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs.
AGEs are associated with a large number of negative health consequences, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Glycation, on the other hand, is the process by which excess glucose binds onto a protein molecule without adding a carbohydrate group using enzymes that select specific sites on the molecule for attachment.
These glycated proteins form amyloids, which are insoluble fiber-like molecules that clump together and contribute to aging and certain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
So what's the difference between glycosylation and glycation?
Glycosylation refers to the addition of carbohydrate groups to other molecules, while glycation is the process where glucose molecules bind onto proteins in the body.
Glycation can lead to negative health consequences such as amyloids and AGEs, but these can be avoided by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels through proper diet and exercise.
Maintaining good overall health is essential for preventing unwanted glycation from occurring within the body.
To reduce the risk of glycation and its associated health problems, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet rich in nutrients and focus on regular physical activity.
This helps support good blood sugar levels and ensures that excess glucose isn't building up in our bodies.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are a major contributor to the signs of aging.
AGEs form when proteins or lipids combine with sugar, and these harmful molecules can cause inflammation, damage cells, and lead to diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Thankfully, there is a way to reduce the number of AGEs in your body: Glylo.
Glylo is a patented supplement that helps break down sugars before they have a chance to form AGEs.
By taking glylo regularly, you can help keep your skin looking younger for longer and reduce your risk of developing age-related diseases.