Inflammation, Cytokines, C-Reactive Protein And The Aging Process (or Un-process)

Written by Dr. Dan Yachter


As humans age, there is a systemic increase in inflammatory cytokines (destructive cell-signaling chemicals) that contribute to virtually every degenerative disease.  While inflammatory cytokines can cause agonizing pain as in arthritis, they also disrupt the linings of our arteries, mutate DNA, and degrade brain cells.  Chronic inflammation is directly involved in diseases as diverse as cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, aortic valve stenosis, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney failure.

In aging people with multiple degenerative diseases, we often find elevated blood levels of C-reactive protein, indicating the presence of an inflammatory disorder.  These individuals usually have excess levels of one or more of the pro-inflammatory cytokines.  An increasing body of evidence reveals that avoiding foods cooked at very high temperatures can help reduce production of cytokines, thus helping to extinguish the inflammatory fire raging in the bodies of most aging people today.  Wouldn’t it be incredible if Americans could throw away side effect laden pain killing drugs just by changing the way their food is prepared? So, what’s a body to do?

Changes In Cooking Methods Can Slow Aging

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) or glycotoxins are found in foods that are overheated or cooked at very high temperatures. This includes foods that have been fried, barbecued, broiled or cooked in a microwave.

While the worst culprits are animal products, since they contain a higher amount of “bad” fats that speed up the formation of glycotoxins, any food exposed to extreme high heat can scorch the natural sugars in food and create glycotoxins.

In the United States including Cooper City, Florida this is also true of many pre-packed foods that have been preserved, pasteurized, homogenized, or refined, such as white flour, cake mixes, canned milk, dried milk, dried eggs, dairy products including pasteurized milk, and canned or frozen pre-cooked meals. While it may be impossible to totally avoid all glycotoxins, it is possible to reduce exposure by changing the way food is prepared. Consider steaming, boiling, poaching, stewing, stir-frying, or using a slow cooker. These methods not only cook foods with a lower amount of heat, they create more moisture during the cooking process.  According to researchers, water or moisture can help delay the reactions that lead to glycotoxins.  Marinating foods in olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and dry wines can also help. Finally, consider making small diet changes by adding more fresh fruits and raw and/or steamed vegetables to your diet.

Ref: Life Extension Magazine Article Jan/Feb.2013