Diets are currently characterized by elevated sugar intake, mainly due to the increased consumption of processed sweetened foods and drinks during the last 40 years. Diet is the main source of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). These are toxic compounds formed during the Maillard reaction, which takes place both in vivo, in tissues and fluids under physiological conditions, favored by sugar intake, and ex vivo during food preparation such as baking, cooking, frying or storage. Protein glycation occurs slowly and continuously through life, driving AGE accumulation in tissues during aging. For this reason, AGEs have been proposed as a risk factor in the pathogenesis of diet-related diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance, cardiovascular diseases, kidney injury, and age-related and neurodegenerative diseases. AGEs are associated with an increase in oxidative stress since they mediate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), increasing the intracellular levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2
), superoxide (O2−
), and nitric oxide (NO). The interaction of AGEs with the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) enhances oxidative stress through ROS production by NADPH oxidases inside the mitochondria. This affects mitochondrial function and ultimately influences cell metabolism under various pathological conditions. This short review will summarize all evidence that relates AGEs and ROS production, their relationship with diet-related diseases, as well as the latest research about the use of natural compounds with antioxidant properties to prevent the harmful effects of AGEs on health.
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