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Excessive sugar consumption prevents lungs and heart from normal functioning

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Excessive sugar consumption side effects

According to recent studies, excessive consumption of sugar not only leads to obesity and diabetes but can even prevent heart and lungs from working properly. Lungs and heart pump blood in the organism with the help of some proteins called elastins, and it seems that excess sugar disturb the function of these proteins.

In a healthy lung, these proteins form a network and are involved actively in a function called  ferroelectricity. Researchers found that these networks freezes when exposed to high levels of glucose, which makes their activity to decrease by half. In other words, these proteins cannot perform their function (they are slowed down or they are stopped completely).

Initially it was considered that ferroelectricity is a property that is found only in synthetic materials, but after several trials and experiments it was found that they were also involved in pumping the pig’s aorta. This led the researchers to wonder how the human system can have the same functions. Co-corresponding author Jiangyu Li, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, said it would be expected that the same phenomenon to happen in those organs and tissues as well.



Li said that this discovery is important because it reveals what is the mechanism that underlies ferroelectric switching phenomenon and also indicates that it is not an isolated phenomenon that occurs only in one type of tissue as previously thought. He added that this phenomenon may be related to aging and diabetes. In the next studies researchers will investigate whether elastins and ferroelectric properties are involved in the onset of certain disease.

As you age, there is a process called glycation, which means that proteins in the organism thicken and harden. Glucose itself is not a toxic metabolite, but excess glucose, that is hyperglycemia, induces oxidative stress in endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells. In addition, excess glucose leads to the formation AGE, that is advanced glycation-end-products. Every protein in the body can be glycated, which means that their structures and functions are modified. For example, glycation of plasma proteins favors their passage into the extravascular space, leading to edema, or in urine, leading to proteinuria.

Oxidative stress promoted by hyperglycemia involves the formation of oxide compounds called radicals or reactive oxygen species. Because of excessive reactive oxygen species, an imbalance between their increased production and protection mechanisms (glutathione, catalase, superoxide dismutase) occurs, which causes oxidative stress in the endothelium.