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Glucose and ageing

Your body breaks down carbohydrates (for example the starch in bread) into glucose, the simplest form of sugar. Glucose is a vital source of energy, especially for your brain cells. But over time, it can also cause problems. Glucose molecules can stick to proteins, forming 'cross-links' that stop the proteins working properly. Cross-linking can gradually lead to hardened blood vessels, cataracts, damaged nerves and kidneys - all problems of old age.

Our nerves get damaged as we age.
Our nerves get damaged as we age.
David Becker/Wellcome Photo Library

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