Dietary protein intake and circulating advanced glycation end product/receptor for advanced glycation end product concentrations in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Dec 10;112(6):1558-1565. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa241.


Background: Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) promote adverse health effects and may contribute to the multi-system functional decline observed in aging. Diet is a major source of AGEs, and foods high in protein may increase circulating AGE concentrations. However, epidemiological evidence that high-protein diets increase AGEs is lacking.

Objectives: We examined whether dietary protein intake was associated with serum concentrations of the major AGE carboxymethyl-lysine (CML) and the soluble receptor for AGEs (sRAGE) in 2439 participants from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study (mean age, 73.6 ± 2.9 y; 52% female; 37% black).

Methods: CML and sRAGE were measured by ELISA, and the CML/sRAGE ratio was calculated. Protein intake was estimated using an interviewer-administered FFQ and categorized based on current recommendations for older adults: <0.8 g/kg/d (n = 1077), 0.8 to <1.2 g/kg/d (n = 922), and ≥1.2 g/kg/d (n = 440). Associations between protein intake and AGE-RAGE biomarkers were examined using linear regression models adjusted for demographics, height, lifestyle behaviors, prevalent disease, cognitive function, inflammation, and other dietary factors.

Results: CML concentrations were higher in individuals with higher total protein intake (adjusted least squares mean ± SE: <0.8 g/kg/d, 829 ± 17 ng/ml; 0.8 to <1.2 g/kg/d, 860 ± 15 ng/ml; ≥1.2 g/kg/d, 919 ± 23 ng/ml; P for trend = 0.001), as were sRAGE concentrations (<0.8 g/kg/d, 1412 ± 34 pg/ml; 0.8 to <1.2 g/kg/d, 1479 ± 31 pg/ml; ≥1.2 g/kg/d, 1574 ± 47 pg/ml; P for trend < 0.0001). Every 0.1 g/kg/d increment in total protein intake was associated with a 13.3 ± 3.0 ng/ml increment in CML and a 22.1 ± 6.0 pg/ml increment in sRAGE (P < 0.0001 for both). Higher CML and sRAGE concentrations were also associated with higher intakes of both animal and vegetable protein (all P values ≤ 0.01). There were no significant associations with the CML/sRAGE ratio.

Conclusions: Higher dietary protein intake was associated with higher CML and sRAGE concentrations in older adults; however, the CML/sRAGE ratio remained similar across groups.

Keywords: advanced glycation end products; aging; chronic kidney disease; dietary protein; soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products / blood*
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Proteins
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products