Carnosine - AntiAging & Much More

Carnosine is a natural antioxidant and anti-glycation substance found in normal human tissues, predominantly in the brain and heart. Carnosine is an amino acid compound found primarily in red meat. Two important amino acids L-histidine and beta-alanine combine together to form carnosine. Carnosine acts as a protein building agent in muscles, brain, heart and other organs of the body. Carnosine is known for its ability to act as an anti-oxidant that helps to remove free radicals and gives new life to the cells. It protects body cells against oxidative stress damage and rejuvenates body cells. 

The most important thing about carnosine is its remarkable ability to throttle down bodily processes that are in a state of excess, and to ramp up those that are under expressed. For example, carnosine thins the blood of people whose blood tends to clot too much and increases the clotting tendency in those with a low clotting index. Another example is that carnosine suppresses excess immune responses in those who have "hyper" immune systems, whereas it stimulates the immune response in those with weakened immune systems. This is a critical benefit for people with allergies and people with autoimmune disorders.

Anti-ageing activity
One of the main processes associated with the ageing process is known as glycation. Carnosine is an important substance in the human body that inhibits the process of glycation and helps in preventing the signs of ageing. Glycation and oxidation are two processes that cause damage to body cells by producing more free radicals. Oxidation results due to excessive deposition of oxygen in body cells and glycation is the result of body’s use of sugar. The glycation process attacks proteins and converts them into Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). These products accumulate in the body cells and generate more free radicals resulting in the damage of skin cells, eyes and nervous system. A study done on rats showed slow down of the glycation process with the use of carnosine. 

In 2010, Dr. Sergey Stvolinsky, a highly-regarded anti-aging scientist at the Russian Academy, published some surprising results in the journal Rejuvenation Research about carnosine’s effect on fruit flies. His research team found that adding a tiny amount of carnosine to the flies’ food supply produced an immediate 20% increase in the average life span of male flies. Alone, carnosine had little effect on female flies’ life span, but when combined with a water-soluble form of vitamin E, female flies experienced a 36% increase in longevity as well.

In culture studies, the cells transferred to the carnosine medium attained a life span of 413 days, compared to just 126 to 139 days for the control cells. When the researchers took old cells that had already gone through 55 divisions and transferred them to the carnosine medium, they survived up to 70 divisions, compared to only 57 to 61 divisions for the cells that were not transferred.
McFarland, G.A., R. Holliday. "Retardation of the Senescence of Cultured Human Diploid Fibroblasts by Carnosine." Exp Cell Res 212:2 (1994): 167--175. <>
McFarland, G.A., R. Holliday. "Further Evidence for the Rejuvenating Effects of the Dipeptide L-Carnosine on Cultured Human Diploid Fibroblasts." Exp Gerontol 34:1 (1999): 35--45. <>

Cellular maintenance
Oxidation and glycation produce inflammation, and also contribute to cross-linking of proteins. Carnosine can prevent that cross-linking, preserving normal neuronal function. Carnosine also helps to fight against cellular damage by eliminating toxic metals from the body through a process known as chelation. Excessive presence of metals such as copper, zinc, lead, mercury and nickel are believed to be associated with illnesses such as dementia, ADHS, Parkinson’s disease, autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Intake of carnosine may help to prevent these illnesses as it does not allow accumulation of toxic metals in your blood. 

Helps maintain healthy blood glucose
Carnosine lowers elevated blood sugar levels, improves insulin production and sensitivity, and promotes the loss of weight and body fat. Studies have shown that people who are diabetic or even pre-diabetic have lower-than-normal carnosine levels in both their muscle and brain cells -- levels about 63% below normal, which is similar to levels found in people in their 70's.

Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a serious kidney disease that results in people suffering from diabetes. A research was published in the August 2005 issue of the "Journal of Diabetes," where researchers found that intake of carnosine inhibits the growth of proteins such as fibronectin that play an important part in causing diabetic neuropathy.

Eye problems
N-acetylcarnosine is another form of carnosine, which is used for the treatment of eye problems. It is not recommended to take this form orally as it is not absorbed through the stomach. It has shown remarkable effects in the treatment of cataract (clouding of lens) that may be caused by the free radical damage to the eye lens.

Effect on red blood cells
Carnosine is studied in vitro and in vivo to find its effect on red blood cells. It is found that carnosine prevents acidic haemolysis of red blood cells and increases the number of stable red blood cells. 

Helps wound healing
Carnosine helps prevent cardiovascular damage and brain injury through a host of mechanisms closely related to the interplay of glycation, oxidation, and inflammation. In vitro analysis of human dermal fibroblasts (the cells that promote skin healing) and microvascular-endothelial cells (the cells responsible for regenerating new blood vessels after injury) showed that carnosine increases cell viability.

Carnosine is believed to be an additional help in controlling seizure disorders. It is believed that carnosine bind with GABA in the brain to form homocarnosine and helps to reduce the entry of zinc and copper into the neurons thus decreasing the seizure activities. 

Carnosine is also known to enhance the functioning of frontal lobe of the brain. Oral intake of carnosine in autistic children showed remarkable improvements in autistic behavior and enhanced the language comprehension. A study was published in the November 2002 issue of the “Journal of Child Neurology” which stated that carnosine had shown great improvements in the Gilliam Autism Rating scale, which is a scale that is used to know the severity of autism.

Muscular strength
Carnosine is also known to be found in the muscle cells. According to Science daily, it helps to enhance the strength and power of the muscular cells thus helping body to perform optimally. It helps by increasing the intramuscular hydrogen ion buffering capacity and reducing the production of acid during intense exercise.

Related Article: Low-Carb Paleolithic Diet Explained

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