The modern day vitamin and supplement market is filled with products making bold and unsubstantiated claims. There are products alleging they can prevent cancer, eliminate wrinkles, slow down the ageing process, and more. A very small percentage of these products actually do what they claim.
L-Carnosine is one among the rare dietary supplements that studies show do deliver on their health claims. This dietary supplement is a naturally-occurring protein that was showcased on the Dr. Oz TV show in 2012 as the miracle drug that cures aging. It has since been shown to cure certain types of cancer and has many other health benefits backed up by scientific evidence.
What is L-Carnosine?
L-Carnosine, or simply carnosine, is a naturally-occurring dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alinine and histidine. It is found in high concentrations in the muscle tissue, brain, heart, and eyes; basically in those tissues that live longest in mammals. It is a natural protein that has a lot of essential benefits for a healthy life. It was discovered by Russian chemist Vladimir Gulevich in the early 1900s, and even though there wasn’t much interest in Carnosine outside Russia until the 1990s, it has recently been causing quite a stir.
Carnosine delivers its benefits in two basic ways. First, it delays the aging process of cells (senescence) and rejuvenates these healthy cells. Secondly, it is toxic to cancerous cells, thereby inhibiting their growth. It is its dual action – lengthening the lifespan of good cells while being toxic to degenerated ones. Scientists speculate that Carnosine implements these double actions
“by affecting the energy metabolism and/or protein homeostasis (proteostasis)…Carnosine’s ability to reduce the formation of altered proteins…and enhance proteolysis of aberrant polypeptides is indicative of its influence on proteostasis” (Hipkiss et al., 2013. p. 1).
It means that Carnosine can be used in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of age-related conditions. A proven wonder drug indeed.
Benefits and Research behind Carnosine
Studies have shown Carnosine provides a wide variety of health benefits. It promotes heart health, controls Alzheimer’s, inhibits cancer cell growth, prevents Parkinson’s Disease, fights type-2 diabetes complications and, perhaps the most popular benefit of all, it slows down the aging process. The following brief descriptions of the benefits include scientific studies that back up each of these claims:
Fighting Cancer and Chemotherapy Side Effects
Through its actions on glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose by enzymes, releasing energy), Carnosine has a detrimental effect on cancerous tumor cells by inhibiting their growth. There are a number of studies investigating the use of Carnosine on tumour cells. A 2010 study by Renner et al. shows how Carnosine inhibits ATP production of certain cancer cells (which inhibits the survival and multiplication of these cells). Another study (Gaunitz et al., 2010) found that Carnosine prevented tumour growth in mice.
In addition to all this, Carnosine has been found to decrease the side effects of chemotherapy. A 2012 study in the April issue of Cell Biochemistry and Function reported how Carnosine protected mice from detrimental damage caused by the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide. Carnosine significantly reduced the damage to blood cells and other parts of the body caused by cyclophosphamide.
Promoting a Healthy Heart
According to research on animal cultures, Carnosine can protect the heart during attacks. During an actual heart attack, blood flow to the heart is reduced. When this happens, Carnosine actually minimizes damage to heart cells and protects the heart from lasting complications. Moreover, Carnosine improves the heart’s ability to pump (contractility) by enhancing the response of calcium in heart myocytes, thus reducing the chance of having a heart attack in the first place.
A Natural Antioxidant
In 1997, a research study was conducted that demonstrated the protective effects of Carnosine against a toxic compound called malondialdehyde (MDA) which is known to cause aging and other complications (Hipkiss et al., 1997). If MDA is left uncontrolled in the human body, through its toxicity it can cause severe damage to certain lipids, DNA, and enzymes resulting in significant aging. Again, Carnosine has been shown to protect cells from the effects of MDA.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
Since Carnosine was discovered in Russia, Russian scientists have led the research into the benefits of Carnosine and have consistently shown that carnosine can help lower blood pressure. These studies demonstrated that mammals with high Carnosine levels have lower blood pressure compared to those with low Carnosine levels.
Fighting the Complications of Type-2 Diabetes
Carnosine minimizes the effects of a wide range of age-related health conditions. Among these conditions are the complications of Type-2 Diabetes, diabetes-related kidney disease, cataracts, and more. The major contributing factor of these complications is the Methylglyoxal (MG)-induced glycation of proteins. Carnosine has been shown to protect proteins from being modified by MG and thus has been used as a preventative measure against type-2 diabetes complications.
In addition, research has shown that Carnosine may help suppress diabetes-related pain meaning that not only can carnosine prevent or minimize a variety of type-2 diabetes complications, but it can also minimize the associated excruciating pain. When it comes to type-2 Diabetes, Carnosine appears to have multiple benefits.
Carnosine – Anti Aging
The most well-known aspect of Carnosine is its anti-aging properties, helping people to look young for longer as well as providing numerous health benefits already cited!
In 1994, Mcfarland and Holliday conducted a study showing that when Carnosine is added to certain cultures of human cells (primary human fibroblast cells), the lifespan of these cells significantly increased showing that senescence (aging) was significantly delayed in these cells. As a Kreloff study advises, the key to a long and healthy life is to “keep your cells bathed in Carnosine”.
Conclusion: How to Add Carnosine to Your Diet
Carnosine is available as a daily supplement taken orally. To get the maximum health benefits of Carnosine, the recommended daily dosage for a typical adult is at least 600 mg. It is recommended that you take Carnosine supplements before meals, and divide the daily amount into two separate dosages to be taken before breakfast and dinner.
To conclude, the benefits of Carnosine are too many to be ignored. In today’s world of poor eating habits and toxic pollution, taking Carnosine as a daily health supplement may be more important than ever.
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