Exercise & Fitness
Fact: Regular physical activity - even at moderate levels - reduces
the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Here's another fact: 65% of Americans are considered obese. So while
the risks associated with not exercising are clear, we don't seem to
be doing anything to change our sedentary ways.
Prevention of Disease
The likelihood of contracting heart disease, diabetes, and other
health issues can be directly impacted by our every-day choices. A
good place to start for healthy lifestyle habits that can positively
affect your health and wellness for years to come:
1.Try reducing your stress levels.
2. Adopt some stress-management techniques.
3. Focus on your emotional wellness.
Emotional health and well-being is just as important as physical
4. Supplement your diet with fresh vegetables and fruits and natural diet supplements
The new anti-aging supplement
by Marios Kyriazis MD
Through carnosine (also known as L-carnosine) has been
known for about a century, its antiaging properties have only
been extensively studied during the past few years. A recent
literature review revealed over 780 published studies on
carnosine, mainly by Russian and Japanese researchers.
However, more widespread interest in this natural nontoxic
product has only recently been increased, fuelled by dramatic
Australian and British discoveries about its antiaging actions
(1). to order
Carnosine (B-alanyl-L-histidine) is a naturally-occurring di-peptide
(a combination of two amino acids), found in muscle, brain and
other innervated animal and human tissues. It is formed by a
process involving the enzyme carnosine-synthetase which bonds
the amino acids alinine and histidine. This process occurs
mainly in muscles and brain. It is kept in equilibrium by the
carnisinases which are enzymes specifically aimed at
inactivating carnosine in the tissues or in the blood.
There are several other related dipeptides such as carcinine,
anserrine, homocarnosine and ophidine, all of which are
naturally-occurring. These are believed to be buffering
agents, helping to maintain the homeostatic equilibrium (2).
High concentrations of carnosine are present in long-lived
cells (such as in neuronal tissues). The concentration of
carnosine in muscles correlates with maximum lifespan, a fact
that makes it a promising bio-marker of aging. It is high in
actively contracting muscles and low in cases of muscular
disease such as Duchennes's muscular dystrophy. Its
concentration in mammalian muscles possibly decreases with
age, a fact which strengthens the case for supplementation.
In cases of cataract in animals, carnosine concentration in
the lens was found to be low. The lower the concentration of
carnosine, the higher the severity of cataract. Rabbits fed on
a high cholesterol diet, were found to be well protected
against atherosclerosis and cataract if given carnosine
supplements. In another experiment, dogs were also found to be
protected against cataract if given carnosine supplements (2).
Antioxidant Properties Carnosine is widely believed to he an
antioxidant which stabilizes and protects the cell membrane.
Specifically, as a water-soluble free radical scavenger it
prevents lipid peroxidation within the cell membrane (3). It
is thought to be a natural counterpart to lipid-soluble
antioxidants such as vitamin E. Maybe it is not a coincidence
that carnosine increases vitamin E levels in rats.
Many antioxidants are aimed at preventing free radicals from
entering the tissues, but have no effect after this first line
of defense is broken. Carnosine is not only effective in
prevention, but it is also active after f ree radicals react
to form other dangerous compounds. So, it protects the tissues
from these damaging 'second-wave' chemicals. For example, a
highly reactive lipid peroxidation end-product called
malondialdegyde (MDA)- a deleterious product of a free radical
reaction- is blocked by carnosine (4,5). MDA, if left
uncontrolled, can cause damage to lipids, enzymes and DNA, and
plays a part in the process of atherosclerosis, joint
inflammation, cataract formation, and aging in general.
Carnosine, by reacting and inactivating MDA, sacrifices itself
in order to protect the amino acids on the protein molecule.
Other Benefits Carnosine plays a part in neurotransmission, it
is a heavy metal binder (chelates ionic metals) and modulates
enzymatic activities. Other actions, some of which are not
extensively studied include:
* anti-neoplastic properties, which make it a potentially
beneficial agent for use in cancer prevention.
* immune booster (it stimulates maturation of immunocompetent
cells), and reduces inflammation.
* wound healing properties and protection against radiation
damage (both preventing damage and reversing the
post-radiation syndrome). Laboratory animals treated with
carnosine were found to have faster and better wound healing
rates compared to controls. This has potential applications to
treating burns, wounds following surgery, or during
nutritional preparation for surgery (5).
* a reduction of gastric ulceration (particularly when the
ulcer is related to stress), both by preventing the formation
of the ulcer and by healing it (carnosine increases the
formation of granulation tissue). It does not affect acid
Glycosylation Perhaps, the most important action of carnosine
is its anti-glycosylation effect (8). One of the cardinal
processes of aging, apart from free-radical damage, is the
process of glycosylation (or glycation). During normal,
everyday metabolism, sugar aldehydes may react with the mino
acids on the protein molecule. The result is the formation of
AGEs (Advance Glycosylation End-products). These are abnormal,
cross-linked. oxidized products which are thought to cause
extensive damage to the organism. Carnosine blocks this
deleterious reaction. protecting against cross-linking of
proteins, cross-linking of proteins to DNA molecules, and
formation of other abnormal proteins, all of which are
fundamental features of the aging process.
Other anti-glycators such as aminoguanidine may also protect
against glycosylation hut not as effectively as carnosine.
Some amino acids (arginine or lysine) are also able to combine
with glucose in order to eliminate dangerous AGEs, but the
end-product of this reaction is mutagenic (i.e. it may cause
cancer). The combination of carnosine with glucose however is
Specifically, carnosine reacts with and inactivates aldehydes
and ketones. reducing protein glycosylation and the formation
of AGEs. It also binds to already formed AGEs and inactivates
them. Normally, AGEs are removed by scavenging macrophages
(immune system cells) which carry special receptors called
RAGEs. Carnosine facilitates this process of elimination, by
helping macrophages to better recognize the AGE molecule.
Because of its anti-glycosylation actions, carnosine may be
useful in treating or preventing diabetic complications such
as cataract, neuropathy and kidney failure.
Amyloid Protection In experiments, treatment with carnosine
was found to reduce or completely prevent cell damage caused
by beta amyloid (9), the substance found in the brain of
Alzheimer's disease patients. Beta amyloid can interact with
certain RAGE receptors causing damage to the nerves and
arteries of the brain. Carnosine blocks and inactivates beta
amyloid, so it protects neural tissues against diseases such
There have been some concerns regarding carnosine's ability to
form lipofuscin (the age pigment commonly found in the aging
brain and in other tissues). Lipofuscin is merely a sign that
other deleterious reactions have already taken place. For
example; free radicals and toxic aldehydes may react with
valuable proteins as described above, and cause damage,
leaving lipofuscin as a left-over product. (Ed.-it may be
advisable to take a lipofuscin supplement such as DMAE or
acetyl-L-carnitine while on a carnosine program). One way to
save the protein molecule is to use carnosine instead.
Carnosine actively and swiftly binds to aldehydes before these
are able to cause any damage. The end-result of this reaction
may also be inactive lipofuscin compounds.
In this case, lipofuscin is formed not by wasting valuable
protein material but by using sacrificial carnosine, leaving
the proteins free to function properly. Lipofuscin, however
formed, is thought to be generally inactive to normally
everyday situations. High amounts of free radicals and toxin
in the organism are best inactivated by using supplementary
carnosine than tissue protein. Of course, it would be best to
reduce the exposure to too many free radicals in the first
place. This can be achieved for example, by avoiding
pollution, cigarette smoking, sedentary life, and unsuitable
Use on Humans After dozens of reports about carnosine's
antiaging actions in laboratory experiments, the next logical
step was to start using it on humans, specifically for
antiaging purposes. Carnosine supplements have been used in
the past by body-builders, athletes and others, but its use
has been confined mainly for improving muscular fatigue, and
not for longevity.
Recently, eye drops containing carnosine have been developed
and used by Russian researchers (10). The drops were found to
be effective in treating human corneal erosions and other
corneal diseases. For example, carnosine drops accelerate the
healing of ulcers in herpes and bacterial infections of the
During a preliminary experiment designed specifically for
antiaging (II), I used L-carnosine supplements (50 rng daily)
on 20 healthy human volunteers, aged 40 - 75 years, for a
period of 1-4 months. No side affects were reported. Five
users noticed significant improvements in their facial
appearance (firmer facial muscles), muscular stamina and
general well-being. Five others reported possible benefits,
for example better sleep patterns, improved clarity of thought
and increased libido. The rest did not report any noticeable
effects. This is not surprising because supplementation with
carnosine is not expected to show any significant noticeable
benefits in a short time, but it should be used as an
insurance against deleterious effects of the aging process. If
any benefits are noted, these should be considered as an added
extra bonus. It is worthwhile persevering with the
supplementation long term, even if you do not experience any
obvious benefits, as you will still be well protected against
Carnosine can be used together with vitamin E and/or Co-enzyme
Q10 for full antioxidant protection, but even if it is used on
its own it should still confer significant protection both
against free radicals and against glycosylation.
Indeed, the carnosine preparation I used in my experiments
contains also 30 IU of vitamin E as standard. Other
nutritional products such as (growth hormone-releasers are
fine to use with carnosine, if required. Some people prefer to
use 100 mg of carnosine a day (i.e. double the initial
standard dose) and they find that there are still no side
effects. It may he preferable however to only start with 50 mg
a day under advice from your physician or nutritionist, and
only increase the dose if recommended following professional
advice. Foodstuffs containing dietary carnosineare lean red
meat. and chicken.
Conclusion Where do we go from here? Further experiments are
in progress, aimed at examining more widely the effects of
carnosine on human aging. Those who want to he at the
forefront of innovative antiaging medicine should he taking
carnosine now. It is expected that carnosine supplementation
will become much more widespread during the next five years,
making carnosine as popular as vitamin E is today.
1) Ilipkiss A. Carnosine. a protective, anti-ageing peptide?
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1998, 30: S63-868.
2) Quinn PL Boldyrev AA. Formaziuk VH. Carnosine: its
properties, functions and potential therapeutic applications.
Mol Aspects Mod, 1992, 13(5):379-444.
3) Tarnha M, et al. Hydroxyl radical scavenging by carnosine
and Cu(ii)-carm)sine complexes. Int J Radial Biol, 1999
4) Hipkiss A. et al. Protective effects of carnosine against
MDA-induced toxicity towards cultured rat brain endothelial
cells. Neuroscience Letters. 1997. 135-138.
5) Ilipkiss A et al. Protective effects of carnosine against
protein modification mediated by nialondialdchyde and
hypochlorite. Bioch Biophys Acta 1998, 1380;46-54.
6) Roberts PR, Black KW, Santamauro JT. Dietary peptides
improve wound healing following surgery. Nutrition, 1998,
7) McFarlandGA,HollidayR. Further evidence for the
rejuvenating effects of the dipeptide I .-carnosine on
cultured human diploid fibroblast. Exp Gerontol 1999
8) Ilipkiss A, Ghana 14. Carnosine protects proteins against
rnelhyiglyoxal-mediated modicatiations. Biochem Biophys Rcs
Goinm 1998. 248 (1); 28-32.
9) Preston J et al. Toxic effects of B-amyloid on immortalised
rat brain endothelial cell: protection by carnosine,
homocarnosine and B-alanine. Neuroscience letters 1998, 242;
10) Maichuk luF, Formaziuk VF. Sergienku VI. Development of
carnosine eye drops and assessing their efficiency in corneal
diseases. Vestn Oftalmol 1997.1 13(ft);27-31.
11 ) Kynazis M. 1999. Data on file.
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