Carnosine: A Longevity Nutrient

I am very impressed with the range of effect that carnosine has.  The research that has been done on physical activity, which some, like Dr. Joseph Mercola, are interested in has shown carnosine has a negligible effect, but this effect, whether a lot or a little, is of little importance to me. Really what impresses me most is its role as a natural antioxidant, as an anti-glycosylation amino acid (especially for diabetics), and for anti-aging through preventing the telomeres from shortening.  I believe the telomere research may be a key to unlocking the secret of longevity.  This benefit seems to be a hidden component to the carnosine issue.  The literature finds that carnosine appears to be mostly contained in red meat.  A red meat meal may have 250 mg of carnosine, which is often degraded by the carnosinase (an enzyme that breaks down carnosine).  Research suggests that 1,000 mg daily of carnosine would indeed overwhelm the carnosinase enzyme and would therefore keep a high blood level.  Based on my general understanding of enzymatic systems, there is no reasonable expectation that carnosinase will go above its normal maximum response level to counter the increased carnosine.  Carnosine is stored at its highest levels in the heart, in the brain, and in the eyes.  These are all important places to create an anti-aging effect.  I don’t see in the literature, (unless one is eating meat three times daily), how we can possibly get enough carnosine for neither plant-source-only people or meat-eaters.

Additional good news is that the literature makes it clear that there are no side effects from modest doses of carnosine, which is well above what I recommend.  For that reason I have decided to recommend it as a supplement for vegans, vegetarians, as well as carnivores.  I am able to get from live food concentrate sources (rather than synthetically).  The deciding factors for me were the prevention or slowing of telomere shortening, its powerful anti-glycosylation effect, and the fact that in the literature there are no side effects.

What I note with the carnosine, not only is it important for slowing the chronic degenerative aging of diabetes (which is how I first discovered it), because it reduces glycosylation, slows telomere shortening, and has antioxidant effects. These three effects individually act to slow the aging process and synergistically would even more strongly boost the anti-aging effect.

One good meat meal provides about 250 mg of carnosine, which would last you about 5 hours.  We need about 1,000 mg daily to overwhelm the carnosinase enzyme system to optimize its anti-aging effect.  It works on multiple molecular targets to delay aging.  I’ve reviewed the vast amount of literature on the subject in order to clarify its anti-aging effect.  In the case of flies, it increases lifespan by 20%, and with the use of vitamin E it can increase the longevity as much as 36%.  Of course, we’re not flies but it tells us something.

Its clinical effect in humans is it may potentially slightly increase athletic performance.  It acts as a powerful antioxidant and has the ability to scavenge for both free radicals and damaged protein products.  In other words it has a protein enhancement effect.  It may prevent the harmful transmutation of LDH molecules into artio-plaque.  In this way it seems to help the arteries and protect against ischemia.  It may even be useful following a stroke, because of its ability to reduce the toxicity of the excitatory neurotransmitter known as glutamate.  In general it helps maintain the function of the arteries and block the chronic degenerative aging symptoms of diabetes.  It even helps lower blood pressure in diabetics.  It also protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation and glycosylation and therefore can help block the early stages of athero-sclerosis.  It can actually help delay the onset of diabetes and improve the amount of insulin-secreting pancreatic cells.  It also prevents the release of inflammatory cytokines in the intestinal cells, thus protecting from colon cancer.

Also impressive is that the brain does contain higher levels of carnosine, which reduces the oxidative nitrosative and glycemic stress, which the brain is so vulnerable to.  It protects from inflammation in the brain and also protects against cross-linking of protein particularly in the case of Alzheimers disease from the making of beta amyloid.  By preventing the cross linking it promotes normal neuronal function and helps minimize toxicity created by high levels of metal toxicity.  In summary, it helps to enhance general brain function in a variety of ways.  It has also been associated with lowering blood sugar, enhancing insulin sensitivity, slowing down the onset of Type 2 diabetes.  It also extends lifespan in lab animals and in human cell culture.  Carnosine is particularly effective in improving brain and heart function.  In preliminary research it also protects against cardiac damage and brain injury once an injury has occurred.  This range of benefits is applicable to both vegans and meat-eaters.  It also helps to prevent against cataracts of the eyes because it prevents glycosylation, which is associated with an increased rate of cataracts.

Carnosine acts as a pH buffer in the muscles.  It helps the heart muscle to contract more efficiently.  It helps rejuvenate connective tissue cells, so it is good for healing wounds, and it protects from protein degradation.  When you look at all these things together we have a potent anti-aging, anti-diabetes, and organ performance enhancing natural extract.  The carnosine we use is an extract from living bacterial cultures.  It also inhibits the inflammatory cytokines and helps to induce nitric acid synthetase, which is good for dilating the vessels.  As this is a specific longevity nutrient for enhanced brain and heart support, I recommend carnosine to all my clients, including meat-eaters, as they can not get enough of it unless they eat steak three times daily.