Eating Less Meat? Try Carnosine

By | January 25, 2009

After some research tonight, I’m off to the store to add one more thing to my daily super shake.

Typical vegetarian diets are thought to be lacking in carnosine, but whether this has a detrimental effect on vegetarians is controversial. Carnosine was found to inhibit diabetic nephropathy by protecting the podocytes and mesangial cells.[14] Because of its antioxidant, antiglycator and metal chelator properties, carnosine supplements have been proposed as a general anti-aging therapy. [15]wiki

Carnosine is a multifunctional dipeptide made up of a chemical combination of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine. It is found both in food and in the human body. Long-lived cells such as nerve cells (neurons) and muscle cells (myocytes) contain high levels of carnosine. Muscle levels of carnosine correlate with the maximum life spans of animals.

Carnosine levels decline with age. Muscle levels decline 63% from age 10 to age 70, which may account for the normal age-related decline in muscle mass and function. 1 Since carnosine acts as a pH buffer, it can keep on protecting muscle cell membranes from oxidation under the acidic conditions of muscular exertion. Carnosine enables the heart muscle to contract more efficiently through enhancement of calcium response in heart myocytes.

Aging causes irreversible damage to the body’s proteins. The underlying mechanism behind this damage is glycation. A simple definition of glycation is the cross-linking of proteins and sugars to form non-functioning structures in the body. The process of glycation can be superficially seen as unsightly wrinkled skin. Glycation is also an underlying cause of age-related catastrophes including the neurologic, vascular, and eye disorders. Carnosine is a unique dipeptide that interferes with the glycation process. When compared to the anti-glycating drug aminoguanidine, carnosine has been shown to inhibit glycation earlier in the process and also provides additive health benefits. – drsuk

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