L-carnosine – an extremely beneficial anti-aging supplement
L-carnosine is a combination of two peptides: alanine and histidine, and is produced naturally in the body. It is specifically produced in vertebrates, where it is highly concentrated in brain and skeletal muscles. Before going into the details of how this single protein provides benefits that scientists have been exploring for many years, it is important to understand an interesting natural impact of L-carnosine on our bodies (Norris, Messina. 2012)
L-carnosine interferes (in a good GREAT way) with the aging process!
L-carnosine is known to increase the Hayflick limit of the cells. Hayflick is the phenomenon (thus named in honour of Dr Leonard Hayflick) whereby a human cell divides a specified number of times until it cannot divide any further, and enters a stage of senescence This means that cells have a specific capacity to divide. In early adulthood cells have completed half of those limited cell divisions. At mid-life, when humans enter ‘old age’, only 20-40% of possible divisions remain. Hayflick determines the ‘life limit’ of a person at the cellular level. When the cell division stops, cells are called senescent; these cells are alive and have an active metabolism but they cannot divide. These cells show the characteristic of old age such as wrinkled skin, weakened bone structure and joints. Cell division becomes less frequent and cells become aberrant, irregular and granular in form. They change in size and shape as compared to normal dividing cells. The distortion of the shape is actually a result of senescence. This appearance of signs of cells’ aging were thought to be irreversible, but studies have shown this is not the case (CSIRO Division of Molecular Science, 1999).
Hayflick limit at molecular level is due to shortening of DNA telomeres. DNA telomeres are the ends of DNA and shortens after every cell division. When these telomeres are shortened to a specific critical limit, the cell can no longer divide. Now comes the role of L-carnosine! It slows down the rate of telomere shortening AND increases the lifespan of the cell by increasing the Hayflick limit of the cell! In short, L-carnosine increases the lifespan by slowing the aging process of cells (Babizhayev MA, et al 2014) .
Proof of L-carnosine reversing the process of aging:
The research conducted has shown that senescent cells treated with L-carnosine displayed cell rejuvenation within days, along with improved capacity to divide and the behavioral traits of a juvenile cell. Mice that were treated with L-carnosine, despite having reached their life expectancy limit, displayed a youthful appearance and behaviour even in ‘old age’. Life expectancy was found to increase multiple times.
L-carnosine improves vitality of muscles and protects cell membrane. It has an overall protective action which improves the state of body and protects it against damage at multiple levels.
- L-carnosine as an antioxidant:
Antioxidants protect the body from harmful effects of oxygen radicals. L-carnosine acts as a scavenger to clean the body from ‘reactive oxygen species’. It also protects the cells during oxidative stress by scavenging products of cell membrane fatty acids peroxidation. It is a very powerful antioxidant. It binds to heavy metals and protects glycation of proteins which is linked to the aging process.
- L-carnosine as a regulator:
L-carnosine stabilizes excessive bodily processes. For example, it suppresses hyper immune response and stimulates the immune response if it is weak, as will occur with aging.
- L-carnosine for the heart:
Oxidative stress leads to build-up of plaque in the arteries i.e. atherosclerosis which leads to high blood pressure and heart attacks. L-carnosine protects heart by acting as an antioxidant. It is also known to protect against ischemia i.e. restriction of blood supply to an organ or tissue. It reverses the effect of ischemia related to heart, brain, kidney and lungs and hence restores the normal functioning of body.
- L-carnosine for diabetics:
The process of glycation (glycosylation i.e. attachment of sugars to proteins) is increased in diabetics due to increased sugar levels, and is a significant factor in the aging process. L-carnosine prevents the process of glycation.
- L-carnosine for cancer treatment:
It is known for its anti-cancer properties. It protects the DNA from damage, inhibiting the development of cancer . It can also inhibit cancer producing chemicals like inflammatory cytokines.
- L-carnosine for the Brain:
It protects the brain from the stress of nitrogen, oxygen and sugar derivatives and species. It has been found to play a definitive role against Alzheimer’s disease (Young, W. 2005) and it helps in clearing up toxins.
Sources of L-carnosine
Beef, chicken, fish and poultry are considered to be rich source of L-carnosine, however extracts are also available as food supplement for easy consumption without the negative sides of having to eat too much meat.
How to consume L- carnosine and the dosage
Within hours of consumption, L-carnosine levels are dropped to zero in the blood as it is a short lived protein in the blood. For this reason,dietary supplementation of L-carnosine is extremely beneficial. L-carnosine in supplement form can be taken in the morning and evening, and ensures your body receives and maintain the required levels of L-carnosine. We recommend taking at least 600 mg per day. Although others suggests it should be around 1,000 mg per day, we are aware of some people feeling slight muscle twitch if taking too much too quickly. But, L-carnosine will be required in larger daily allowance levels as we age, and vegans and diabetics should also take it in larger quantities.
- FREE PDF: Norris, J. & Messina, G. 2012 Vitamin B12 and vegetarian diets Clinical Focus
- McFarland, GA and Holliday, R. 1999, Further evidence for the rejuvenating effects of the dipeptide l-carnosine on cultured human diploid fibroblasts CSIRO Division of Molecular Science, Sydney Laboratory, Australia
- Babizhayev MA, Kasus-Jacobi A, Vishnyakova KS, Yegorov YE. 2014 Targeted therapy of telomere attrition and lifestyle changes of telomerase activity National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
- Young, W. 2005 Carnosine as a Neuroprotective Agent Rutgers University, New Jersey
- Yoshinori M. PhD, Eunice Li-Chan, Bo Jiang. 2011 Bioactive Proteins and Peptides as Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals Wiley-Blackwell