Carnosine Is An Effective Supplement -Roger Mason
L-carnosine is known to scientists as N-beta-alanyl-histidine, so it’s easier just to call it "carnosine". This is an amino acid found abundantly in red meat, poultry, and seafood. It is found in our muscles. Our bodies make this from other amino acids, so it is not essential in our diet. The great value of carnosine supplementation has been known about for well over ten years now, but the public has only recently learned about it in the last two years. This is NOT surprising, and hap-pens all the time with such beneficial products. There usually is a big time lag between discovery of effective natural supplement in the clinics, and when the general public finally starts taking them. This is true with beta glucan, beta sitosterol, zinc pyrithione (external), pregnenolone, curcumin, estriol, quercitin, melatonin, and many other such products.
You may read some articles on carnosine that sound promising, but are written in an advertising mode full of pseudo-scientific talk meant to impress non-scientists. Going directly to Chemical Abstracts Scifinder for over 30 years revealed a wealth of studies of many varied and different benefits. There is no doubt about the proven value here. The international science is very clear. Coronary heart disease is the biggest killer of all worldwide, much more than cancer. Carnosine is a very heart healthy supplement.
You must take 500 mg a day over the long term. You can take 1,000 mg if you have any kind of CHD condition. Some unscrupulous companies have been selling 50 mg tablets. A 60 count bottle of 500 mg capsules contains a full 30 grams (one ounce) of carnosine. This isn't cheap to produce. Some companies like Life Extension® are selling a single bottle for $30! This is simply inexcusable, and such profiteering is completely unnecessary. They manufacture their own pro-ducts with no middleman or wholesaler. You can find a 60 count bottle for $20 if you look around (our price is $19.95). Anyone over the age of 40 should consider this as part of their long term supplement program, and it will cost you less than $10 a month. Carnosine is endogenous, as it naturally occurs in our bodies (mostly in our muscles) and in common food. Vegans and vegetarians are going to get no carnosine at all in their diets. Again, we do synthesize this in our bodies. The levels of carnosine fall as we age, especially in our hearts. The brain depends of high levels of carnosine for optimum function, and it is being investigated as a preventative for Alzheimer's. Carnosine is brain healthy. It is a strong anti-oxidant which fights dangerous free radicals. The most important benefit is enhancement of overall heart and artery health. Coronary heart disease is THE biggest killer of adults by far, and everything we can do to make our hearts stronger helps guarantee a longer life. This qualifies carnosine clearly as a life extension agent. It is also very critical in cell regeneration and fibroblast function. "Cellular aging" is a key to understanding the power of carnosine, as it seems to very much slow down the aging of many cells in our bodies. More and more good human studies are being done. As these studies are published, they will be related in future articles.
Let's take a look at just a few of the studies. In the Russian journal Biokhimiya v.57, (1992) scientists at Moscow State University did a review with 52 references. They concluded that carnosine is a, "perspective immunomodulating tool which has many applications in medicine," due in part to its powerful antioxidative properties. Also in the same journal, another review was published with 25 references on the history and actual physiological actions of carnosine.
At Ohio University doctors published a study in Comprehensive Biochemistry and Physiology (v. 103B, 1992). Using rats they found carnosine levels in the heart and skeletal muscles fell over 40% as they aged, and were 40% lower in rats with high blood pressure. Heart muscle showed a dramatic decline. The same has basically been found in humans as well, so the implications for heart metabolism are clear here. These same authors published a second study in Biochemical Society Transactions (v. 23, 1995). Again, they showed the sharp decrease in carnosine in the heart and skeletal muscles as they aged, especially when high blood pressure is a factor. They also found that exercise was vital to keep carnosine levels high. It is clear that our epidemic rates of hypertension may benefit from carnosine supplementation. High blood pressure is THE most common medical condition on earth. More studies will be reviewed in the future on high blood pressure and carnosine supplementation.
At King's College in London doctors published a stunning review of the benefits, functions and therapeutic applications of carnosine- with 252 references!- in Molecular Aspects of Medicine (v13, 1992). It would take days to wade thru such a review, but you can see just how documented the therapeutic applications of carnosine are with 252 references in just one review at such a prestigous college. This same college later was granted a World Patent (meaning the European Com-munity) for helping relieve diabetes with carnosine supplementation. Diabetes and blood sugar problems are now affecting our children as well as adults. One third of American children will grow up diabetic!
In the journal Nutrition Research (vv. 14, 1994) researchers at the University of Quebec in Canada found that dogs given carnosine in their food regulated their insulin and glucagon secretion by affecting the pancreas. This has obvious potential for our extreme rates of diabetes and other blood sugar problems.
In the Russian journal Byull. Eksp. Biol. Med. doctors at the Omsk Medical Institute studied rats by reviving them from induced death. They gave them injections to kill them, revived them and then injected half of them with carnosine. The ones given the carnosine not only had a higher survival rate, but less damage from being clinically dead for about five minutes. Studies such as this may sound cruel, but much was learned from them. At the School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan doctors published a study in the Japanese Journal of Physiology (v. 45, 1995). Using rats they found that carnosine is very important to physical endurance and exercise. This is due to the large amount of carnosine contained in both the skeletal muscles and the heart muscle. A World Patent (European Community) was issued in 1990 for using carnosine for improving athletic performance, endurance, fatigue and treating muscular disorders.
One warning should be given here. This is only found in animal foods. Some people may have a rise in aromatase, estradiol, and estrone after taking it for a while. This will be seen in waist gain weight, gynecomastia and breast growth. Just test your two estrogens with a ZRT kit if you suspect this. There is much more you will find in the clinical literature. Carnosine has been known about for well over a decade now, but the general public still doesn't know about it. This is an important part of a supplement program for anyone over 40 and it will cost you only $10 a month.