Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide (b-alanyl-L-histidine). In simple terms, it is made up of two amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. It is naturally present in the brain, nerves, muscle tissue and in the lens of the eye.

Researchers from the University of London have been studying the effects of carnosine as a supplement for several years and have arrived at consistent results. There have been previous studies by Japanese and Russian researchers, but interest started growing recently after British and Australian researchers published results about carnosine's near miraculous anti-aging properties.

Carnosine lengthens the life span of human cells in the laboratory. It has antioxidant properties and zaps toxic ions and other poisons. It shields tissues against radiation damage, excites the immune system and speeds up wound healing. The use of carnosine stabilizes and strengthens the membrane of our cells, which is beneficial. In laboratory animals has been shown to prevent or reverse cataract.

Carnosine blocks several chemical pathways leading to cross-linking and so reduces the production of AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), saving our body from, what else, carnAGE.

Som carnosine can protect us against free radical damage and against AGEs (advanced glycation end-products). But there are other toxins which can cause age-related damage, One of these is aldehyde and its by-products. Experiments have shown that carnosine protects the tissues from the effects of these rogue products.

Why is carnosine different from other anti-aging 'miracle cures'? Because it takes part in three different battles to neutralize toxins:

1) Free radicals

2) AGEs (advanced glycation end-products)

3. Aldehyde products

Vitaminc C, vitamin E and other commonly used antioxidants barely manage to fight free radicals. Damage caused by AGEs (advanced glycation end-products) and by aldehyde remains unaffected.

Even if we concentrate only on the battle against free radicals, carnosine is still superior to ordinary antioxidants. To understand why, it is necessary to appreciate that we have several lines of defence against free radicals. Commonly used antioxidants, fighting alongside carnosine, are effective only as a first line of defence. Once this line overrun, antioxidants have no effect.

The second line of defense is to neutralize the several dangerous by-products of the first reaction. That is where carnosine comes in again for the second time, because it is able to blast these by-products away.

Aging has been associated with many different causes and stages of damage. Because carnosine has many different actions, it works at the very heart of age-related reactions, from the inside. It is fair to say that all of these actions have been extensively studied in the laboratory only, and not fully in humans as yet. Initial results are very encouraging though. People who have used carnosine say that their muscles feel firmer and their face looks younger. In theory, carnosine is potentially useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's dementia, cancer and inflammation, as well as cataract, arteriosclerosis and kidney disease due to diabetes.

In animals, the amount of carnosine in the muscle tissues indicates how long the animal will live. The higher the concentration, the longer the life span. Will the same be proven true for humans?

High amounts of carnosine are found in lean read meat and chicken. Carnosins supplements exist in capsule form. These supplements are made by bringing together the two amino acids in special laboratories to create exactly the same natural product as the one found in muscle. The product is not taken from the muscles or brains of dead cows or anything similar.

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