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Carnosine (L-Carnosine)

Health News: 01.Feb.03

Carnosine prevents cataracts

Life Extension Magazine February 2003

"Carnosine is one of the most important nurtients for cataract prevention"

Carnosine is a free radical scavenger that is especially protective against lipid peroxidation. Since cell membranes are primarily comprised of fatty acids, carnosine helps maintain membrane function and cellular structure.

Carnosine's best-known effect, however, is its ability to prevent the formation of advanced glycated end products (protein crosslinks). Carnosine competes with proteins for the binding sites they would occupy on sugar molecules, making it the best glycation preventative currently recognized in the world of nutrition research.

Carnosine has been found to significantly extend the life span of cultured cells and fruit flies, inhibit the toxic effects of the protein that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, protect against the toxic effects of copper- zinc in the brain and enhance the state of balance (homeostasis) under which physiological systems work best. And, finally, it has been shown to prevent and/or reverse cataract.

When administered topically to the eye in the form of N-acetyl-L-carnosine-(functionally, a time-release form of carnosine), this dipeptide can move easily into both the water-soluble (aqueous) and lipid-containing parts of the eye. Once there, it helps to prevent DNA strand breaks induced by UV radiation and enhances DNA repair.16 Once it has entered the lipid areas of the eye, N-acetyl-L-carnosine partially breaks down and becomes L-carnosine.

Chinese and Russian researchers have studied cataract-preventive nutrients for nearly a decade. A Chinese study done by A.M. Wang in 1999, used 96 patients aged 60 years or older having senile cataracts of various degrees of maturity with the duration of the disease from 2 to 21 years. Patients instilled one to two drops of the carnosine-containing solution in each eye three to four times each day for a period of treatment ranging from three to six months. The level of eyesight improvement and the change of lens transparency were considered as an evaluation index of the curative effect of carnosine. The result showed that carnosine gives a pronounced effect on primary senile cataracts, the effective rate being 100%. For mature senile cataracts, the effect rate was 80%.

The Russians most recent contribution was published in 2002 in the journal Drugs Research and Development. In two separate studies, they applied a one percent solution of N-acetyl-carnosine to the affected eyes of cataract patients twice a day. Only patients with mild cataracts-not anticipated to require surgery within the next two years-in one or both eyes were selected to participate. A matched control group received placebo drops, and another small matched group received no drops at all. The first study lasted six months, while the second continued for a total of 24 months. Tests of visual acuity and glare sensitivity were administered every two months in the first study and every six in the second.

After six months, a full 90% of eyes treated with N-acetyl-carnosine showed improvements in visual acuity ranging from 7% to 100%. Glare sensitivity improved 27% to 100% in 88.9% of carnosine recipients, and image analysis (a measurement of visual clarity) improved in 41.5% of treated eyes. Lens examination revealed fewer areas of lens opacity in the posterior subcapsular region. No worsening of vision was found in the eyes treated with N-acetylcarnosine, and all of these benefits were sustained through the 24 months that treatment continued.

These study results are evidence that N-acetyl-carnosine is one of the most important nutrients for cataract prevention (In liquid form). The entire body of research on carnosine reveals its promise as an anti-aging nutrient that works at several levels to protect multiple organ systems.

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