Why L-Carnosine Can Help You Live Longer
L-carnosine is a molecule known as a dipeptide that’s composed of two amino acids – histidine (which helps promote healthy tissues) and alanine (which helps remove toxins from the liver). L-carnosine may help address several serious health issues, including brain degeneration, peptic ulcers and more. 1 These are just a few of the reasons you can boost your health with L-carnosine in your diet.
1. Possible Cell Damage-Fighting Components
Research into the subject is in its very early stages, but studies indicate that L-carnosine, an antioxidant, may be able to help block cell damage. 2 No one is coming anywhere close to definitively saying L-carnosine can be used to address cancer, but the early research is at least promising.
2. Helping the Brain Defend Itself
L-Carnosine is found in high levels in brain tissue, and may help reduce certain types of stress that can affect the organ on a regular basis. 3 Oxidative and glycemic stress are particularly damaging, and are associated with inflammatory processes that can play a role to compromising healthy brain function. L-Carnosine can help prevent those processes from forming, and as a result can help the brain continue to function normally. 4
Studies show that people who suffer from neurodegenerative issues tend to have lower levels of L-Carnosine, but the significance is unclear. Researchers are still trying to determine whether people with low L-Carnosine levels are more prone to developing the disease, or if the disease itself causes the deficiency. 5
3. Reducing Glucose Levels
Glucose can play a major role in breaking down tissues as we age, causing destructive changes in proteins and enzymes. People with diabetes experience an acceleration of this process because their glucose levels are too high. This process is known as “glycation,” and L-Carnosine may be able to help modulate glucose levels in a way that reduces the risk of glycation occurring. 6
Research indicates that L-Carnosine may be able to inhibit the chemical reactions that alter proteins to the point to where they are unable to function properly. 7 This could, in turn, provide substantial health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and also help protect cell membranes from being damaged due to glycation. 8
4. Benefits to the Cardiovascular System
Stress due to oxidation not only has a negative effect on the brain, but it can also harm the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) as well as stroke and heart attack. L-Carnosine may be able to help reduce the chances of these problems occurring due to its antioxidant properties as well as its ability to eliminate damaged proteins from the body. 9
Research indicates that L-Carnosine can limit activity in the nervous system that can lead to hypertension. 10 Studies also show that the antioxidant properties of the molecule can help protect against the buildup of toxins such as chemotherapy agents, that can damage heart muscle. 11
L-Carnosine has also been shown to help other major organs as well. For example, it may be able to help protect tissues in the liver and kidneys following a surgical procedure or trauma, helping reduce the risk of complications occurring. 12
5. Potential Protection Against the Formation of Cataracts
A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, making it appear that someone is looking through a window that has been covered in frost or fog. This condition can make it extremely difficult to accomplish relatively basic tasks such as driving a car or reading. L-Carnosine is associated with not only reducing the chances that cataracts will develop, but also reducing their severity when they do. 13
Glycation not only plays a role in breaking down tissue and contributing to diabetes, it is also one of the contributing factors to the formation of cataracts. The lens portion of the eye is particularly vulnerable to glycation, which can lead to an opaque appearance. L-Carnosine may be able to help protect the lens from the dangerous effects of glycation. 14
Making Sure You Get Enough Carnosine
L-Carnosine is mostly found in red meat, but that doesn’t mean people who follow vegetarian diets will automatically be carnosine-deficient. The reason is that it is believed the body can produce enough of the molecule on its own. But whether you eat meat or not, L-Carnosine typically doesn’t last too long within the body because of an enzyme known as carnosinase. This enzyme quickly degrades L-Carnosine, so in order to maintain a high level you may need to consider taking a supplement with L-Carnosine.
L-Carnosine levels in the body steadily decline as we age, along with muscle mass. L-Carnosine’s antioxidant properties may help reduce the breakdown of muscle. 15 The molecule can also help with wound healing because of its ability to rejuvenate the cells of connective tissues that have been damaged due to an injury. 16
Talk to your doctor to see if you would be a good candidate to supplement your diet with L-Carnosine. While research is extremely promising, there’s a lot that we still don’t know about the molecule. For example, there’s a lack of information regarding the safety of taking L-Carnosine if you are pregnant or you are breastfeeding. While there are no known adverse interactions with medications, you should still have a detailed discussion with your doctor to make sure he or she would be comfortable with you taking the supplement.
Also, taking the proper dosage of L-Carnosine will be extremely important. There are several factors that go into determining the best dose, such as your health, age and any health conditions you may be experiencing. Again, your doctor can help you determine what the right amount of L-Carnosine will be for you.