Many medical practitioners will tell you that ageing is a normal process where the rate of deterioration of your cells is predetermined by your genes. They maintain that heredity plays the major part in deciding the speed you age, how quickly (if at all) your brain deteriorates, when your skin ages and your muscles weaken.
Over the last few years, research has shown that ageing actually is more a question of your environment and lifestyle. These factors are now thought to play a much larger part in our ageing processes – exercise and relaxation, diet, smoking and alcohol, air quality, electro magnetic interference (radio waves, cell phone, x-ray and so on).
Much of this research has been investigating diseases associated with the brain – Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Dementia. Not long ago these diseases were dismissed as one of the unfortunate consequences of growing old since the older age groups appeared to suffer with them the most.
Two exciting studies have been investigating the role of a little known compound that occurs naturally in our body and in most animals. Carnosine is created by two amino acids joining together. The result is much more powerful than can be achieved by the two amino acids working on their own. There are links to the studies (and other work) at the end of this article but they are extremely technical. Here is a simple summary of each: –
Study 1 – University of Glasgow, Scotland. They noticed that dementia and Alzheimer patients had lower levels of Carnosine in their brains and spinal fluid than those of other adults of the same age (or older). They also showed that those parts of the brain that are first affected in early Alzheimer's disease are the same areas where Carnosine is normally found in its highest concentrations. As the Carnosine level falls with age, those brain areas become the most vulnerable to Alzheimer's related damage. Carnosine binds with zinc in the brain and protects the delicate tissue. It also increases blood levels and reduces protein “cross-linking” which grow into the fibrous tangles that are found in the brains of Alzheimer sufferers.
Study 2 – Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. This study investigated the effect of Carnosine on old fibroblast cells – these play an important role in forming skin. The newest theory of aging has to do with the chromosomal telomere shortening rate. Telomeres are the ends of DNA molecules and become damaged and shortened by free radicals as part of the ageing process. States of accelerated aging are characterized by fast telomere shortening. This study found that fibroblast cells bathed in carnosine showed signs of rejuvenation and had an enhanced ability to divide opposed to the control group. The cells in the carnosine medium had an average life span of 413 days compared to 126-139 days for the cells of the control group.
When researchers took the older cells out of the carnosine medium they began to rapidly age again. However, once they put them back into the carnosine medium they again began acting like younger cells.
AGE – this is a little bit technical and taken from a Natural News article by Dr David Jockers: –
Glycation involves the non-enzymatically coordinated bonding of a sugar molecule (glucose/fructose) with either a protein or lipid. This creates sticky proteins and oxidized fats that both act as potent free radicals known as advanced glycolytic enzymes (AGEs). AGEs are associated with accelerated aging processes and produce 50 times more free radicals than non-glycated proteins.
The brain concentrates carnosine to protect itself against AGE formation, excitotoxitiy and lipid oxidation. This reduces brain cell death and inflammatory plaque formation. This process maintains healthy circulation throughout the brain preventing against conditions such as dementia and stroke. Carnosine is also considered a potent copper-zinc chelating agent that inhibits the amyloid-beta cross-linking that leads to Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers believe that carnosine keeps cells young through its ability to reduce AGE formation and the ability to replace old proteins.
Carnosine and the Brain
Scientists have known about the rejuvenating properties of Carnosine for some time. However, it is the recent studies on age related diseases of the brain that has made the important link between these diseases and lack of Carnosine. As the scientists learn more about the role that Carnosine plays and how it actually works, then we can begin to understand the critical importance of maintaining levels of Carnosine within our bodies.
Carnosine can help prevent the start of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. It can also prevent/reduce/delay Dementia, improve memory and other similar age related challenges.
Increasing Your Carnosine Intake
Carnosine occurs naturally in beef, lamb, turkey, chicken and duck. Unfortunately, the level of Carnosine in this meat has reduced dramatically due to mass farming techniques. This fact alone could be responsible for the increase in brain related diseases over the last 50 years or so. If you can still access organic, grass fed, free range meat then all you need is approximately 1 lb (500 gm) of this meat per day. If you are vegetarian or can only purchase commercially raised meat then you are probably not receiving enough Carnosine.
There are several proprietary supplements that include Carnosine. There are also varying qualities (and effectiveness) – always purchase the purest form available.
Endymion is 99.9% pure Carnosine and produced in a form that maximizes its effectiveness and absorbability. It is simple to take and highly recommended for preventing age related brain problems. We consider it “essential” for people who are in early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's since it really can halt the onset of these diseases. You can find further information on Endymion and how to obtain it HERE
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