(NaturalHealth365) Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the nation, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predicting that the number of people with the condition will rise to a shocking 14 million by 2050 – triple the current rate. Tragically, there is currently no (conventionally-known) cure for this disease. But recent research has revealed the ability of carnosine, a natural compound, to slow and even halt the processes that damage brain tissue and set the stage for Alzheimer’s disease – leading to hope that it may help prevent the development of this fatal form of dementia.
Let’s take a closer look at how carnosine can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and the unwanted effects of aging – keep reading.
Carnosine is an important ally against glycation
Carnosine is composed of two amino acids: beta alanine and L-histadine. It is created naturally in the body, and is found in the brain, heart and other internal organs, as well as in muscle tissue.
Carnosine’s main boon to the body is its ability to combat glycation, a damaging process that occurs when sugar in the bloodstream binds to the body’s proteins, producing harmful molecules known as advanced glycation end products, or AGEs.
Glycation can wreak havoc in the body, causing blood vessel damage that can trigger heart disease – as well as brain cell destruction that can lead to age-related cognitive dysfunction, neurodegenerative disease and stroke.
While elevated blood sugar levels promote glycation, even individuals with normal blood sugar levels experience the process to some extent.
Clinical studies reveal outstanding brain benefits
In addition to preventing glycation damage and oxidative stress in the brain, carnosine combats the accumulation of toxic beta amyloid protein, a substance that worsens brain cell destruction and triggers Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. In addition, studies have shown that carnosine can restore production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is meaningful because impaired serotonin has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
In one study – in which subjects received either a placebo or a carnosine-rich diet for 13 weeks – the carnosine-rich group performed better on both physical and cognitive tests. Another study showed that carnosine supplementation lessened cognitive dysfunction in veterans suffering from Gulf War syndrome.
And, carnosine can also protect the brain from damage caused by stroke. Researchers have found that carnosine helps limit reperfusion injury that results from the sudden restoration of oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
Carnosine lowers blood glucose and helps to prevent diabetes
While high blood sugar levels can lead to the presence of AGEs – raising the risk of diabetes and heart disease – carnosine can help inhibit the formation of these damaging molecules. In fact, carnosine benefits health in two ways, reducing both elevated blood sugar and the glycation reaction that follows it.
In subjects with prediabetes, or “borderline” high blood sugar, carnosine decreased blood glucose to non-diabetic levels two hours after a glucose tolerance test – while a group given only placebo remained significantly higher.
Another study evaluated carnosine supplementation on a group of obese adults at risk for developing diabetes and heart disease. The subjects received either a placebo or 2,000 mg of carnosine a day for 12 weeks.
The carnosine group had dramatically less insulin resistance than the placebo group – which had 3.8 times more – and also experienced reduced insulin secretion when compared to the placebo group.
How can I raise my carnosine levels?
Good dietary sources of carnosine include grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and chicken. But, because this nutrient degrades so rapidly in the body, supplementation may be needed to maintain optimal levels.
This is particularly true for vegans and vegetarians, as well as people with diabetes. High blood sugar can reduce carnosine levels in muscle tissue – thereby decreasing the exact nutrient that can help to control elevated blood sugar levels and mitigate their damage.
Natural health experts recommend carnosine dosages ranging from 500 mg to 1500 mg a day. You can also take beta-alanine supplements, a carnosine precursor that can help ramp up levels. Naturally, you should first get the go-ahead from a knowledgeable physician.
With recent studies showing carnosine’s impressive abilities to slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease and the onset of diabetes, this nutrient can play an important role in maintaining optimal health.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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