Monday, February 28, 2011

Carnosine and Carnitine Key to Anti-Aging Health

(Article first published as Anti-Aging Nutrients Carnosine and Carnitine Help Prevent Diabetes and Heart Disease on Technorati.)

Arterial stiffness caused by glycation is one of the key underlying causes of aging and has been shown to contribute to increased risk of heart disease, dementia, DNA damage and metabolic dysfunction. The aging process accelerates as blood sugar levels slowly increase as a result of poor dietary choices and can cause damage to proteins.

Protein structures are rendered useless as they are bound with sugar as combined units known as advanced glycation end products (AGE’s). Carnosine and carnitine are natural compounds that have been shown to prevent the damage caused by excess sugar and can reverse the development of AGE’s that lead to disease proliferation.

Carnosine Shown to Demonstrate Anti-Aging Effects
The heart muscle and vascular system are very sensitive to the effects of free radical damage and protein degradation from sugar glycation. When critical proteins become non-functional from AGE accumulation, the heart and endothelial structures lose their elasticity and blood pressure rises.

The results of research published in the journal Experimental Gerontology demonstrate carnosine’s ability to scavenge and neutralize free radicals and repair damaged protein structures. This was shown to effectively reduce the damaging effects of atherosclerosis and lengthen life span.

Carnosine Reduce Damage from Diabetic Complications
Elevated glucose causes destructive changes to vital enzymes and proteins that set the stage for metabolic syndrome and tissue damage. This problem is particularly devastating in diabetics as blood sugar levels remain elevated throughout the day and sugar-protein cross links wreak havoc with renal health, vision and the nervous system.

Information provided in the journal Mechanisms of Aging and Development shows how carnosine can prevent and even reverse glycation by inhibiting the chemical reaction that links sugar and protein to form non-functional structures. Carnosine effectively stabilizes cellular integrity and helps to prevent the devastating complications that are so common in diabetics.

Carnitine Lowers Risk from Heart Disease
Carnitine is made in the body from the two amino acids lysine and methionine and is essential to lipid metabolism. Research has shown that carnitine is able to lower the damaging effects of free radical damage to the arteries, prevent deterioration of the heart and reduce arterial stiffening. These processes are common in aging individuals and are a key cause of heart disease and heart attack, especially in diabetics.

The European Journal of Clinical Investigation explains how carnitine (Acetyl-l-carnitine) improves arterial flexibility by helping to prevent AGE cross-links that cause hardening of the delicate endothelial structures. The study authors theorize that carnitine may lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol that is known to provide the `glue` for compounds that develop into arterial plaque.

Carnosine and carnitine levels in the body naturally decrease with age. The main dietary source for both compounds is from meat and dairy products. Many health conscious people limit their consumption of these foods and supplementation may become necessary. Nutritional experts recommend supplementing with 1000 mg of carnosine and 500 mg of carnitine daily to achieve the antioxidant and anti-aging health benefits experienced in most research studies.

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