By the year 2050, nearly a third of America’s population will be 65 years or older. And our rapidly aging population faces a serious problem…
It’s estimated that Alzheimer’s will directly affect 14 million people in the US in the next 10-20 years. And the problem is compounded because this devastating condition does not just take the brain of the sufferer... it also creates anguish and hardship for loved ones.
For every patient who suffers this disease, you can generally multiply that by a minimum of four close family and friends…
That would mean that by the year 2050, over 50 million people in the US will be suffering in some way from Alzheimer’s.
But today you will learn about a powerful form of protection from this debilitating disease… and one of the most important age-related nutrients on the planet.
A review of studies published in the International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology had this to say about this natural compound:
“It extends cultured human fibroblast life-span, kills transformed cells, protects cells against aldehydes and an amyloid peptide fragment and inhibits, in vitro, protein glycation and DNA/protein cross-linking.”1
In plain English that means this nutrient provides powerful protection against the development of Alzheimer’s in a number of significant ways.
This nutrient is L-Carnosine…
And today, we’ll take a look at exactly how l-carnosine can help you age well.
But first, if you’re serious about decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s… you need to know how it develops in the brain (and which dietary factors increase your risk).
How Alzheimer’s Develops (And How L-Carnosine Benefits the Aging Brain)
Many theories exist to explain the causes of Alzheimer’s. The most prevalent involve the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and damage caused by advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) and oxidation.
Beta-amyloid proteins are compounds that come and go in our brain. Problems arise when we accumulate more than we clear. The result is sticky plaques that damage neurons, nerves and arteries in the brain. And so we start to see symptoms of dementia.
But, there’s something else lurking inside those plaques: Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs).
Most people know about free radicals. But did you know AGEs are just as detrimental when it comes to aging?
AGEs form when sugars combine with proteins (or fats) in a special chemical reaction. It's called the Maillard reaction, and is a normal metabolic process. But it can go haywire when it overburdens our body.
But there’s something we do in our daily diet that pushes the levels even higher... browning food! This is the culinary version of the Maillard reaction.
Sugary marinades on fried meats, drippings and the browned crisp on top of baked desserts. These all introduce AGE’s into our body.
The following quote, found in Life Extension Magazine sums it up:
“The human body might be viewed as an extraordinarily complex mixture of chemicals, reacting in a low temperature oven with a 76-year cooking cycle.”2
The Maillard reaction cranks the oven up to high heat. And the resulting AGE's influence ‘cross-links’ in tissue proteins. In other words, the proteins become damaged and dysfunctional. And that includes those sticky beta-amyloid proteins in the brain.
But as you will soon see, l-carnosine can act as the “oven cleaner”!
But there’s just one more thing you need to know about…
The Youth Diminishing AGE-Oxidation Cycle
Researchers believe that free radicals (oxidative stress) are part of AGE’s forming. And AGE’s produce more free radicals!
It’s a vicious cycle.
A study conducted in 2005 at the Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University concluded… both AGE’s and oxidative stress to be key factors in Alzheimer’s. The researchers stated:
“Our findings support the idea that aldehyde-mediated modifications, in concert with oxyradical-mediated modifications, are critical early pathogenic factors in Alzheimer's disease”
So, let’s see how l-carnosine benefits and some simple and immediate action you can take.
How L-Carnosine Benefits Against Alzheimer’s
Carnosine is found in the brain, muscles, and heart. It's made from just two amino acids (beta-alanine and histidine). Its job is to guard against the naturally-occurring damage associated with energy production.
Carnosine reaches deep into cellular DNA to slow the rate of deterioration and reduce damage. And L-carnosine can benefit the aging brain by:
- Acting as a special ‘antioxidant’ and protector against brain-damaging AGE’s. Carnosine actually combines with sugars - sparing your body’s protein.
- Reacting with cross-linked proteins and helps to remove them from the body
- Stopping oxidative damage from free radicals
- Providing protective effects against amyloid beta
Researchers from the Institute of Gerontology in London demonstrated these effects. They introduced amyloid beta to cultured rat brain cells, producing toxic damage. By adding carnosine to the mix they demonstrated a large decrease in damage.
The researchers concluded:
“We postulate that the mechanism of carnosine protection lies in its anti-glycating and antioxidant activities, both of which are implicated in neuronal and endothelial cell damage during Alzheimer’s disease. Carnosine may therefore be a useful therapeutic agent.”3
How You Can Get Enough Carnosine… and Reduce AGE’s
Did you know that the “carno” in carnosine refers to meat? That’s where you’ll find natures l-carnosine benefits! Grass fed beef and other red meats contain 1500mg/lb. Pastured poultry and pork contain 2000mg/lb.
Just a single 3.5oz serving of high-quality, pasture-raised meat will provide you with 330 – 440mg of age-defying l-carnosine.
Now, you might be wondering, how much carnosine do I need to enjoy the anti-aging benefits? Most experts recommend about 500 mg/day of l-carnosine.
Be sure to maximize your anti-aging protection by following these three basic ancestral diet principles:
- Cook Correctly: Cook your anti-aging proteins with a slow cooker, pressure cooker, with gentle poaching or low temperature roasting. You can also go raw... try a delicious steak tartare, beef heart tartare or carpaccio.
- Protect with Color: Include high amounts of antioxidant rich foods in your diet. Choose dark leafy greens (organic spinach, kale) and deeply-colored foods (red beets, berries, pumpkin, winter squash). Add antioxidant superfoods like turmeric, cacao, cinnamon and fresh and dried herbs!
- Choose Condiments Wisely: Avoid cooking meats with sugar-containing ingredients to prevent AGE formation. Instead of sugary sauces, opt for healthy and savory options like Paleo remoulade (made with Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise), mustard, horseradish, chimichurri and pesto.
And of course, you can’t ignore regular exercise and a good nights sleep for a healthy brain. Do all these things daily to protect you and your loved ones from dementia related distress.
Love bread, but not the blood-sugar spiking carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
- Hipkiss AR. Carnosine, a protective, anti-ageing peptide? The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. 1998:30(8);863-868.
- Life Extension Magazine. Carnosine Report 2006. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2006/1/report_carnosine/Page-01
- Preston JE, Hipkiss AR, Himsworth DT, Romero IA, Abbott JN. Toxic effects of beta-amyloid(25-35) on immortalised rat brain endothelial cell: protection by carnosine, homocarnosine and beta-alanine. Neuroscience letters. 1998:242(2);105-108.