Use on Humans
After dozens of reports about carnosine's antiaging actions in laboratory experiments, the next logical step was to start using it on humans, specifically for antiaging purposes. Carnosine supplements have been used in the past by body-builders, athletes and others, but its use has been confined mainly for improving muscular fatigue, and not for longevity.
Recently, eye drops containing carnosine have been developed and used by Russian researchers. (10) The drops were found to be effective in treating human corneal erosions and other corneal diseases. For example, carnosine drops accelerate the healing of ulcers in herpes and bacterial infections of the eye.
During a preliminary experiment designed specifically for antiaging (11), I used L-carnosine supplements (50 mg daily) on 20 healthy human volunteers, aged 40-75 years, for a period of 1-4 months. No side affects were reported. Five users noticed significant improvements in their facial appearance (firmer facial muscles), muscular stamina and general well-being. Five others reported possible benefits, for example better sleep patterns, improved clarity of thought and increased libido. The rest did not report any noticeable effects. This is not surprising because supplementation with carnosine is not expected to show any significant noticeable benefits in a short time, but it should be used as an insurance against deleterious effects of the aging process. If any benefits are noted, these should be considered as an added extra bonus. It is worthwhile persevering with the supplementation long term, even if you do not experience any obvious benefits, as you will still be well protected against aging.
Carnosine can be used together with vitamin E and/or Co-enzyme Q10 for full antioxidant protection, but even if it is used on its own it should still confer significant protection both against free radicals and against glycosylation.
Indeed, the carnosine preparation I used in my experiments contains also 30 IU of vitamin E as standard. Some people prefer to use 100 mg of carnosine a day (i.e. double the initial standard dose) and they find that there are still no side effects. Foodstuffs containing dietary carnosine are lean red meat and chicken.
Where do we go from here? Further experiments are in progress, aimed at examining more widely the effects of carnosine on human aging. Those who want to he at the forefront of innovative antiaging medicine should he taking carnosine now. It is expected that carnosine supplementation will become much more widespread during the next five years, making carnosine as popular as vitamin E is today.
Table I: Therapeutic uses for carnosine
Therapeutic Effects Time of Discovery
1. Treatment of polyarthritis 1935
2. Stomach and duodenal ulcers 1936
3. Wound healing 1940, 1978
4. Human essential hypertension 1941
5. Bactericidal, bacteriostatic effects 1969, 1971
6. Adrenal cortical function 1976
7. Suppression of passive sleep apnea 1977
8. Treatment of trauma 1980
9. Hyperbaric-induced convulsions 1989
10. Ischemic heart damage 1989
11. Anti-inflammatory agent 1971, 1986
12. Treatment of cataracts 1989
13. Anti-neoplastic agent 1989
14. Immunomodulation 1986, 1989
15. Radioprotective effects 1990
Carnosine for Vision
Carnosine-containing eye drops have demonstrated efficacy in treating a variety of ophthalmic conditions, including corneal diseases, cataracts, as well as glaucoma and increased intraocular pressure. In 1997, clinical trials were conducted on 109 ophthalmic patients with carnosine-containing eye drops. The results confirmed accelerated healing of corneal erosions, trophic keratitis, post-herpetic epitheliopathy, primary and secondary corneal dystrophy, and bullous keratopathy (Maichuk et. al., 1997). Most striking, however, was the ability of carnosine to eliminate existing cataracts (Yuneva, et. al., 1999). Carnosine actually restores the proteins in the lens by removing the carbonyl groups, as described earlier. Furthermore, carnosine is thought to function as a "molecular water pump" (Baslow, 1998). In earlier experiments it was demonstrated that applying carnosine to the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the eye) caused a decrease in normal intraocular pressure and reduced prostaglandin-induced ocular hypertension (related to glaucoma).
Enhanced Healing and Anti-Ulcer Effects of Carnosine
Carnosine also accelerates wound healing, modulates immune responses, and increases immunocompetence (Nagai and Suda, 1988). As far back as 1936, carnosine was found to be of help in the treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers. In a more recent study, oral carnosine significantly inhibited erosions in both the stomach and duodenum (Truitsina, et. al., 1997). Those with gastric and duodenal ulcers thus might benefit from supplementing with this amazing dipeptide.
Visible Anti-aging Benefits
In a recent article Dr Marios Kyriazis reported that his patients who take carnosine supplements often receive comments that they simply look younger. This may be a reflection of the phenomenon observed in 'in vitro' experiments which show that carnosine actually rejuvenates older cells in culture (McFarland and Holliday, 1994), and 'in vivo' animal experiments in which carnosine prevented the development of visible features of aging (Boldyrev, et. al., 1999). In that study, carnosine significantly delayed the appearance of skin ulcers, periopthalmic lesions, spinal lordokyphosis and behavioral responses such as activity and passive avoidance (all characteristic of aged animals). In another recent article, Russian scientists reported that not only did the carnosine-fed SAMP1 mice appear much more youthful than controls, but experienced a 20% increase in lifespan (Yuneva, et al, 1999).
Carnosine is generally considered an extremely non-toxic and safe substance. Boldyrev and other authors have reported that absorption of carnosine is excellent, perhaps greater than 70%. As with other antioxidants, carnosine acts synergistically when taken with other antioxidants. (For example, when vitamin E was taken with carnosine, levels of both substances were higher in cardiac muscle than when either was taken alone.)
Dr. Kyzarias, recommends 50–100 mg/day to his patients. He reports that noticeable benefits have been reported at this intake level. He also indicated that these levels were felt to be adequate by Alan Hipkiss, a top British and world researcher on carnosine at the University of London.