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Treating and Preventing Alzheimer's
By Jon Barron
 

Carnosine has been proven to reduce or completely prevent cell damage caused by beta amyloid, one of the prime protein risk factors for Alzheimer’s. The presence of beta amyloid leads to damage of the nerves and arteries of the brain. Carnosine blocks and inactivates beta amyloid. In effect, it protects neural tissues against dementia.  The key is that carnosine not only prevents damaging cross-links from forming in proteins, it eliminates cross-links that have previously formed in those proteins, thus restoring normal membrane function in cells. This is true not only in the brain, but in all the organs of our body – our skin included. Keep in mind that the damage you see in the skin is not just a cosmetic question.  

The Reversal of Age

Carnosine levels in our body directly correlate with both the length and quality of our lives. And since carnosine levels decline with age, supplementation with carnosine represents one of the most powerful things you can do to hold back the ravages of old age.

Results

While it is true that many people who supplement with carnosine are going to notice everything from younger looking skin to more energy, the bottom line is that you really shouldn’t look for any short term benefits from carnosine supplementation. If any short-term benefits are noticed, you should consider them an added bonus.

The reason you want to supplement with carnosine is for the long term, not for the short-term benefits that you may or may not notice. You supplement with carnosine to protect against the long-term ravages of aging.

Using Carnosine

Some experts recommend using only 50-100 mg of carnosine a day. Others say that if you don’t take 1,000-1,500 mg a day it won’t work because your body metabolizes the first 500 mg or so.

The key here is that all of these experts are ignoring the simple fact, that different people need different amounts. For example:

  • The older you get, the more you need.
  • If you eat a mostly vegetarian diet, you need more.
  • If you’re diabetic, or just have trouble with blood sugar, you need more.

I think most people will do best on 500-750 mg a day.

If you’re young and healthy and include meat in your diet, then 250 mg a day makes sense. As you get older, and if you’re starting to show signs of aging or glycation (such as cataracts), then you’d want to think of increasing the dosage up to 1,000 mg a day – maybe even as high as 1,500 mg a day.

Safety

In studies, carnosine has been proven safe in amounts as high as 70, 80, or even 100 grams a day, although a small number of people have noticed some minor muscle twitching at doses as small as 1,000 mg. The bottom line is use what you need, and you won’t have any problems – only benefits.

Importance

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t believe in magic bullets. Everything I’ve ever learned says that you’re only as strong as your weakest link. I still believe that improving your entire Baseline of Health is the key to good health and long life.

But that said, I think that once you actually understand what carnosine does – once you understand the role it plays in preventing and potentially reversing all of the signs of old age in the body (and we’re talking about everything from wrinkled skin to cataracts to Alzheimer's) – heck, once you understand the role it plays in extending life itself – then you’re left with the unmistakable conclusion that supplementing with carnosine may represent one of the single best things you can do to help "turn back your biological clock."

A Missing Link

As important as carnosine is, there is a "gap" in its usefulness. It's called lipofuscin.

Lipofuscin is the age pigment commonly found in aging brains and in other tissue such as the skin. By itself, it is not dangerous. It is merely a byproduct of harmful reactions that have already taken place. For example, one of the byproducts of free radical damage and protein/aldehyde damage (both conditions that carnosine addresses) is lipofuscin.

When you supplement with carnosine, however, something different happens. The carnosine quickly binds with the aldehydes, preventing them from damaging the proteins. The byproduct of this reaction is lipofuscin. So once again you have inactive lipofuscin compounds, but this time as the result of PREVENTING protein damage. In a sense, with carnosine you trade protein damage for lipofuscin.

As I said before, by itself, lipofuscin is not harmful. However, if enough of it accumulates over time (and this process is accelerated when you supplement with carnosine), it can interfere with proper cellular and organ functions. So the bottom line is that however it is produced (as a result of protein damage, or as the result of taking sacrificial carnosine to prevent protein damage), you want to get rid of it.

DMAE

By any definition, DMAE is the perfect companion to carnosine in an anti-aging formulation. First, it reinforces carnosine’s own anti-aging properties. Then, it provides a whole series of complementary benefits of its own.

What Is DMAE?

DMAE is short for (dimethylaminoethanol), a naturally-occurring nutrient that enhances acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis. Adequate levels of ACh are important for proper memory function. Normally found in small amounts in our brains, DMAE has been shown to remarkably enhance brain function when used as a supplement in clinical studies.

It Reinforces Carnosine

One of the prime actions of DMAE is that it flushes accumulated lipofuscin from your body – from the neurons in your brain, from your skin, and from all other organs. It also complements carnosine in that DMAE on its own has been shown to inhibit and reverse the Cross-Linking of proteins and extend lifespan.

In Addition

Many people have heard of the anti-aging results that Romanian scientist, Ana Aslin, achieved using something called GH3, or procaine. What most people do not know is that GH3 breaks down in the body to form DMAE (after first metabolizing into DEAE) and PABA. In other words, DMAE is the key active component in Ana Aslin’s anti-aging formula.

Numerous scientific studies now show that DMAE can help:

  • Increase Acetylcholine levels and RNA levels in the brain
  • Stimulate mental activity
  • Increase attention span
  • Increase alertness
  • Increase intelligence (especially in children)
  • Improve learning and memory
  • Increase energy levels
  • Provide a mild, safe tonic effect
  • Stimulate the central nervous system
  • Relieve anxiety
  • Elevate mood in general
  • Alleviate behavioral problems and hyperactivity associated with Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Increase motivation and reduce apathy in persons suffering from depression
  • Induce sounder sleep
  • Over time reduce the amount of sleep required by about 1 hour per night
  • Intensify dreams tremendously. (Even more so when you take it along with a large dose of phosphatidyl choline -- a key component of lecithin)
  • Cause dreams to become more lucid
  • Increase willpower
  • Decrease the incidence and severity of hangovers in people who consume excessive amounts of Alcohol

And It’s Safe

Clinical studies of DMAE have used up to 1,600 mg per day with no reports of side effects. In some cases, some people may experience slight headaches, muscle tension, or insomnia if they take too much too soon.

These effects are easily eliminated if intake is reduced and then gradually increased. Although there is no direct connection, many manufacturers recommend that women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, anyone who suffers from convulsions, epilepsy, or seizure disorders, and people with manic-depressive illness should avoid using DMAE.

This is probably more of a legal issue than a medical issue.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Like DMAE, acetyl-L-carnitine is a perfect complement to L-carnosine.

Although your body can synthesize L-carnitine in the liver, it depends on outside sources (meat being a primary source) to fulfill its requirements. This can present a problem for vegetarians since L-carnitine performs several key functions in the human body. For one, it can improve the functioning of the immune system by enhancing the ability of macrophages to function as phagocytes. And it can improve the functioning of muscle tissue. In fact, it has been shown to increase running speed when given prior to exercise. It also plays a major factor in cellular energy production by shuttling fatty acids from the main cell body into the mitochondria (the cell’s energy factories) so that the fats can be oxidized for energy. Without carnitine, fatty acids cannot easily enter the mitochondria.

There is, however, a specialized form of L-carnitine known as acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) that is often deficient even in meat eaters and that performs virtually all of the same functions – but better. For example, in terms of cellular energy production, in addition to shuttling fatty acids into cell mitochondria, ALC provides acetyl groups from which Acetyl-Coenzyme A (a key metabolic intermediate) can be regenerated, thereby facilitating the transport of metabolic energy and boosting mitochondrial activity. But beyond that, the addition of the acetyl group makes ALC water soluble, which enables it not only to diffuse easily across the inner wall of the mitochondria but also to cross all cell membranes more easily. In other words, ALC reaches parts of the body where L-carnitine cannot go. In particular, ALC readily crosses the blood/brain barrier, where it provides a number of specialized neurological functions. For example, it can:

  • Facilitate both the release and synthesis of acetylcholine, a key brain biochemical.
  • Increase the brain's levels of choline acetylase.
  • Enhance the release of dopamine and improve the binding of dopamine to dopamine receptors.
  • Protect the neurons of the optic nerve and the occipital cortex of the brain.

In addition, studies have shown that acetyl-L-carnitine can inhibit the deterioration in mental function associated with Alzheimer’s disease and slow its progression. Part of this is a result of its ability to shield neurons from the toxicity of beta amyloid protein. As a result:

  • ALC improves alertness in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Improves attention span.
  • And it increases short term memory.

Through its action on dopamine (a chemical messenger used between nerve cells) and dopamine receptors, ALC seems to play a major role in preventing and/or minimizing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

  • ALC enhances the release of dopamine from dopaminergic neurons and improves the binding of dopamine to dopamine Receptors.
  • ALC retards the decline in the number of dopamine receptors that occurs as part of the normal aging process and (more rapidly) with the onset of Parkinson's disease. In fact, many researchers believe that Parkinson's may be caused by a deficiency of dopamine.
  • And ALC inhibits tremors.

And acetyl-L-carnitine may even play a role in helping with MS.

  • ALC inhibits (and possibly reverses) the degeneration of myelin sheaths

But most of all, ALC just helps slow down the aging process of the brain.

  • ALC retards the inevitable decline in the number of glucocorticoid receptors that occurs with aging.
  • It retards the age-related deterioration of the hippocampus.
  • It retards the inevitable decline in the number of nerve growth factor receptors that occurs as we age.
  • It stimulates and maintains the growth of new neurons within the brain (both independently of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and as a result of preserving NGF) and helps to prevent the death of existing neurons.
  • ALC protects the NMDA receptors in the brain from age-related decline.
  • ALC inhibits the excessive release of adrenalin in response to stress and inhibits the depletion of luteinising hormone releasing hormone and testosterone that occurs as a result of excessive stress.
  • And ALC enhances the function of cytochrome oxidase, an essential enzyme of the Electron Transport System.

The mind boosting effect of acetyl-L-carnitine is often noticed within a few hours -- or even within an hour -- of supplementing. Most people report feeling mentally sharper, having more focus, and being more alert. Some find a mild mood enhancement. More specifically:

  • ALC improves learning ability along with both short term and long term memory
  • It improves mood by 53%.
  • It both improves the quality of and reduces the need for sleep.
  • It improves verbal fluency.
  • And ALC improves hand eye coordination by some 300-400%.

And yes, acetyl-L-carnitine helps flush lipofuscin from the body -- especially from the brain.

Bottom Line

Based on everything we know, supplementing with a combination of L-carnosine, DMAE, and Acetyl-L-carnitine is one of the simplest, most effective, and safest steps we can take to help turn back the clock and optimize our health.

 

 

 

  

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