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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
Acetylcholine levels and RNA levels in the brain
intelligence (especially in children)
learning and memory
- Provide a
mild, safe tonic effect
the central nervous system
mood in general
behavioral problems and hyperactivity associated with Attention
motivation and reduce apathy in persons suffering from
- Over time
reduce the amount of sleep required by about 1 hour per night
dreams tremendously. (Even more so when you take it along with a
large dose of phosphatidyl choline -- a key component of
dreams to become more lucid
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.
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:
both the release and synthesis of acetylcholine, a key brain
the brain's levels of choline acetylase.
the release of dopamine and improve the binding of dopamine to
the neurons of the optic nerve and the occipital cortex of the
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:
improves alertness in Alzheimer’s patients.
- 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.
enhances the release of dopamine from dopaminergic neurons and
improves the binding of dopamine to dopamine Receptors.
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
- And ALC
And acetyl-L-carnitine may even play
a role in helping with MS.
inhibits (and possibly reverses) the degeneration of myelin
But most of all, ALC just helps slow
down the aging process of the brain.
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.
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
protects the NMDA receptors in the brain from age-related
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
- 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:
improves learning ability along with both short term and long
improves mood by 53%.
- It both
improves the quality of and reduces the need for sleep.
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.
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.