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* Naturally occurring combination of two amino acids (alanine and histidine). Sometimes referred to as L-Carnosine. See Truth In Aging's Carnosine article.
Works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It functions as an anti-oxidant by neutralizing and disarming the free radicals responsible for attacking our DNA cells. It helps to chelate ionic metals (flush toxins from the body), it has immune boosting properties, and has been shown to reduce and prevent cell damage caused by beta amyloid (the substance found in the brain of Alzheimer patients). Most interestingly, many claim it can extend the Hayflick Limit (skin cells can only reproduce themselves around 52 times until they "die." Carnosine extends their ability to reproduce to just over 60 times, making it a real anti-ager).
Recent studies suggest this ingredient may also act as a natural anti-glycation molecule. Glycation- essentially when sugar molecules attack the body's essential proteins- has been long regarded as a major cause of aging. We know that glucose based cross-linking degrades proteins and creates Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs), which are, in turn, responsible for leading to many age-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, blindness/deafness and Alzheimers. With regards to the skin, glycation is believed to be the main culprit behind deep wrinkling, the thinning of skin and the mottled appearance of age spots.
Very little is known on how to inhibit glycation in the body; however, recent research suggesting carnosine as a potential anti-glycation agent seems promising. Test tube experiments have shown the dipeptide to effectively protect proteins from cross-linking, to protect cells from AGEs and to rejuvenate aging skin tissue. What makes it stand apart from other antioxidants is its potential ability to fight against, not just oxidative damage done by free radicals, but also damage done by sugar-related glycation. However, most studies testing carnosine's are in its preliminary stages, and more research is warranted to prove the ingredient's full effects.
Carnosine can be taken as an oral supplement, or topically applied in the form of a lotion/cream. may cosmetic manufacturers have already begun to incorporate this ingredient into products like facial moisturizer, sunscreen, anti-itch ointment, anti-aging treatment, body firming lotion, lip gloss and cleanser.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
This ingredient has not been evaluated by the FDA. Many European cosmetic companies, such as Ethos, have been banned from using this ingredient due to the fact that is classified as a "drug."
Apart from the potential risk of muscle spasms from taking an overload of carnosine supplements, this ingredient has not been associated with any adverse effects thus far. Because the body naturally contains it and humans have forever consumed foods containing this ingredient, it is generally regarded as safe. However, it's worth mentioning that the body contains a group of enzymes, carnosinases, specifically designed to break down carnosine. The reason for the presence of these enzymes is not known, but there's a possibility that they help protect against some unknown side effect of carnosine.
Recommended Products w/ carnosine:
Circadia Myo-Cyte Rx Serum, Osmotics Anti-Radical Age Defense ($111 in the TIA shop)
For more, see Truth In Aging's article "Products That Contain Carnosine"