What you will learn...
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, accounting for about 42 percent of all cases of blindness worldwide.
About 20 percent of all people over 60 have at least the beginning of a cataract in one or both eyes, and that figure rises to 80 percent for people over 75, as twenty-eight thousand new cases are reported every day.
Carnosine’s best-known effect, however, is its ability to prevent the formation of advanced glycated protein crosslinks.
This is because carnosine competes with proteins for the binding sites they would occupy on sugar molecules. This makes it the best glycation preventative currently recognized in the world of nutrition research.
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Carnosine has been found to significantly extend the lifespan of cultured cells and fruit flies, and inhibit the toxic effects of the protein that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
It has also been found to protect against the toxic effects of copper-zinc in the brain and enhance the state of balance (homeostasis) under which physiological systems work best.
Astoundingly, it has been shown to prevent and/or reverse cataract.
N-acetyl-carnosine (NAC) is commonly used in eye drops for the improvement of vision health and preventing or treating cataracts.
N-acetyl-carnosine is a naturally occurring form of carnosine, which is a dipeptide molecule formed by a union between two amino acids: beta-alanine and l-histidine.
The only difference in structure between carnosine and N-acetyl-carnosine is that the later contains one additional acetyl group (CH3CO).
While carnosine is rapidly degraded in humans by an enzyme called carnosinase, N-acetyl-carnosine is resistant to the effects of carnosinase.
If N-acetyl-carnosine is DE acetylated by losing its acetyl group, then it becomes carnosine.
Carnosine for Vision
Carnosine, as mentioned earlier, is a dipeptide consisting of two amino acids (alanine and histidine) connected to each other by a chemical bond (peptide bond).
It is one of the most exciting anti-aging nutrients that has recently become widely available and based on research performed mainly by Russian scientists, it is believed that carnosine is effective both in preventing and treating cataracts.
The ability of carnosine to prevent and treat cataracts is believed to be due to its antioxidant properties, combined with its ability to inhibit a chemical process called glycation.
Glycation leads to toxic substances called advanced glycation end products, (AGEs).
AGEs are chemical complexes that result from common but undesirable reactions between blood sugars, such as glucose, and proteins in many parts of our bodies, as well as the lenses of our eyes.
The sugar-protein complexes become chemically cross-linked and degrade cellular functions.
Carnosine-containing eye drops have demonstrated efficacy in treating a variety of eye conditions, including corneal diseases, cataracts, glaucoma, and increased intraocular pressure.
In 1997, clinical trials with carnosine-containing eye drops were conducted on many ophthalmic patients, and the results confirmed accelerated healing of corneal erosions, trophic keratitis, post-herpetic epitheliopathy, primary and secondary corneal dystrophy, and bullous keratopathy.
Astounding among all, however, was the ability of carnosine to eliminate existing cataracts.
N-acetyl-carnosine Eye Drops
N-acetyl-carnosine is effective for improving various eye and vision disorders and is primarily used in 1% concentrated solutions to reverse the formation of senile cataracts, having the ability to prevent cataracts from developing in the first place.
This may occur by N-acetyl-carnosine slowing down lipid peroxidation in eye lenses.
In one randomized human trial, administration of 1% NAC eye drops improved lens transparency in cataract patients.
2 drops twice each day in affected eyes improved warning signs significantly within 4 months.
Substantial improvements were noted in eyes treated with N-acetyl-carnosine eye drops, and within 6 months of treatment, the following was achieved:
- Between 7 – 100% improvements in visual sharpness (acuity) in 90% of test subjects
- Between 12 – 50% increase in transmissivity to light in 42% of test subjects.
- Between 27 – 100% decreased glare sensitivity in 89% of treated eyes.
These improvements were maintained successfully with the same dosage rate for additional 1 year and six months.
It was noted that patients who did not receive treatment experienced worsened vision and cataract development, as visual acuity decreased in the placebo controls by 89% within 2 years.
N-Acetyl-Carnosine Side Effects
There is insufficient evidence of adverse effects of carnosine and NAC to rate its safety, and no adverse effects are currently associated with using these compounds appropriately.
However, carnosine is believed to lower blood pressure, so use cautiously with antihypertensive medications or herbal supplements.
Do not supplement your diet with carnosine or N-acetyl-carnosine if you are pregnant or nursing.
Also, if you are considering using a beta-alanine, carnosine or NAC supplement, then it is best to speak to your doctor about it first.
In fact, it is best to speak to your doctor before starting up any supplementation of any kind.