Carnosine Protects Brain from Iron-Induced Damage
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards,
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In my recent posting, Can Blueberries Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, I point out the problem of excess iron damaging the brain and body and leading to degenerative disease. In addition to iron-chelators like blueberries and green tea, the nutrient carnosine is capable of deactivating the free radical damage that otherwise causes DNA damage, cell death, and cell mutation.
Iron is of course vital to health and is required for optimal protein synthesis that supports healthy aging. However, iron is a potentially reactive compound and must be kept in a cage called ferritin until it is needed. During aging the ferritin cage may weaken due to progressive inflammatory wear and tear, allowing iron to escape. That sets off a chain reaction of iron interacting with hydrogen peroxide to produce one of the most damaging types of free radicals called the hydroxyl radical. The hydroxyl radical then speeds up damage to DNA, accelerating aging and setting the stage for disease.
New research demonstrates that carnosine1 could stop this damaging chain of events from taking place. The researchers concluded that “Carnosine and related compounds might have antioxidant effects on DNA under pathophysiological conditions leading to degenerative damage such as neurodegenerative disorders term used for progressive loss of structure or function of neurons. Disorders include Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's Diseases..” In other words, carnosine may be able to stop a common problematic pathway leading to nerve deterioration and eventual disease. Other studies have shown carnosine to be a potent nerve antioxidant and anti-aging compound.
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