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CARNOSINE and its use as an anti-ageing supplement

Extract from report of S.Gallant, M.Semyonova, and M.Yuneva
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The naturally occurring dipeptide carnosine (ß-alanyl-L-histidine) has been found to exert an anti-senescence effect when used as a dietary supplement. Carnosine clearly improved the external appearance of experimental animals and provided beneficial physiological effects, thus maintaining the animals in better condition than control animals receiving no carnosine or a mixture of ß-alanine and L-histidine.

Many diverse properties of the dipeptide carnosine, which are more completely described elsewhere in the full report, stimulated the idea that carnosine may have some useful therapeutic value, particularly with regard to old age. We were greatly inspired by the pioneering work of McFarland and Holliday, where it was shown and later confirmed that the endogenous dipeptide carnosine (ß-alanyl-L-histidine) was able not only to rejuvenate animal cells in cultures, but also influence the formation of long-lived clones, affecting earlier events during serial subculture. The work of Kantha et al. who had also shown an anti-senescence effect of carnosine in vitro encouraged us to test it on small mammals in order to obtain some in vivo data. The Senescence Accelerated Mice line (hereafter SAM) was chosen for our initial experiments because of the short lifespan of the animals and the already large amount of literature that exists about this line. In SAM animals, an over-production of free radicals occurring in their tissues may cause the accelerated senescence. The full details of our experiments are described elsewhere [full report 9, 10]. These experiments revealed that carnosine at a daily dose of 100 mg/kg of body weight was able to extend the mean lifespan of the mice by 20% but had no effect on the maximum lifespan. The polypotent effects of carnosine which are described throughout this journal and the wider literature make it an ideal candidate as a so-called geroprotector, an agent which may delay or prevent some conditions intrinsic with old age.
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