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Carnosine, Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Author: Gary Null, Ph.D.
Excerpt from: Power Aging


The amino acid L-carnosine, also known as carnosine, is widely accepted as an antiaging antioxidant that stabilizes and protects cell membranes.

It is well known that diabetics age permaturely, but even nondiabetics suffer from a devastating chemical reaction called glycosylation, wherein protein molecules bind glucose molecules in the body to form nonfunctioning structures. If we want to age healthfully, our goals should include reduction of both blood glucose and insulin; we will thereby reduce glycoslated protein levels,

There is strong evidence that the proper dose of carnosine is the safest and most effective method of inhibiting glycosylation, which may help to prevent age-related conditions such as muscle atrophy, eye problems, and neurological degeneration.


A nutrient with a name similar to the last can provide help for the brain and heart, as well as in fighting cancer. This recently popular supplement is acetyl-L-carnitine. Elderly patients receiving acetyl-L-carnitine at doses of 1,000 to 2,000 mg a day for up to ninety days found relief from mild mental impairments such as slow memory. Acetyl-L-carnitine has also improved walking difficulties in the elderly. Numerous animal studies support the direct antiaging effects of this nutrient.

Acetyl-L-carnitine has proven helpful toward restoring short-term memory in Alzheimer’s disease, as we discussed in the previous chapter. This supplement is also effective against dementia in non-Alzheimer’s patients.

A common problem associated with aging is neurological damage. Adminstration of acetyl-L-carnitine at either 1 or 2 grams per day for seven days improves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Patients with some types of facial paralysis recieving doses of 3 grams a day of acetyl-L-carnitine, along with 50 mg of methylprednisolone for two weeks, experienced significant recovery of nerve function.

Alpha-lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is a vital antioxidant that boosts the power of other antioxidants, including glutathione and vitamin E. Many studies document the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid in treating diabetes. One study shows that diabetic neuropathy can improve after oral ingestion of alpha-lipoic acid at doses of either 50 or 100 mg twice a day.

Other studies suggest that alpha-lipoic acid may be helpful for stroke and cardiac patients. Prevention of cataracts, memory improvement, and help in cancer prevention are all possible, according to studies on this supplement. Patients with stages I and II open-angle glaucoma receiving doses of 150 mg per day of alpha-lipoic acid for month improved.

Alpha-lipoic acid is a sulfurous fatty acid that might be classified as a vitamin except that is synthesized within that human body. The effects of this nutrient include normalizing blood sugar levels, improving nerve blood flow, reducing oxidative stress, alleviating diabetic neuropathy, and protecting membranes. Alpha-lipoic acid is a free radical scavenger, inhibits the damaging effects of the crosslinking of proteins, and is used to treat liver ailments and to protect the liver from the toxic effects of many pharmaceutical drugs. Alpha-lipoic acid also increases intracellular glutathione levels that slow the biological aging process.