Is L-Carnosine the Anti-Aging Miracle Pill to Prevent Telomere Shortening?
L-Carnosine was recently touted on The Dr. Oz Show as a miracle anti-aging pill and has been linked to preventing telomere shortening. The latest research shows that telomere shortening is directly linked to heart attacks and premature death. Could L-Carnosine be the answer to anti-aging?
In a soon to be published article in the scientific journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology published by the American Heart Association, researchers involved in cellular aging have discovered the striking finding that telomere shortening is directly linked to heart attacks and premature death.
Telomeres are specialized repeating segments of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes. The primary function of telomeres is to protect the free ends of chromosomes from losing base pair sequences at their ends and to prevent chromosomes from fusing to each other.
During the natural life cycle of a cell, cell growth and aging involves a replication process called mitosis where a parent cell will double its amount of DNA and then split into two daughter cells, each with a normal amount of chromosomal DNA. During this process, telomeres protect the ends of the chromosomes from a gradual loss at their ends.
A telomere is a repeating DNA sequence (TTAGGG for example) at the ends of chromosomes that can reach a length of several thousand base pairs. While the telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes from eroding away, each time a cell divides some of the telomere DNA sequence (approximately 25-200 base pairs at a time) is lost. The result is that telomeres gradually wear away. At some point in a cell’s life after many cell divisions, a telomere becomes too short and the cell can no longer replicate. The cell is then considered to be relatively old and then dies by a process called apoptosis—a normal process in cell aging.
In the aforementioned study to be published by the American Heart Association, researchers from the University of Copenhagen conducted a large scale study involving almost 20,000 individuals during a time period of nearly 19 years. In the study, each individual’s DNA was isolated and analyzed to determine their specific telomere length. Their research was based on previous studies that showed that smoking and obesity cause telomeres to shorten prematurely. And, since smoking and obesity are associated with heart disease, they wanted to see if there was a connection between heart disease and telomere length.
What they found was that if a person’s telomere length is short, then their risk of heart attack and premature death was increased by 50 and 25 percent, respectively.