Carnosine combats cataracts

In the July 28, 2009 issue of the journal Biochemistry, Italian researchers report that the dipeptide carnosine shows promise not only in preventing cataracts but also in helping to treat the condition. Cataracts, which are characterized by a clouding of the eye’s lens, are a major cause of visual impairment among older men and women, and surgery is currently the only effective treatment.

Enrico Rizzarelli of the University of Catania and his colleagues tested the effects of D- and L-carnosine on bovine cultured alpha-crystallin, the major structural protein in the lens of the eye. The cultures were treated with guanidine, a compound that is known to cause cataracts via the formation of alpha-crystallin fibrils. Co-incubation of the cultures with carnosine helped inhibit fibrillation, and the addition of carnosine to pre-existing fibrils was found to almost completely dissolve them.

UPDATE

Researchers have replicated earlier studies demonstrating that eyedrops which include 1% n-acetyl-carnosine are helpful for supporting lens health, a factor in cataracts. Research also indicates these eyedrops may also be helpful for the health of the macula, retina, and optic nerve.

Published: Dr. Babizhayev, et al, N-Acetylcarnosine Lubricant Eyedrops Possess All-In-One Universal Antioxidant Protective Effects of L-Carnosine in Aqueous and Lipid Membrane Environments, Aldehyde Scavenging, and Transglycation Activities Inherent to Cataracts: A Clinical Study, American Journal of Therapeutics;16(6):517-533).

Editor’s Note: For information on Can-C eyedrops (1% n-acetyl-carnosine eyedrops), go to Can-C eyedrops