N-Acetyl-Carnosine Eyedrops and Cataract Management

researcher on cataracts and carnosine

N-Acetyl-Carnosine eyedrops have been shown to stabilize, protect against, and even improve cataracts. Carnosine, found in muscle and brain tissue, is a dipeptide composed of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. Researchers have studied carnosine in its various forms for decades. Its positive effects on cataracts are being revealed by numerous studies.

Carnosine’s Many Effects

You may have heard of carnosine’s ability to prevent the formation of advanced glycated end products. Glycation is protein crosslinking that appears to cause premature ageing. Carnosine competes with proteins for the binding sites they would occupy on sugar molecules.1 This makes carnosine the best glycation preventative currently recognized in the world of nutrition research.

Carnosine has been found to significantly extend the life span of cultured cells and fruit flies. It inhibits the toxic effects of the protein that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. And it also protects against the toxic effects of copper and zinc in the brain. Carnosine enhances the state of balance–called “homeostasis”–under which physiological systems work best. And, finally, it has been shown to prevent and/or reverse cataract.2 3

N-Acetyl-Carnosine Eye Drops

N-acetyl-L-carnosine is, functionally, a time-release form of carnosine. When n-acetyl-L-carnosine is administered topically to the eye, this dipeptide can move easily into both the water-soluble (aqueous) and lipid-containing (fatty) parts of the eye. Once there, it helps to prevent DNA strand breaks induced by ultraviolet radiation and enhances DNA repair. Once it has entered the lipid areas of the eye, N-acetyl-L-carnosine partially breaks down and becomes L-carnosine. Note: Do not instill substance into your eyes without approval from your eye doctor.

Carnosine and Cataracts Research

Chinese and Russian researchers have studied cataract-preventive nutrients for nearly a decade. A Chinese study done by A.M. Wang in 19994 involved 96 patients aged 60 years or older having age-related cataracts of various degrees of maturity. The duration of the disease from 2 to 21 years. Patients instilled one to two drops of the carnosine-containing solution in each eye three to four times each day for a period of treatment ranging from three to six months. The researchers measured eyesight improvement and changes in lens transparency. The result showed that carnosine had a pronounced effect on cataracts: the effective rate was 100%. For mature cataracts, the effect rate was 80%.

Italian researchers tested d-carnosine and l-carnosine on tissue cultures from bovines.5 They treated the primary protein that forms lens structure with guanidine. Guanidine causes cataracts by forming fibrils. Then, they treated the cultures with d-carnosine or l-carnosine. This inhibited fibril formation. Additionally, using carnosine on existing fibrils dissolved them almost completely. Therefore, the implication is that carnosine could both prevent and halt the formation of cataracts.

A 2014 Russian study6 combined equal amounts of N-acetylcarnosine and D-pantethine. N-acetylcarnosine has been shown to impact lens clarity. D-pantethine is vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in a two-molecule form. Animals were given a 5% dilution of the substances, either in the eyes or in the body. The researchers exposed animals to ultra-violet type A light, which normally induces cataracts. This study used gel permeation chromatography to measure the proteins that cause cataracts. Both treatments protected the animals from developing cataracts.

  1. H. Abdelkader, M. Longman, et al. Published: On the Anticataractogenic Effects of L-Carnosine: Is It Best Described as an Antioxidant, Metal-Chelating Agent or Glycation Inhibitor?, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, August, 2016.
  2. 14,1514. Quinn PJ, et al. Carnosine: its properties, functions and potential therapeutic applications.
  3. Mol Aspects Med 1992; 13(5):379-444. 15. Specht S, et al. Continuing damage to rat retinal DNA during darkness following light exposure. Photochem Photobiol 2000; 71(5):559-66.
  4. Wang AM, et al. Use of carnosine as a natural anti-senescence drug for human beings. Department of Biochemistry and Department of Neurobiology, Harbin Medical University, China 1999.
  5. Protective effects of L- and D-carnosine on alpha-crystallin amyloid fibril formation: implications for cataract disease, Biochemistry, July 14, 2009. Researchers: F. Attanasio, S. Cataldo, S. Fisichella, S. Nicoletti, V.G. Nicoletti, B. Pignataro, A. Savarino, E. Rizzarelli, University of Catania.
  6. (In Russian) Deceleration of cataract development in rats under the action of N-acetylcarnosine and D-pantethine mixture, Eksperimental’naia i klinicheskaia farmakologija, Vol. 77, 2014