N-Acetyl-Carnosine Eyedrops and Cataract Management

My posting of May 28, 2008 referenced N-Acetyl-Carnosine, which can stabilize and even improve cataracts.

Carnosine’s best-known effect, however, is its ability to prevent the formation of advanced glycated end products (protein crosslinks). Carnosine competes with proteins for the binding sites they would occupy on sugar molecules, making it 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, inhibit the toxic effects of the protein that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, protect against the toxic effects of copper- zinc in the brain and enhance the state of balance (homeostasis) under which physiological systems work best. And, finally, it has been shown to prevent and/or reverse cataract.14,1514. Quinn PJ, et al. Carnosine: its properties, functions and potential therapeutic applications. 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.

When administered topically to the eye in the form of N-acetyl-L-carnosine-(functionally, a time-release form of carnosine), this dipeptide can move easily into both the water-soluble (aqueous) and lipid-containing parts of the eye. Once there, it helps to prevent DNA strand breaks induced by UV radiation and enhances DNA repair.16 Once it has entered the lipid areas of the eye, N-acetyl-L-carnosine partially breaks down and becomes L-carnosine.

Chinese and Russian researchers have studied cataract-preventive nutrients for nearly a decade. A Chinese study done by A.M. Wang in 1999, used 96 patients aged 60 years or older having senile cataracts of various degrees of maturity with 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 level of eyesight improvement and the change of lens transparency were considered as an evaluation index of the curative effect of carnosine. The result showed that carnosine gives a pronounced effect on primary senile cataracts, the effective rate being 100%. For mature senile cataracts, the effect rate was 80%.

Ref: 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.