Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Carnosine extends lifespan in animal study

Sports supplements are becoming more and more healthy. We already knew that creatine and BCAAs help extend lifespan, but according to a recent study done at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, carnosine [structural formula shown below] also delays the ageing process. And if you take beta-alanine, you increase the amount of carnosine in your muscle cells.


The upper compound shown here is the amino acid beta-alanine. This is one of the raw materials that goes into the second compound, carnosine. If you take a couple of grams of beta-alanine every day, then the concentration of carnosine in your muscle cells will increase. Because carnosine neutralises hydrogen ions in active muscle cells, a beta-alanine supplement helps you to train more intensively.

Interval training becomes more effective if you take beta-alanine. And if you give beta-alanine to endurance athletes it improves their final sprint. If you give it to strength athletes who also take creatine, it will enhance the effect of the creatine. [Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Aug;16(4):430-46.] If you give beta-alanine to elderly people, their muscles tire less quickly.

The researchers have been studying the life-extending properties of carnosine since the nineties. In 1999 they announced that carnosine supplements extended the lifespan of fast-ageing mice [J Anti-Aging Med 1999;2:337342.], and in 2002 they published the results of a study in which fruit flies that had been given carnosine in their food lived longer. [Bull Exp Biol Med 2002;133:559661.]

Fruit flies were also used in the study referred to here. Male and female fruit flies were given food that had carnosine mixed in with it, plus two tweaked versions: molecules consisting of a carnosine part and a vitamin E part. The researchers used S,S-trolox-carnosine [STC] [structural formula shown above] and R,S-trolox-carnosine [RTC].

Carnosine extended the lifespan of the male fruit flies by 20 percent, but had no effect on the life expectancy of the female fruit flies. STC extended the lifespan of both the females [by 36 percents] and the males [by 16 percent]. RTC had no effect.

Carnosine extends lifespan in animal study

The researchers think that carnosine works via an anti-oxidant mechanism, but then a mechanism that only works for male organisms.

The researchers are most interested in the new component STC. "These findings warrant further studies of the biological effects of STC, with the purpose of assessing a possibility of its application in gerontology", they conclude. Their work was funded by the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Investigations.

Rejuvenation Res. 2010 Aug; 13(4): 453-7.

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