Amazing Anti-Aging Protein Turns Back Time

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Recently, some anti-aging researchers have argued for more people to start taking rapamycin, a drug that has been used to prevent organ transplant rejection, to slow the aging process.

Rapamycin can reduce inflammation, lower the risk of some cancers and fight against viral infections.

However, even though animal tests show that rapamycin can increase longevity, it comes with a concerning list of possible side effects – including immune system disfunction, digestive issues, anemia and swollen hands and feet.

But you have another choice. A remarkable protein that conveys some of the exact same anti-aging benefits as rapamycin, but without the side effects.

This protein is called carnosine. It's in poultry and some meats. Your body also makes it. Every time you eat chicken, you consume a bit of carnosine. The amounts, researchers say, depend on the type of chicken you eat and the age of the fowl (younger chickens have more).1 However, the breed of chicken that is the champ at containing carnosine is a special Asian bird that's been prized in Chinese medicine for at least a thousand years -- the black bone silky fowl.

Traditional Chinese medicine’s anti-aging secret

According to Ying-gang Tian, PhD, who has studied this bird's role in traditional Chinese medicine, "As a kind of folk invigorant and a source of traditional Chinese medicine, it [the chicken] is used to reinforce body immunity and protect from emaciation and feebleness."

Research by Dr. Tian and his colleagues in China shows that the meat of the black bone silky fowl has about twice as much carnosine as U.S. chickens.2 One benefit you can get from consuming carnosine-rich meat (or a carnosine supplement) may be extra protection for your telomeres – the tiny structures at the end of your DNA that suffer increasing deterioration as you age. When telomeres shorten because of repeptitive damage, the lifespan of individual cells may also shorten as DNA breaks down and cells are no longer able to reproduce. But lab studies show that carnosine may extend cellular life by fending off oxidative stress that causes telomeres to fragment.3

Improves blood flow

Another important way that carnosine can support better health is by potentially lowering the risk of hardening of the arteries – the calcification of blood vessels that leads to arteriosclerosis and heart problems.

According to researchers in Asia, it can keep those arteries functioning more efficiently by increasing signals sent out by cells that prevent calcium from collecting in the smooth muscle cells that line the blood vessels. They point out that this influence on cellular signals is parallel to one of the benefits that rapamycin can provide.4

Pushing back against aging

Carnosine can also fight the destructive effects of aging by limiting the creation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) – harmful compounds that can form in the bloodstream when fats and proteins link up.

The body accumulates increasing amounts of AGEs as you grow older, especially if you have high blood sugar (which allows more proteins to join up with the sugar in the blood). Along with being associated with faster aging, having too many AGEs is connected to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney failure and heart disease.5 But carnosine can stop this by acting as a potent antioxidant and limiting the glycation process – the activity that allows sugars to molecularly connect to proteins.6

Reduces wrinkles

Another benefit: Some research shows that carnosine may be able to reduce wrinkles. Lab tests demonstrate that carnosine influences cell signaling in skin that stimulates immune cells to eliminate senescent cells – dead cells that reduce skin firmness.7

Increasing your carnosine levels naturally

If you decide to take carnosine supplements, dosage recommendations vary widely from 50mg to 1,000mg. However, a study in Europe that tested carnosine on people with multiple sclerosis found that taking 2,000 milligrams a day for two months reduced their symptoms of the disease and improved their brain function.8 And another European investigation found that four months of taking a supplement containing 100mg of carnosine combined with 228mg of cinnamon and 1.25mg of chromium guanylate lowered blood sugar and increased muscle tissue in people who were overweight and obese.

On the other hand, researchers in Asia point out that consuming about 2.5 cups of chicken broth provides more than a 1,000mg of carnosine. And their tests show that chicken broth can help athletes run faster and ride bikes more quickly. Plus, other studies show that chicken broth – possibly because of its carnosine and other compounds – may help improve your immunity.10 That’s a reason I’m a fan of home-made, organic chicken broth. It may be good for your pet too. One of our writers, who is a fan of home-made chicken broth, reports that feeding it to his senior citizen dog along with her regular dog food seems to keep her healthier too. Just give your dog broth that doesn’t have salt, spices, garlic, onions, or other additives in the broth.
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