Won­der drug quest

Cheap sup­ple­ment could treat range of dis­eases

Herald Sun - - NEWS - HER­ALD­SUN.COM.AU BRIGID O’CON­NELL MON­DAY, SEPTEM­BER 18, 2017 brigid.ocon­nell@news.com.au

AN over-the-counter sup­ple­ment is be­ing tri­alled as a cheap and safe way to treat a wide range of com­mon age and life­style-re­lated dis­eases.

In­stead of us­ing med­i­ca­tion to im­prove a sin­gle risk fac­tor or dis­ease path­way, Monash Univer­sity re­searchers are tak­ing a dif­fer­ent tack to dis­ease preven­tion, test­ing whether carno­sine can tar­get the ac­tual mech­a­nisms that drive sev­eral chronic dis­eases.

More than 2000 stud­ies in an­i­mals and cells have shown its ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects in pre­vent­ing and treat­ing age-re­lated chronic dis­eases such as type 2 di­a­betes, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, de­men­tia and can­cer, and de­lay­ing age­ing.

Now Vic­to­ri­ans can take part in some of the first hu­man clin­i­cal tri­als of the sup­ple­ment. In 84 over­weight and obese adults, and 50 peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes or pre­di­a­betes, carno­sine’s ef­fects will be mea­sured on ev­ery­thing from body fat, blood pres­sure, blood glu­cose, sleep, de­pres­sion and cog­ni­tion.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Barbora de Courten, a Na­tional Heart Foun­da­tion Fu­ture Leader Fel­low, said the two tri­als were test­ing the hy­poth­e­sis that carno­sine could im­prove dis­ease mark­ers.

“Un­like a drug that usu­ally works on one path­way and im­proves only one risk fac­tor, carno­sine ac­tu­ally tar­gets the mech­a­nisms un­der­ly­ing many chronic dis­eases. That’s the fas­ci­nat­ing thing about carno­sine,” Prof de Courten said.

“It’s cheap, water sol­u­ble and easy to mix into foods. If it works, it will be easy to im­ple­ment at the pop­u­la­tion level.

“There have been stud­ies in autism, type 1 di­a­betes, heart fail­ure, Parkin­son’s dis­ease, so if it works well in sev­eral dif­fer­ent dis­eases, you could mix the pow­der into muesli bars or other food prod­ucts.”

Carno­sine nat­u­rally oc­curs in the mus­cles, heart and brain of hu­mans and an­i­mals, but not in large enough quan­ti­ties. The cap­sule is mar­keted as im­prov­ing ex­er­cise ca­pac­ity and hav­ing anti-age­ing prop­er­ties.

Prof de Courten, who pre­sented her trial plans at a carno­sine con­fer­ence in the US last week, said it had al­ready shown ben­e­fits in ex­er­cise and there was pre­lim­i­nary ev­i­dence of ben­e­fit in types 1 and 2 di­a­betes and heart fail­ure. Her pre­vi­ous work has shown carno­sine could im­prove in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity and se­cre­tion, key risk fac­tors for type 2 di­a­betes.

Par­tic­i­pants are needed for both clin­i­cal tri­als. If you are in­ter­ested, send an email to med-carnosineir@monash.edu.

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