Vitamin D and carnosine protect against mental decline

Older women with good vitamin D levels were more likely to be mentally healthy, and carnosine can restore healthy cell function and may protect against mental decline, two new studies reveal.

In a brain function study, researchers gave a mental-state test to 750 women, aged at least 75, 20 percent of whom were deficient in vitamin D. The doctors explained that the women were similar; all were relatively healthy, had high body mass index scores (tending toward overweight), regularly exercised and, other than vitamin D deficiency, had no other significant differences. The scientists found that women with better vitamin D levels were much less likely to be mentally impaired than women who were deficient in vitamin D.

Doctors in a carnosine study explained a new theory that with age, proteins, DNA, and other molecules bond with sugars to form inappropriate attachments, or cross-links. The sugar cross-link process, called glycation, damages cells and leads to premature aging and disease, scientists believe. Recently, researchers have found glycation promotes beta-amyloid, the protein clumps that form in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease.

Carnosine, which is abundant in the brain, skeletal and heart muscles, can keep cross-links from forming and can eliminate old cross-links, restoring normal cell membrane function, doctors said. The researchers reviewed studies of carnosine and brain activity and concluded that carnosine can improve microcirculation and rejuvenate cells in a lab culture.

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