L-Carnosine may help prevent and even treat cataracts

July 20, 2009

A new study conducted on rat eye lenses indicates that the supplement L-Carnosine may help to prevent or even treat cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eye one of the leading causes of vision loss around the world that can only currently be treated by surgery to replace the eye lens).

Cataracts develop when the main structural protein in the lens, alpha-crystallin, forms abnormal clumps. The clumps make the lens cloudy and impair vision. Previous studies hinted that L-Carnosine may help block the formation of these clumps. Italian researchers extracted eye lenses from one-month old healthy rats. Rat lenses were organ cultured in a protein-free medium in a cell culture incubator. The researchers then prepared solutions of L-Carnosine and guanidine, which is a substance known to form cataracts. They exposed the tissue cultures to either guanidine or a combination of guanidine and L-Carnosine.

Lenses treated with guanidine became completely cloudy, while the guanidine/L-Carnosine lenses developed 50 to 60 % less cloudiness. L-Carnosine also restored most of the clarity to clouded lenses, they said, prompting them to suggest that L-Carnosine could hold potential for preventing and treating cataracts. The study will be published in the July 28 edition of the journal ACS Biochemistry.