Thursday, April 2, 2009

Study Shows Creatine Supplementation May Prevent Aging and Degeneration is proud to bring to you Kosher Creatine.
The dietary supplement, creatine, has risen to prominence in recent decades largely because of its effectiveness in helping to increase muscular size and strength. But, while creatine is still widely though of as a mere “sports supplement,” this remarkable substance is slowly beginning to gain the respect it deserves as a remarkable anti–aging nutrient as well.

On a cellular level, high creatine stores allow for the rapid recycling of the universal energy molecule, adenosine triphosphate, or, ATP. More specifically, supplemental creatine is able to increase stores of a chemical called creatine phosphate, which donates phosphate and “recharges” ATP (which means that ATP doesn’t have to be produced again “from scratch”). But, while the mechanism by which creatine works may be simple, the repercussions of this single chemical reaction are nothing short of profound for our health and longevity.

Energy is Life

When it comes to maintaining the vitality of youth, all of us are only as good as the efficiency of energy production, or in other words, the functioning of our mitochondria. In fact, keeping these energy–producing cellular structures intact and free from harm (or, finding ways of replacing them if they do become damaged) is increasingly being seen as a fundamental goal of anti–aging science.

To make a long biochemical story short, the mitochondria in our cells are unique among cellular structures in that they contain their own DNA (as you may remember from high school biology class, the vast majority of what we consider “our” DNA is found in the nucleus of the cell). Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), though relatively simple relative to the complex nuclear DNA, is still remarkably important as it contains the blueprints which encode for the building of the energy “assembly line” known as the respiratory chain.

Note: The fact that “our” DNA in the nucleus of the cell, and the mitochondrial DNA appear to be of different evolutionary origin has led many scientists to believe that human mitochondria were once bacteria which have adapted over eons to become a normal part of our physiology.

Because it resides on the “front lines” of energy production within the mitochondria, mtDNA is quite susceptible to damage via reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are natural byproducts of energy metabolism. This means that, unlike the DNA which is protected within the cellular nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is relatively easily damaged, and nearly impossible to repair.

Scientists have begun to gather evidence that damage to mitochondrial DNA is likely to play a fundamental role in such things as neurodegeneration, skin aging (a.k.a. photoaging), muscle loss and cancer:

Study Link – Analysis of potential cancer biomarkers in mitochondrial DNA.

Study Link – Mitochondrial DNA mutations in human cancer.

Study Link – Accumulation of mitochondrial DNA deletion mutations in aged muscle fibers: evidence for a causal role in muscle fiber loss.

Study Link – Mitochondrial DNA mutations in disease, aging, and neurodegeneration.

So, even a brief look at the research makes it very clear that anti–aging science is in dire need of substances which can protect the mitochondria (and its DNA) from the relentless assault of reactive oxygen species.

Creatine Prevents Damage To Mitochondrial DNA

A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology shows that creatine may be just such a substance:

Study Link – Creatine supplementation normalizes mutagenesis of mitochondrial DNA as well as functional consequences.

The researches who conducted the above study tested the effects of in vitro creatine supplementation in ultraviolet A–treated fibroblast cells.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) is known to be the spectrum of ultraviolet light largely responsible for skin aging [and, although ultraviolet B (UVB) is commonly implicated, some research suggests a significant role for UVA in the development of skin cancers as well]. The researchers attempted to test the effects of creatine against physiologically–relevant levels of UVA as could be obtained from sunlight “during a regular summer holiday.”

Although such exposure to UVA was sufficient to cause functionally–relevant mtDNA mutations, these mutations were prevented in the presence of creatine.

The researchers reported:

Our data suggest that mtDNA mutations induced by sublethal repetitive UV–exposure of a magnitude acquirable during a regular summer holiday suffices to result in functionally relevant changes and that creatine supplementation of cells is able to normalize mtDNA mutagenesis and functional impairment.

Interestingly, the researchers noted that in this case, creatine didn’t confer its protective effect upon the mitochondria via scavenging ROS directly. That is to say that creatine didn’t exhibit a direct antioxidant effect per se. Rather, as the researchers hypothesized, the rapid recycling of ATP caused by the presence of creatine may have taken a metabolic “burden” off of the mitochondria.

In not having to produce ATP de novo (“from scratch,” so to speak), the mitochondria therefore don’t have to run the entire “assembly line” of energy production. The result is likely to be less reactive oxygen species generated from de novo ATP synthesis, and less overall free radical damage to the mitochondria.

Such cell–protective effects of creatine have already led to investigations of the nutrient’s role in muscular, cardiovascular, and neurological health; and if creatine can reduce cell damage caused by ultraviolet radiation as was shown in the above study, it appears we can add dermatological health to this list as well (it’s easy to imagine that we may see creatine–based skin care products hit the market before long).

Again, the take home message is clear: Creatine is far more than just a bodybuilding supplement. Creatine improves the efficiency of energy production at a fundamental level, and offers cellular protection to a wide range cells throughout the body. The implications of this may very well be a slowing of the aging process and an extension of lifespan for those who maximize their creatine levels.

Only time will tell. is proud to bring to you Kosher Creatine.

Get a Jumpstart on Your Hay Fever

Want the most from medicines your doctor has recommended this allergy season? Then taking them at the right time is the best way to get rid of symptoms—but the right time may be earlier than you think.

Taking once-a-day antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays a week or so before spring and fall allergy seasons are set to start could put you ahead of the game, says Marjorie Slankard, professor of medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. For example, in many parts of the country, ragweed season starts in mid-August, so you’d want to start your medication around the second week. “Once you start taking antihistamines, there’s a maximum buildup by day five to seven,” says Dr. Slankard.

Take your allergy medicine every day

Keeping your dose of medicine constant will help relieve allergy symptoms, so be sure to take it every day.

• If your symptoms are worse in the morning, be sure to take the drug at night, recommends Dr. Slankard, as it will give the drug time to build up in your body and be effective when you most need it.

• Even though you can take allergy medicines at any time of day, taking them at bedtime is also a good idea if they cause sleepiness (ask your doctor or pharmacist if yours does).

Keep your medicine on hand

Be sure to renew and refill prescriptions on time so you always have your medicine when you need it.

• Think ahead when you’re planning vacations or business trips and have prescriptions renewed or refilled beforehand, or be sure to carry your prescription and insurance information with you.

• Ask your doctor and pharmacist the easiest way to renew and refill prescriptions, and mark your calendar.

Explore other symptom relief

Medicines are important allergy management tools, but keep these points in mind for more relief:

• Over-the-counter saline sprays may help relieve a stuffy nose, and saline rinses can help flush pollen and other allergens and soothe irritated nasal passages.

• Many people find relief using herbal remedies, such as nettle tea, and nutritional supplements such vitamin E.

• Sharing other people’s allergy relief products is never a good idea.

• Using air conditioning, instead of open windows, and using an air filter during allergy season can help keep pollen out.

• Showering before bed will allow you to sleep pollen-free.

Fran Kritz is a freelance writer from Silver Spring, Maryland. She tries to remember to take her allergy medicine before the sneezing starts.

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