(NaturalHealth365) For many adults, the word “formaldehyde” may summon up memories of a long-ago biology class – and the noxious-smelling fluid used to preserve the frogs intended for dissection.
But this toxic chemical, found in a wide range of everyday products, is actually closer at hand than you might think – and can present a grave threat to our health.
For example, a new scientific review explores a potential link between formaldehyde exposure and a trio of debilitating diseases: depression, dementia and diabetes. Fortunately, the research also showcases the ability of the amino acid carnosine to reverse many of the injurious effects of formaldehyde, and protect against these serious conditions.
Alert: Formaldehyde destroys cells by cross-linking proteins
The major exposure route of formaldehyde is inhalation from indoor sources – not surprising, when you consider that formaldehyde is a common constituent of carpeting, paper products, plywood, cleaning products, glues, insecticides, cigarette smoke and even wrinkle-resistant fabrics.
Researchers are now finding that exposure to formaldehyde causes a harmful cross-linking of the body’s proteins – the same process that occurs in the presence of high blood sugar. (Also known as glycation, cross-linking from high blood sugar can damage cells, and cause portions of the body’s tissues to become non-functional).
In addition to contributing to depression, diabetes and dementia, environmental formaldehyde may accelerate aging and trigger age-related conditions – such as Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, stroke and glaucoma.
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In other words, the cross-linking from formaldehyde exposure has the same damaging effects as those seen in glycation.
Incidentally, formaldehyde is officially classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a carcinogen.
And, the World Health Organization concurs. In a 2014 report, the agency reported that formaldehyde can induce squamous cell carcinoma of the nasal cavity in rats — and nasopharyngeal cancer in humans.
Clearly, this carcinogenic environmental toxin would appear to be the very last thing that one would expect to be injected (into children, no less!)
Yet, this is exactly what occurs with vaccines.
Combined formaldehyde burden from childhood vaccine schedule is cause for alarm
Formaldehyde, used to inactivate living pathogens in vaccine production, only constitutes a small (0.02 percent) portion of the entire vaccine formulation.
Yet natural health experts point out that this represents up to 100 mcg of formaldehyde per injected dose. If children receive multiple vaccines –as recommended by federal health authorities – the combined amount can be substantial.
Note: virtually all pediatric and adult flu shots, all pertussis vaccines, all injectable polio vaccines and all tetanus booster shots contain formaldehyde.
According to Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, D.O. – founder of Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center, a multi-disciplinary health center – children who receive all recommended vaccines (hepatitis A and B, DTaP, polio and influenza) are subjected to a whopping 1,795 mcg, or 1.795 mg, of formaldehyde.
Of course, the decision whether or not to vaccinate your child is a personal matter. It’s best to arm yourself with all pertinent information before making this decision – and to consult with your trusted integrative doctor.
Scientists say: Carnosine can REDUCE the risk of harmful cross-linking
In a 2017 review published in Aging and Disease, the authors noted that raised levels of formaldehyde are associated with the development of depression, dementia and diabetes. In addition, they noted that laboratory animals with induced age acceleration displayed elevated levels of formaldehyde in their brains.
Intriguingly, the team found that formaldehyde decreases the availability of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine – which influences learning, memory and mood – thereby yielding a possible clue to formaldehyde’s role in triggering age-related memory decline.
But, the focal point of the review was the efficacy of carnosine against the dangers of formaldehyde exposure– particularly, its ability to suppress cross-linking.
The team cited animal studies showing that the amino acid protected against acute formaldehyde inhalation – as well as delaying immune senescence and age-related changes in the brains of older animals.
In addition, carnosine also seems to mimic the action of a class of pharmaceutical antidepressants known as MAO inhibitors – highlighting its potential for improving cognition and well-being.
Carnosine is anti-aging, anti-glycation, heart-healthy and immune system boosting
A potent antioxidant, carnosine has been shown in cell and animal studies to dramatically extend lifespan. Researchers are currently exploring its effects on longevity in humans.
In addition, carnosine’s anti-glycation properties help to prevent LDL cholesterol from forming arterial plaque, thereby protecting against atherosclerosis and diabetic damage.
Other carnosine-derived boons to cardiovascular health include its capacity to lower blood pressure in obese individuals, and its ability to protect against reperfusion injury – damage caused by the rebounding of oxygen-rich blood into tissues after a heart attack.
For good measure, carnosine has been shown in cell studies to delay senescence – a cellular consequence of aging that causes tissue and organ failure.
Protect against formaldehyde exposure with carnosine supplementation
Although carnosine is found in red meat, obtaining its benefits may not be as simple as eating a steak.
Scientists point out that this amino acid breaks down rapidly in the body – a problem that can be avoided through the use of proper supplementation.
In order to maintain consistent blood levels, natural health experts may recommend carnosine dosages in the area of 1,000 mg a day.
Another important note: Emerging research shows that vitamin C demonstrates potential as a formaldehyde-fighting ally that can work in conjunction with carnosine.
In a study published in Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences, researchers found that vitamin C – already used by forward-thinking doctors to combat the effects of heavy metals and other toxins – helped to reverse formaldehyde-induced kidney and liver toxicity in rats.
As always, consult with a knowledgeable integrative doctor before supplementing.
It’s virtually impossible to avoid exposure to formaldehyde – no matter how vigilant you are. But the latest scientific review showcases the potential of carnosine to alleviate the harm caused by this dangerous environmental toxin.
Very likely, continuing research will reveal even more carnosine benefits – and more reasons to reap the benefits of this life-sustaining natural nutrient.
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