L-carnosine is a dipeptide comprised of two amino acids such as β-alanine and L-histidine and is naturally found in muscle and heart tissues, the brain, and the liver. It has a powerful antioxidant function and protects and stabilizes cell membranes by inhibiting oxidative stress caused by free radicals. It also acts as a metal chelator and has a buffer effect on lactic acid in the muscle, including cases of intensive exercise or workouts. Carnosine is involved in a series of metabolic reactions in the body. Carnosine has the potential to suppress many of the biochemical changes that accompany ageing (e. g. protein oxidation, glycation, AGE formation, and cross-linking) and associated pathologies. It is presumed to have antiglycating properties, which may prove beneficial in diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, carnosinuria, Crohn’s disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, and ulcerative colitis.
Several studies demonstrate that L-Carnosine may help improve cognition, memory, energy levels, and may inhibit brain cell death. It also acts as anti-aging.
L-carnosine is crucial for many normal body functions including the proper function and development of the muscles, heart, liver, kidneys, brain, and many other organs. It plays a number of important roles in the body, acting as an acid buffer in muscle cells. It may also exert antioxidant activity and has been shown to inhibit lipid oxidation, including the oxidation of LDL, and may be a free radical scavenger. It seems to have the ability to buffer pH activity, and appears to delay muscle fatigue. L-carnosine helps promote improved muscle endurance. It is widely used among athletes, bodybuilders, runners, cyclists and more. Carnosine is also used to inhibit signs of aging and for relieving of complications of diabetes such as nerve damage, eye disorders (cataracts), and kidney problems.
The common health benefits of L-carnosine include:
- Acts as an anti-oxidant 
- Improves cognitive function 
- Is an anti-ageing 
- Improves learning and memory 
- Reduces stress and depression 
- Regulates immune system 
- Is an anti-inflammatory 
- Helps people fight cancer 
- Helps with diabetes 
- Helps people who have Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease 
- Improves blood flow 
- Improves heart health 
- Enhances physical performance 
- Promotes eye health 
- Lowers blood pressure 
- Helps with autism 
- Improves kidney health 
L-carnosine helps reduce damaging protein glycation in the body. It has excellent antioxidant properties. It can greatly reduce damage from the highly reactive oxygen free radicals that are produced from the out-of-control oxidation of lipids and sugar that can occur in Metabolic Syndrome and diabetes. Moreover, this antioxidant effect occurs at concentrations of carnosine known to exist in the human body. In animal studies, administration of high doses of carnosine reduced oxidative damage in the brain and blood during periods of high stress. In a study using rats made salt-sensitive with stress hormones, intravenous administration of carnosine decreased their blood pressure and reduced sympathetic nervous system activity in their kidneys.
How it works
L-carnosine is an amino acid dipeptide made of histidine and alanine that was first isolated from meat. This naturally occurring peptide is present in a variety of organs, including the brain, where it is primarily found in glial and ependymal cells. L-carnosine appeared to offer pharmacological potentials essential to improving neurological outcome following cerebral ischemia. L-carnosine has been shown to protect cultured neurons from oxygen glucose deprivation and to exhibit neuroprotective properties in animal models of global and cerebral ischemia.
With regard to cognitive outcomes, L-carnosine supplementation is shown to inhibit the development of ischaemic vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in animals. Beneficial psychological effects of L-carnosine have also been demonstrated in humans. Supplementation with carnosine helps improve cognitive performance in patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and Gulf War Illness, and can improve executive function and strategic efficiency and reduce perseverative errors in patients with schizophrenia. In autistic children, carnosine has also been shown to improve their receptive speech, socialisation and behaviour.
Chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and AGEs have been shown to play a role in the development of chronic diseases such as T2DM, CVD, and neurodegenerative diseases. Mechanisms of action of carnosine include chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and AGEs, which have been thus far only been investigated in animal studies. Carnosine has been shown to reduce the levels of inflammatory cytokine production in mice. In addition to its direct effect on cytokines, carnosine also plays a significant role as an antioxidant by acting as a free radical scavenger. The anti-glycation properties of L-carnosine have also been demonstrated in several studies.
L-carnosine is usually safe for both children and adults when taken by mouth, or in adults when used on the skin or in an enema. However, there can be some rare side effects which may include a rash or itchiness, dry mouth, changes in appetite, feelings of tiredness, or vivid dreams. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, avoid taking L-carnosine. Carnosine may also lower blood pressure. In fact, taking carnosine may make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.
Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
There is no standard dosage range for L-carnosine so far. An appropriate dose of L-carnosine depends on several factors, including the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. It has been shown to be rapidly diminished in serum samples via the actions of carnosinase. L-carnosine supplements are popularly sold in 500 mg capsules. You should always follow dosing recommendations from the manufacturer of the supplement products you select.
You are advised to consult your doctor or healthcare provider to determine an appropriate dosage for you.