healthy heart muscle (myocardium) contains naturally some carnosine, but carnosine
supplementation increases significantly the strength and endurance of the heart
Contractile failure of myocardial cells is a common cause of mortality
in ischaemic heart disease. According to a recent pharmacological study, carnosine
improves myocardial contractility during hypoxia as well as verapamil, a calcium
channel blocker frequently prescribed for the treatment of heart disease (Bharadwaj
et al. 2002) and therefore carnosine opens completely new horizons in treatment
of myocardial insufficiency (Gamez Navarro 2000, Zaloga et al 1997).
Carnosine exerts a number of other beneficial
effects in the heart and blood vessels, such as:
lowers elevated blood
protects against oxygen deficiency (hypoxia or ischaemia) in
coronary heart disease
prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thereby
Moreover, carnosine fights leptin, the obesity hormone.
This hormone is elevated many times over in the blood of obese and overweight
individuals and it raises blood pressure.
Fig. 1. The contractility of the left ventricle of an isolated rat heart and the
pulse wave increase significantly with carnosine. (a) initial status, (b) 5 nM
carnosine, (c) 10 nM carnosine (Robets ja Zaloga 2000).
Russian scientists set out to determine the effect of carnosine upon rats programmed to develop strokes. The first experiment focused upon carnosine as a revitaliser in hypoxic animals, i.e., those exposed to low oxygen levels. When oxygen-deprived animals were revitalized with normal levels of oxygen, the carnosine treated rats were able to stand after 4.3 minutes, as compared to 6.3 minutes in the untreated group.
In the second study, a stroke was simulated in the animals
by arterial occlusion. The scientists found that carnosine acts as a neuroprotector
in the ischaemic (lack of oxygenated blood) brain. Rats treated with carnosine
displayed more normal electrocardiograms, less lactate accumulation (a common
measure of injury severity), and better cerebral blood flow.
animal experiments suggest that supplementation with carnosine protects the brain
cells against ischaemia (lack of oxygen) which occurs during and after stoke.
In one study, experimental ischaemic injury resulted in 67% mortality of the rats.
In the group of animals pre-treated with carnosine the mortality was only 30%
(Stvolinsky et al. 2000).
Fig. 2. Carnosine prevents accumulation of lactose as a result of experimental
hypoxia in the rat brain. Hypoxia was induced by ligating four brain arteries.
1= rats on carnosine, 2= controls. The columns indicate the concentrations of
lactate before closure of the arteries (a) and thereafter (b) 35-45 minutes, (c)
90-100 min and (d) 150-170 minutes (Stvolinsky and Dobrota 2000).
In a similar British study, the mortality after ischaemic attack decreased from 55% to 17% (Gallant et al. 2000). An increasing number of researchers advocate carnosine as a beneficial supplement for secondary prevention of stroke (Suslina et al. 2000, Stvolinsky and Dobrota 2000, Khaspekov et al. 2002, Tabakman et al. 2002).
MEDLINE has at this writing five documents on the effect of carnosine on stroke. If you want to read them, search for "carnosine; stroke", and click "go".
Carnosine seem to be a superb dietary supplement for prevention and treatment of all kind of cardiovascular events.