Carnosine - Neurological and Psychiatric
Carnosine is a versatile neuro-protectant
arranged so that young and healthy brain to contain considerable amounts of carnosine
which protects these most precious cells against damage and degeneration. The
protective mechanisms are the antioxidant function, prevention of glycation and
carbonylation, as explained above. In addition, carnosine protects proteasomes
which have a central role in the disposal of carbonylated proteins. In this way,
carnosine seems to prevent and slow down Alzheimer´s disease and perhaps
other types of dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
In chronic brain disorders, Alzheimer´s and Parkinson´s diseases,
epilepsy, depression and schizophrenia, oxidation stress prevails and, in addition,
all the other hazardous interrelated reactions occur at a high rate. The glycation
denatured proteins and phospholipids, and produced AGE´s which in turn add
fuel to the oxidation of the lipids in the cell membranes. Oxidative stress increases
the activity of an enzyme called phospholipase A2 (PLA2), which in turn break
down fatty acids of the cell membranes. All these reactions interfere with the
Carnosine antagonizes oxidative stress (Boldyrev
et al, 1999) as well as all the harmful reactions. It is therefore a versatile
neuro-protectant against all neurological and psychiatric syndromes and disorders.
Carnosine is a multipotent neuroprotectant
disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative
disorder of the brain which causes progressive decline in memory and general cognitive
abilities. Slowly and inexorably, the disease attacks nerve cells in all parts
of the cortex of the brain, as well as some surrounding structures, thereby impairing
a person's abilities to govern emotions, recognize errors and patterns, coordinate
movement, and remember. At the last, an afflicted person loses all memory and
mental functioning. There is no recovery.
Apart from the progressive destruction
of nerve cells, a wide range of abnormalities can be seen in the brains of patients
who have died from Alzheimer's, including extracellular deposits of amyloid protein
and microscopic tangles of fibrils inside nerve cells. In experiments, treatment
with carnosine was found to reduce or completely prevent cell damage caused by
beta amyloid, the substance found in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients.
Beta amyloid can interact with certain RAGE receptors causing damage to the nerves
and arteries of the brain. Carnosine blocks and inactivates beta amyloid, so it
protects neural tissues against dementia.
Moreover, carnosine protects
the brain cells by fighting the highly toxic alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehyde acrolein
which is formed during the peroxidation of polyunsaturated lipids, raising the
possibility that it functions as a 'toxicological second messenger' during oxidative
cell injury (Burcham et al. 2000).
Recent research also confirms
that the toxic unsaturated aldehyde crotonaldehyde (CA) contributes to carbonylation
resulting in protein damage during lipid peroxidation (Fontaine et al 2002).
As carnosine combats all aldehydes, it offers another explanation for its benefits
in prevention of Alzheimer´s disease and other conditions with oxidative
Dr Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915)
Brain scan of an Alzheimer´s patient. The pink area represents destroyed
chelation by carnosine may prevent and slows down Alzheimers.
Some laboratory studies have reported excessive amounts of metal ions such
as zinc, copper in Alzheimer´s brain. Such ions may possibly change the
chemical architecture of normal beta amyloid, making it more harmful. A mildly
acidic environment appears to be important in the process that binds these metals
to beta amyloid. Experts observe that such conditions (acidic environment and
higher levels of zinc and copper) commonly occur as part of the inflammatory response
to local injury. Carnosine has the unique ability to chelate copper, zinc and
other metals, and to remove them from the body, as explained above in the section
Metal Chelation. This may be an important function of carnosine in preventing
and slowing down Alzheimer´s and other degenerative brain disorders.
data base includes at this writing nine documents on the relationship between
carnosine and Alzheimer´s. If you want to read them, search for "carnosine;
Alzheimer", and click "go".
Mild cognitive impairment
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a recently described syndrome
that is currently thought of as a transition phase between healthy cognitive ageing
and dementia. Recent evidence suggests that the aetiological heterogeneity among
individuals with MCI could be greater than previously reported. For example, cerebrovascular
disease seems to be underestimated as a potential cause of MCI. The general nature
of MCI makes accurate accounting of the prevalence, prognosis, and potential benefit
from treatment somewhat difficult. However, carnosine, as a potent neuro-protectant,
seems to be an ideal supplement for people with apparent or suspected mild cognitive
Carnosine prevents proteasomal decline
in Alzheimer's disease
The main reason for brain cell destruction
in Alzheimer´ is probably the inhibition of the proteasome,
a protein which removes damaged and denaturated proteins from the brain cells.
body accumulates a lot of sludge, and we need an efficient sludge removal system.
When protein sludge accumulates, the gears of the cell cycle can get
clogged up. The function of the brain, like many other vital organs, depends upon
the timely disposal of abnormal or damaged proteins. Proteasome is our main "cleaning
lady" in the cells. Once the proteasome becomes inhibited, ubiquitinated,
misfolded, aggregated, and oxidized proteins accumulate in the cells and lead
to neurodegeneration and cell death. More
The ultimate cause, on the atomic level, are toxic free radicals
and their toxic metabolites, which damage certain cells in the brain. H2O2 and
TPA (tetracanoylphorbolacetate) are such radicals, and they are able to kill brain
cells prematurely. Carnosine has been shown to prevent these radicals and it is
thus protecting the brain cells (Kang et al. 2002 b).
Lewy particles in
the brain of Parkinson patients accumulate a substance called alpha-Synuclein,
which accelerates the disease. This substance is produced due to oxidative stress.
Carnosine is able to combat both oxidative stress and accumulation of alpha-Synuclein
(Kim et al. 2002).
Carnosine is already recommended by some researchers
(Nguimfack Mbodie 2002).
MEDLINE data base
includes at this writing six documents on the relationship between carnosine and
Parkinson´s. If you want to read them, search for "carnosine;
Parkinson", and click "go".
These chronic diseases belong to those conditions where oxidative
stress and carbonylation damage the brain cells. Carnosine effectively fights
these reactions, and is therefore apt as a dietary supplement for these patients
(Petroff et al. 2000; 2001, Nguimfack Mbodie 2002).
data base includes at this writing 24 documents on the relationship between carnosine
If you want to read them, search for "carnosine;
epilepsy", and click "go".
There has been a major breakthrough by
a Chicago neurologist, Dr Michael Chez, in the treatment of autistic Spectrum
Disorders (autism and Asperger´s syndrome). Since 2001 he has treated almost
1,000 autistic children with carnosine, and, according to Dr Chez, 80 to 90 per
cent improve considerably within eight weeks. Carnosine acts in the frontal part
of the brain where it combines with transmitters deep in the brain, says Dr Chez.
with autistic children are saying that supplementation with carnosine helped their
kids. Rose Stodola a mother of autistic child said in an TV interview, Almost
immediately within the first week I noticed a change. The gym teacher
came up to me and said my gosh he's like a different child, added Maureen
Sieger. Four-year-old Nicholas Stodola would not talk to anybody. But then he
took carnosine and there was a noticeable change.
Dr. Mihael Chez found
that kind of change was typical for 80 percent of these and other autistic children.
Some jumped eight months in their reading scores and their behavior also changed.
Response time, and eye contact and social awareness improved, play skills
improved as a general rule, the children´s neurologist says.
really exciting is that carnosine works by stabilizing and protecting brain cells
and helping patients like Nicholas. And this may be just the beginning. Carnosine
may help patients with Alzheimer's, an illness similar to autism and it has already
helped some Alzheimer patients. Carnosine's also helped some other children. Dr.
Chez says, We've had parents report improved reading skills with dyslexic
tendencies...just improved test scores with kids who've had borderline attention
disorder. Soon other parents may have the same reaction Nicholas' have.
Carnosine and Dr. Chez have given us our son back, says Mrs. Stodola.
Some non-autistic adults claim carnosine makes them more alert and improves their
Dr Chez´team has conducted a scientific double-blind study
on 31 autistic children. The daily dose of pure L-Carnosine was 400 mg and no
adverse side-effects have been observed. The report has been accepted for publication
in the Journal of Child Neurology. Read