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Carnosine (L-Carnosine)

L-Carnosine - Pharmacology and biochemistry

Carnosine is a 100 % natural substance, a so-called dipeptide, formed of two amino acids (ß-alanyl-L-histidine). It is often called a neuropeptide due to its brainprotective properties.

Carnosine is found naturally in healthy muscles, hearth, brain, liver, kidneys and other tissues. The muscles contain about 20 µmol/g dry weight. The more meat contains carnosine, the longer is its shelf life, as carnosine - a superb antioxidant - prevents it from going rancid.

chemical formula of L-Carnosine

Figure 1. Chemical formula of L-Carnosine (NH2CH2CH2CONHCH(C4H5N2)CO2H )

High Strength Carnosine
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Carnosine acts together with other biological antioxidants, e.g., vitamin E and vitamin C, zinc and selenium, and it spares their consumption in the tissues. Persons with latent vitamin E deficiency consume carnosine more than normally. [It is stressed that the intake of vitamin E is deficient in a major part of the general population, as suggested by epidemiological studies world wide.]

In the human body, the enzyme carnosine synthetase, forms carnosine from the amino acids alanine and histidine. This reaction occurs mainly in the brain and in the musclulature. Another group of enzymes, called dipeptidases or carnosinases, in turn inactivate carnosine in the blood and other tissues.

Meat is the main dietary source of carnosine. High doses of carnosine are necessary for therapeutic effect because the body naturally degrades carnosine with the enzyme carnosinase. Absorption of carnosine from food is 30 to 70 % (depending on the amount of various amino acids in the meal) and that of pure L-carnosine greater than 70%. A greater part of the absorption occurs in the small intestine (jejunum, but not in the ileum). From the blood carnosine moves into the muscles, brain and other tissues. The human plasma does not contain measurable quantities of carnosine, in other words a blood test does not detect a possible deficiensy state.

[In contrast, equine plasma contains carnosine over 100 µmol/l. As a result of mucle injuries the content in the plasma incerases, and determination of plasma carnosine can be used for detection of mucsle injuries.]

The biological functions of carnosine are:

  • buffering the effects of lactic acid in the muscles (the pH remains neutral even in heavy physical exercise, such as sport sprints)
  • pluripotent antioxidative actions
  • ability to inactivate reactive oxygen species, scavenge free radicals
  • aldehyde-sequestering
  • prevention of glycation
  • prevention of carbonylation of proteins, i.e., ´carnosinylation´)
  • function as neurotransmitter
  • protection of proteasomes
  • chelation of metals

In Summary

Carnosine is an aldehyde scavenger, which is also able to remove the rubble (ultimate de-linking damaged proteins, sugars and phospholipids) and act as a key member in the building of the new more impervious towers. As a diatery supplement, carnosine is a possible modulator of diabetic complications, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson´s disease, epilepsy, autism, dyslexia, AD/HD, schizophrenia and related syndromes, as we will discuss later in this section in more detail.

High Strength Carnosine
90 Caps x 500mg
Was £49.99
Now £29.99
High Strength Carnosine

Copper and zinc are released during normal synaptic activity. However, in the presence of a mildly acidic environment which is a characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, they reduce to their ionic forms and become toxic to the nervous system. Research has shown that carnosine can buffer copper and zinc toxicity in the brain.

Carnosine has also been shown, in vitro (in the test tube), to inhibit non-enzymic glycosylation and cross-linking of proteins induced by reactive aldehydes, including aldose and ketose sugars, certain triose glycolytic intermediates, and malondialdehyde (MDA, a lipid peroxidation product). Carnosine also inhibits formation of MDA-induced protein-associated advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs) and formation of DNA-protein cross-links induced by acetaldehyde and formaldehyde.

The lipid peroxidation product malondialdehyde forms adducts with proteins that are detected during routine assays for protein carbonylation.

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