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.
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.
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
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
[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
- ability to inactivate reactive oxygen species, scavenge free
- prevention of glycation
of carbonylation of proteins, i.e., ´carnosinylation´)
- protection of proteasomes
- chelation of metals
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.
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.
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.
peroxidation product malondialdehyde forms adducts with proteins that are detected
during routine assays for protein carbonylation.
Download Carnosine Product Brochure ()