Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements
What is carnosine? Why do we need it?
Carnosine is a small chemical compound found in the body, made from two amino acids - histidine and alanine. It is present in high amounts in several body tissues, including skeletal muscles, the heart and the brain.
The exact role carnosine plays in the health and wellness of the human body is not known at this time. However, preliminary research suggests that it is a vital component in many biological processes. Animal studies show that carnosine acts as an antioxidant, and can help stop or reverse damage to cell membranes caused by free radicals. Research conducted in the East suggests that carnosine can strengthen the immune system and help wounds heal faster.
To date, the best evidence for carnosine's healing properties is as a tool to fight peptic ulcers. Small human studies have shown that it can help eliminate the h. pylori bacteria, which has been linked to both peptic ulcers and stomach cancer.
How much carnosine should I take?
At this time, there are no recommended daily allowances for carnosine. However, clinical trials of carnosine in the treatment of peptic ulcers have used doses of 150 mg twice daily of a zinc carnosine complex.
What forms of carnosine are available?
Carnosine can be found in several foods, particularly meat, fish and poultry.
What can happen if I take too much carnosine? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?
Because very few trials have been conducted in humans, there are no well-known drug interactions or side-effects associated with carnosine supplementation. While there are no known side-effects from taking large amounts of carnosine, deficiencies may occur in people who do not have much protein in their diet, or in people who are unable to metabolize amino acids properly. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking carnosine or any other dietary supplement or herbal remedy.
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- Nishiwaki H, Kato S, Sugamoto S, et al. Ulcerogenic and healing impairing actions of monochloramine in rat stomachs: effects of zinc L-carnosine, polaprezinc. J Physiol Pharmacol 1999;50:183-95.
- Roberts PR, Black KW, Santamauro JT, Zaloga GP. Dietary peptides improve wound healing following surgery. Nutrition 1998;14;266-9.