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What is carnosine?

Carnosine is a dipeptide composed of 2 amino acids: beta-alanine and 3-methyl-L-histidine [1]. It is a nonessential nutrient, which means it can be produced in your body, so you do not need to get it from foods in order to be healthy.

Other names for carnosine: beta-alanyl-L-histidine [1]

Carnosine Functions in the Human Body

Carnosine is important for proper function of the muscles, brain and heart [1].

Foods High in Carnosine

ANIMAL FOODS: red meat (beef, lamb) [8]

Carnosine Supplements

Nonprescription (over-the-counter) supplements are available as:

  • L-carnosine (capsules)
  • N-acetyl carnosine (eye drops)
  • Zinc carnosine (capsules)

Intravenous L-carnosine injections are available by prescription.

Carnosine Health Benefits

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE [2] about the effectiveness of L-carnosine supplements in the prevention or treatment of aging, autism [3,4,5,6], complications of diabetes such as nerve damage, eye disorders and kidney damage or intestinal lining damage (using zinc carnosine) [7], or in increasing exercise performance, removing heavy metals from the body, or as an antioxidant.

Carnosine Safety: Side Effects, Toxicity

There is not enough data to evaluate carnosine safety. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid carnosine supplements [2].

  1. L-carnosine  PubChem
  2. Carnosine  WebMD
  3. Rossignol DA et al, 2009, Novel and emerging treatments for autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review  PubMed
  4. Lofthouse N et al, 2012, A Review of Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders  PubMed Central
  5. Levy SE et al, 2008, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders  PubMed Central
  6. Frye RE et al, 2014, Treatments for Biomedical Abnormalities Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder  PubMed Central
  7. Mahmood A et al, 2007, Zinc carnosine, a health food supplement that stabilises small bowel integrity and stimulates gut repair processes  PubMed Central
  8. Purchas RW et al, 2004, Concentrations in beef and lamb of taurine, carnosine, coenzyme Q(10), and creatine  PubMed

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