What is carnosine?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

Carnosine is a small protein composed of the amino acids histidine and alanine. It is found in relatively high concentrations in several body tissues, most notably in skeletal muscle, heart muscle, and the brain. The exact biological role of carnosine is still under investigation, but numerous animal studies have demonstrated that it possesses strong and specific antioxidant properties, protects against radiation damage, improves the function of the heart, and promotes wound healing. Carnosine, which is suggested to be the water-soluble counterpart of vitamin E, helps in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage. Other suggested roles for carnosine include actions as a neurotransmitter, modulator of enzyme activities, and chelator of heavy metals.

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