Research is showing a host of benefits for supplementation with L-carnosine
Approximately 75% of adults in the U.S. currently take at least one dietary supplement according to data compiled by the 2018 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. This rate signifies a 10% increase over the number of adult Americans that supplemented their diets just a decade ago.
The 2018 CRN Consumer Survey also found that the percentage of adults taking supplements is slightly higher for certain age ranges as well. For instance, 78% of adults aged 55 and older revealed that they take dietary supplements, which is followed closely by individuals between the ages of 35-54, with 77% of this age group reporting that supplements are part of their health care regimen. Individuals aged 18-34 took supplements the least at 69%.
Additionally, while vitamins and minerals are the types of supplements taken most often — by 98% of the population to be exact — another supplemental option that can potentially provide additional health benefits is L-carnosine.
L-carnosine and benefits
The National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that L-carnosine is a dipeptide that is naturally produced in the body and can be found within the muscles. Often called carnosine for short, L-carnosine is a beta-alanyl derivative of L-histidine, an essential amino acid required to produce the neurotransmitter histamine.
Research published in the European Journal of Sport Science adds that carnosine has been studied quite extensively and has a potential of offering “therapeutic benefits” in both health and disease. Some of these benefits is thanks to its anti-aging properties.
L-carnosine’s anti-aging properties
Certain diseases and medical conditions tend to become more prevalent with age. A few of the most common issues appearing at higher rates in older individuals include hearing and vision issues, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, osteoarthritis, and diabetes according to a study published in Frontiers in Public Health. Furthermore, approximately 62% of Americans 65 years old and older struggle with more than one of these types of chronic health conditions.
Research compiled by Brazilian researchers found that many of these respond well to carnosine’s antioxidant activity. Among them are cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s, specifically. Yet, they also noted that additional studies are finding that this dipeptide may also be beneficial for other conditions with risks elevated due to age, such as osteoporosis, hypertension, hearing issues, and heart disease. However, more research needs to be conducted in these areas to know for sure.
Athletic performance and carnosine
Research published in the journal Sports Medicine reports that carnosine can also potentially help athlete’s improve their performance, specifically with regard to high intensity activities. Additionally, this advantage appeared for individuals who were trained in their sport of choice, as well as those who were untrained, and it is often found in higher concentrations in people who have a high proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Carnosine is thought to provide this particular benefit by helping maintain homeostasis in contracting muscle cells during anaerobic activities. It does this by attenuating acidosis and improving contractile performance.
L-carnosine dosing and side effects
As with all supplements, proper dosing of L-carnosine is important for both safety and efficacy purposes. How much should be taken to achieve both of these goals?
According to a literature review published in the journal Nutrients, there appears to be no clear consensus about exactly how much carnosine is needed to obtain optimal results. To complicate the issue even further, some individuals naturally have higher rates of carnosine to begin with. Among them are sprinters, bodybuilders, and other athletes engaged in anaerobic sports.
There is also a lack of consensus about how long carnosine supplements need to be taken before any benefits are realized. For instance, while some studies have found positive effects in as little as two weeks, others have shown that increasing supplementation over a longer time period proves to be more beneficial.
Based on these variances, it is difficult to determine exactly how much L-carnosine individuals need to achieve higher levels of health and performance. Perhaps after more research is conducted in this area, health care providers will be have more direction as to dosage recommendations.
On a positive note, the University of Michigan Health System reports that, as of this time, no well-known side effects appear to exist with carnosine supplementation.