What is Carnosine?
Carnosine is a natural compound in your skeletal muscles and brain. Daily intake of foods such as meat or fish contains high amounts of carnosine. Carnosine is an ideal antioxidant – it can decrease stress levels in animals by helping with quicker metabolism of the stress hormone, cortisol, and noradrenaline. It is thought to have many biological roles such as anti-oxidant, pH-buffering agent, chelation of divalent zinc ions and may play the role of a neurochemical messenger in the sense of smell.
In athletes, carnosine can be applied to aid in the recovery of tired muscles and increase muscles work potential. Carnosine buffers lactate caused by exercise in skeletal muscle and may help with fatigue.
In addition, carnosine may have anti-aging potential and may be neuroprotective in cerebral ischemia (strokes) in animal studies. Researchers found that carnosine may regulate brain glutamate level under low blood flow conditions and may protect against permanent damage in mice.
As seen in Alzheimer’s disease mice models, supplementation with carnosine improves the decline of cognition. It is also seen in elderly people. This elderly group took 1g of anserine/carnosine for 3 months and were given memory tests. This group performed significantly better than the group that did not take the supplementation. Carnosine is easily absorbed in the digestive tract, can cross the blood-brain barrier and has high bioavailability. Additionally, carnosine is water-soluble, heat inactive and non-toxic which make it a good nutrient for supplementation.
What is zinc?
Zinc is an essential trace element that is abundant in the brain and is involved in neuronal excitation. Zinc has many vital roles in cell division, protein, and DNA synthesis. More so, it plays an important role in learning and memory. Zinc regulates the excitability of the brain by binding with N-methyl-D-asparate (NMDA)-glutamate, aminobutyric (GABA) receptors in the brain.
Children deficient in zinc may have mental and developmental problems causing learning disabilities and dwarfism. In adults, deficiencies may lead to disorders in learning, taste, and smell.
The recommended adult daily zinc dose is 12mg/day in males and 9mg/day in females.
More studies are showing that zinc balance aka “homeostasis” is involved in many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and prion diseases. Newer research found that zinc supplementation significantly decreased triglycerides and low-density-lipoprotein (the “bad cholesterol”).
Combining Zinc and Carnosine
Carnosine may help make zinc more available in the brain. Carnosine binds to zinc and regulates zinc concentration in synapses (the area between two nerve cells where signals are passed). Basically, you need carnosine for zinc to work correctly. Therefore, carnosine is necessary to provide zinc homeostasis and provide protection against a myriad of neurodegenerative diseases.
In Japan, zinc + L-carnosine is clinically used to treat stomach ulcers. It has been suggested that this combination is useful in preventing cancer. This combination has been well studied in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and has been used to treat any GI condition that requires mucosal protection and repair.
This combination has been studied to protect gut mucosal integrity aka prevent “leaky gut”. In mice studies, it stimulated cell movement and growth and reduced small intestine and stomach injury. In humans, scientists found that this combined supplement can prevent “leaky gut” caused by NSAIDs. NSAIDS can damage the GI tract by reducing mucosal prostaglandin levels, blood flow and stimulates immune cells such as neutrophils. Zinc L-carnosine promotes repair of damaged tissue through wound healing effects.
Zinc L-carnosine has anti-inflammatory and mucosal protective effects by reducing inflammatory cytokines and increasing growth factor expression. More so, this supplement was found to have “cytoprotective” which means it is a compound that protects cells from harmful effects.
In addition, zinc + carnosine when given before chemotherapy prevented oral ulceration in cancer patients. Studies found that it has efficacy in repairing damage caused by radiation for oral mucositis, esophagitis and dermatitis.
Zinc Carnosine Supplementation
Supplementation with carnosine and zinc may promote gut integrity and repair and be important in preventing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s dementia and vascular dementia.
How to take Zinc and Carnosine
Adult Dosage: 75mg- Zinc-L-carnosine complex once or twice daily with meals
Side Effects: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea may result if taking on an empty stomach
Frequently Asked Questions
Is zinc carnosine safe?
There have been reports that zinc may cause anemia: One case report of a 17-year-old man taking megadoses of zinc (100mg x 3 daily) had developed fatigue and anemia (his red blood cell counts dropped below normal levels). Another case report noted that a 28-year-old man’s seizures worsened after taking zinc. Additionally, zinc nasal sprays may cause loss of sense of smell.
Carnosine, itself, is well tolerated and relatively safe.
Where can I buy zinc carnosine?
Below is a list of Zinc-Carnosine sources curated from online retailers such as Amazon scored based on 3 metrics: rating, price, and the number of sales.
1. Doctor’s Best
A reliable vendor that sells high-quality supplements that are made in United States cGMP certified facilities and is tested by 3rd parties. This product is vegan, gluten free, soy free and is non-GMO. Doctor’s best is a physician-founded company in 1990 and is a science-based nutritional supplement company. Supplements are made with raw materials sourced around the world and ingredients are thoroughly researched and tested to the highest standards.
2. Integrative Therapeutics
Founded in 2000, Integrative therapeutics uses premium ingredients based on established research. Products are trusted and clinician-developed. This vendor manufactures supplements in a NSF-GMP registered facility and is a certified organic processor. Sourced ingredients must meet these requirements: identity, purity, potency and bioavailability.
3. Source Naturals
Source Naturals was founded in 1982 and has been manufacturing premium nutritional supplements in the industry since then. The vendor uses top-of-the-line quality control testing that include botany, microscopy, high-performance thin-layer chromatography and other scientifically valid methods. Formulas are tested for potency and optimized for highest bioavailability.
How soon should zinc carnosine work?
As with any supplements, it takes time to work. Zinc carnosine has been reported to take at least two weeks to work.
Can zinc carnosine help GERD?
Yes, this supplement promotes a healthy stomach lining and can relieve gastric discomfort from GERD and acid reflux. Zinc L-carnosine is a free radical scavenger and assists in restoring gastric integrity. Users report that this combination helped with stomach pain and cramps caused by gastritis. Others say that it helps them with digestive discomfort after two weeks of taking it.
Can I take it for sibo?
Yes, zinc carnosine can be taken for sibo. It supports a healthy bacterial balance in the stomach and GI tract. Users report that after taking this supplement for two weeks, they wake up feeling great – no bloating or stomach discomfort.
Zinc + Carnosine has multiple benefits:
- important role in memory and information processing
- anti-fatigue effects in skeletal muscle
- neuroprotective effects
- protects and heals gastric lining
The takeaway: Zinc + Carnosine soothes gut lining in GERD and improves cognitive decline in neurodegenerative disorders