Carnosine is a compound made from the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. Known to be important for the proper function of the heart and brain, carnosine has been shown to help reduce atherosclerotic plaque and advanced glycation end products, which are factors in most degenerative diseases.
Because of this, carnosine has been hailed as an anti-ageing compound. Research is ongoing into the potential of carnosine; however, early results suggest that carnosine may have liver-protective properties and the ability to lower "bad" cholesterol. It is known to have potent antioxidant effects, which can help to reduce cell damage caused by free radicals.
Carnosine may also have a role to play in mood enhancement, although how is not yet fully understood. There have been some interesting trials researching the potential of carnosine as a treatment for autism. Since carnosine helps to maintain a neutral pH in muscle tissues, it is a popular sports and athletics supplement, thought to help reduce muscle fatigue and thereby improve endurance.
Carnosine in the diet occurs mostly in red meat, but it can be taken as a supplement in capsule, tablet or liquid form.