Positive Effects of Carnosine

Liposomal Carnosine Is Essential for Detoxing Linoleic Acid

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
liposomal carnosine


  • Carnosine is a dipeptide found in meat. The highest concentrations of carnosine are found in your muscles, brain, central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract
  • If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you will have lower levels of carnosine in your muscles. This is one reason why many strict vegans who do not properly compensate for this tend to have trouble building muscle
  • Carnosine binds to advanced lipoxidation endproducts (ALEs) that form from oxidized seed oils in your diet, making it a crucial aid in the detoxification of linoleic acid (LA)
  • Thanks to its ability to scavenge 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE), carnosine is also protective against obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease, just to name a few
  • The best way to optimize your carnosine level is to eat organic grass fed beef. When it comes to carnosine supplements, your best bet is liposomal versions as they have the highest bioavailability

Carnosine is a dipeptide found in meat. It’s not found in any plant foods. Dipeptide means it’s made up of two amino acids, in this case beta-alanine and histidine. The highest concentrations of carnosine are found in your muscles, brain, central nervous system1 and gastrointestinal tract,2 which gives you an indication of its potential importance.

Unfortunately, it’s also one of the top 10 most common nutrient deficiencies, especially among vegans. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you will have lower levels of carnosine in your muscles. This is one reason why many strict vegans who do not properly compensate for this tend to have trouble building muscle.

Carnosine also binds to advanced lipoxidation endproducts (ALEs) that form from oxidized seed oils in your diet, making it a crucial aid in the detoxification of linoleic acid (LA).

Carnosine’s Physiological Roles

Carnosine has several physiological roles and benefits. For example, it:3

Provides athletic benefits — Approximately 99% of carnosine is found in muscle tissue where it facilitates lactic acid detoxification, improves muscle contraction and muscle relaxation and enhances endurance
Alleviates diabetic nephropathy by protecting podocyte and mesangial cells4
Modulates energy metabolism in macrophages and microglia by restoring and/or enhancing the basal conditions
Has antioxidant properties and scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS) and aldehydes created by peroxidation of fatty acid cell membranes during oxidative stress5

Regulates the activity of stem cells

Modulates glucose metabolism
Enhances the degradation and/or scavenging of nitric oxide (NO)
Promotes wound healing
Opposes glycation6
Slows down the aging process by prolonging the life of cells and preserving cellular homeostasis7
Regulates osmotic pressure
Modulates glutamate production and transport
Modulates brain metabolism
Chelates heavy metals8
Acts as a pH buffer9
Acts as a neurotransmitter
Protects olfactory receptor neurons in the elderly

Beef, Liposomal Carnosine and Precursors Are the Best Sources

Interestingly, a June 2023 paper10 in the medical journal Pharmaceuticals reviewed the science behind carnosine with the aim of developing new delivery systems for carnosine-based drugs. As noted in this paper:

“Because of its well-demonstrated multimodal pharmacodynamic profile, which includes anti-aggregant, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities, as well as its ability to modulate the energy metabolism status in immune cells, this dipeptide has been investigated in numerous experimental models of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, and at a clinical level.

The main limit for the therapeutic use of carnosine is related to its rapid hydrolysis … [This is the] reason why the development of new strategies, including the chemical modification of carnosine or its vehiculation into innovative drug delivery systems (DDS), aiming at increasing its bioavailability and/or at facilitating the site-specific transport to different tissues, is of utmost importance.”

Delivery systems currently in use or in development include intraperitoneal injections, intranasal sprays and oral administration of various nanoformulations. But while the drug industry is keen on figuring out how to profit from carnosine by making it into a drug, you certainly don’t need a drug to get these benefits.

Simply eating organic grass fed beef is one of the most efficient ways to raise your carnosine level.11 This is one of many reasons why cultured beef is not a viable substitute for real beef. Not only does fake beef lack carnosine but also B vitamins, retinol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, taurine, creatine and bioavailable forms of iron and zinc.12

Most carnosine supplements aren’t very effective either because the carnosine is rapidly broken down into its constituent amino acids by certain enzymes. Your body then reformulates those amino acids back to carnosine in your muscles.

An exception to this is liposomal carnosine, which appears to work quite well. Another alternative is to supplement with beta-alanine, which is the rate limiting amino acid in the formation of carnosine. According to a 2021 paper,13 daily intake of beta-alanine can raise the carnosine content of skeletal muscle by as much as 80%

Carnosine Protects Against LA-Induced Oxidative Stress

One benefit not expounded upon in the Pharmaceuticals paper is carnosine’s ability to reduce LA-induced oxidative stress. While your body will slowly eliminate stored LA over time, provided you reduce your intake, carnosine can help reduce the oxidative damage caused by LA while your body is cleaning itself out. I take liposomal carnosine every day before meals to help detoxify LA.

The omega-6 fat LA is highly susceptible to oxidation, and as the fat oxidizes it breaks down into harmful sub-components such as ALEs and oxidized LA metabolites (OXLAMs). These ALEs and OXLAMs are what cause most of the damage.

Carnosine binds to ALEs like a magnet and acts as a sacrificial sink. It’s basically a substitute target for these profoundly damaging molecules. In this way, carnosine allows your body to excrete the ALEs from your body before they damage your mitochondria, DNA or proteins. (Another molecule that protects against LA-induced damage is carbon dioxide). The illustration below shows how carnosine works in this regard.

carnosine sacrificial sink

Carnosine May Be Protective Against a Wide Range of Diseases

A more detailed explanation of how carnosine protects against reactive oxygen species (ROS) and how that helps protect against oxidative stress-related pathologies is given in a 2021 paper in the journal Antioxidants:14

“A study that examined the effect of carnosine on oxidative stress in human kidney tubular epithelial (HK-2) cells indicated that carnosine decreased NADPH oxidase (NOX) 4 expression and increased total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activity, thus reducing the production of intracellular ROS, relieving the oxidative stress of cells, and ultimately inhibiting the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis.

Ability of carnosine to protect against pathologies characterized by oxidative stress has been shown in a number of conditions … Carnosine changes the reactivity of superoxide anion by forming a charge-transfer complex with the superoxide radical and also by reducing the efficiency of hydroxyl radicals, creating a compound less reactive than the hydroxyl radical.

One of the mechanisms to protect organisms from oxidative stress is the chelation of transition metals, preventing them from participating in deleterious processes involving ROS … Interestingly, when comparing metals involved in free radical generation, carnosine was found to have a greater antioxidant activity coupled with copper than iron …

At physiological concentrations, carnosine directly reacts with superoxide anion similar to ascorbic acid. In physiological conditions, carnosine was found to reduce oxidative damage and to improve antioxidant activity of different antioxidative enzymes …

Experiments on aged rats showed that therapy with 250 mg/kg/carnosine per day significantly decreased oxidative stress and increased activity of antioxidative enzymes … In similar model of aged rats, carnosine increased liver vitamin E, which further demonstrates its importance in defending the organism from free radicals.

Rising data indicate that carnosine acts as a scavenger of reactive and cytotoxic carbonyl species including 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE). HNE is an aldehyde generated endogenously by lipid peroxidation of unsaturated fatty acids that act as ‘toxic second messengers,’ extending the harmful potential of free radicals.

HNE is considered an important biomarker of oxidative stress and accumulating data indicate that it may modulate signaling pathways of cell proliferation, apoptosis, and inflammation.”

How Carnosine Protects Against Alzheimer’s

As noted in the Pharmaceuticals paper,15 one of the pathologies that carnosine is protective against is Alzheimer’s disease. In my November 2021 interview with Tucker Goodrich, he explained the role of HNE, specifically, in Alzheimer’s, and why it’s so important to get rid of it.

“In heart failure, Alzheimer’s, and AMD [age-related macular degeneration], one of the things they see is an inability of the cell to produce enough energy. The mitochondria are getting damaged. HNE does that damage. It damages 24% of the proteins in the cell, primarily around energy production.

One of the ways your cells produce energy is they basically ferment glucose into pyruvate outside of the mitochondria. This is a perfectly normal part of metabolism and they produce something called pyruvate. A molecule called pyruvate dehydrogenase takes pyruvate into the mitochondria and converts it to acetyl-CoA so the mitochondria can burn it very efficiently for fuel.

Well, one of the things HNE does is it breaks pyruvate dehydrogenase, and they see this in Alzheimer’s where their cells are no longer able to produce enough energy. This is why your cells are dying in Alzheimer’s.

The beta amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease are induced by HNE. There’s a great model that came out of Harvard a couple of years ago showing that.

Even the critical, the most important part of the mitochondria, complex 5, — ADP synthase — which is what takes all the energy coming from your mitochondria and turns it into ATP, which is what fuels the rest of your body — is damaged by HNE. This is a huge issue. There’s no more fundamental problem in aging and health than protein damage.”

Carnosine is the most effective scavenger of HNE, so optimizing your level can go a long way toward protecting against the HNE-induced damage that promotes Alzheimer’s.

Carnosine — A Promising Therapeutic for Obesity-Related Conditions

Elevated HNE has also been found in obese and diabetic patients,16 so there’s reason to suspect carnosine can be important in the treatment of these conditions as well. Another disease where elevated HNE plays a role is atherosclerosis. As noted in the 2021 Antioxidants paper:17

“… emerging studies have indicated that these reactive aldehydes are more than simply markers of oxidative stress.

Rather, it is suggested that these reactive species may play a significant pathogenic role in obesity-associated disorders such as insulin resistance and a carnosine analog alleviates the production or enhances the removal of reactive carbonyl species, providing promising new therapeutic compounds for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases related to obesity.”

Take Control of Your Health by Lowering Your LA Intake

As detailed in several previous articles, the evidence strongly suggests excessive LA is driving most if not all modern diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Fortunately, the solution is simple. Just lower your LA intake.

The easiest way to do this is to use an online nutritional calculator such as Cronometer to calculate your daily intake. Cronometer will tell you how much omega-6 you’re getting from your food down to the 10th of a gram, and you can assume 90% of that is LA. Anything over 10 grams is likely to cause problems. I keep my intake below 5 grams a day.

Since there’s no downside to limiting your LA, you’ll want to keep it as low as possible, which you do by avoiding high-LA foods. Keep in mind you’ll never be able to get to zero, and you wouldn’t want to do that either. You do need some LA, but since it’s found in most foods, and since you need only small amounts, there’s really no way to end up with a deficiency.

from:    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2024/02/05/liposomal-carnosine.aspx?ui=f460707c057231d228aac22d51b97f2a8dcffa7b857ec065e5a5bfbcfab498ac&sd=20211017&cid_source=dnl&cid_medium=email&cid_content=art1ReadMore&cid=20240205_HL2&foDate=true&mid=DM1527161&rid=2037668808

Taking Care of Your Health

Protect Yourself From Disease and Outrageous Medical Costs

Analysis by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked

In the U.S., 66.5% of bankruptcies are due to medical bills, which amounts to 530,000 medical bankruptcies each year.1 Among those who file bankruptcy due to medical expenses, 72% have health insurance,2,3 highlighting the outrageous state of health care in America.

If you end up in the hospital, you know you’re going to receive a bill — but you don’t typically know how much that bill will be. It’s no wonder that two-thirds of adults worry about being able to afford surprise medical bills like these.4,5

In fact, in a survey of public financial worries, being able to afford unexpected medical bills topped the list, followed by concerns about paying for health insurance deductibles and prescription drugs.6 Staying healthy by taking control of your health is key to avoiding this medical bill debt trap.

Big Pharma Manipulates Patents to Drive Up Drug Costs

If U.S. medical costs seem sky-high, it’s not in your imagination. Big Pharma keeps drug costs elevated due to patents, which last 20 years, and sometimes up to 40, preventing competitors from introducing less expensive generics to the market.7 A report from I-Mak analyzed the 12 best-selling drugs in the U.S., finding that their makers file hundreds of patent applications, most of which are granted.8

While U.S. patent law intends patents to provide 10 years of protection, the mass patents allow drug makers to monopolize the market and drive up costs. “These patents are used by drugmakers for the purpose of forestalling generic competition while continuing to increase the price of these drugs,” I-Mak reported.9

On average, among the top 12 drugs studied, there were 125 applications filed and 71 patents granted per drug. Prices also increased 68% since 2012. According to I-Mak, “There are 38 years of attempted patent protection blocking generic competition sought by drugmakers for each of these top grossing drugs — or nearly double the 20-year monopoly intended under U.S. patent law.”10

Hospitals Charge You Up to 18 Times Over Their Cost

It’s not only drug costs that are bankrupting Americans. Hospital stays can also lead to financial ruin — and it’s easy to see why when you realize the price-gouging going on. In “Fleecing Patients,”11 National Nurses United highlighted that the 100 most expensive U.S. hospitals charge patients from $1,129 to $1,808 for every $100 of their costs.12

That is 11.3 to 18 times what their actual costs are. Many companies, like grocery stores, typically operate on margins of 1 to 3% profits,13 or 0.1 to 0.3 times their costs.

“There is no excuse for these scandalous prices. These are not markups for luxury condo views, they are for the most basic necessity of your life: your health,” Jean Ross, RN, president of National Nurses United, said in a news release, adding:14

“Unpayable charges are a calamity for our patients, too many of whom avoid — at great risk to their health — the medical care they need due to the high cost, or they become burdened by devastating debt, hounded by bill collectors or driven into bankruptcy.”

It’s gotten so bad that 30% of adults in one survey said they had to choose between paying for medical bills or necessities like food and housing.15 Hospitals then go after patients who can’t pay. In Maryland alone, one of the only states to publish such data, hospitals have filed more than 145,000 medical debt lawsuits in the last decade, trying to recover $268.7 million.16

5 Keys to Take Control of Your Health

I’ve long recommended staying out of hospitals as much as possible to protect your health. But doing so will also protect your pocketbook. While you should always seek medical care when you need it — especially in cases of emergency — I am going to list the most powerful lifestyle strategies I know that you can take to radically reduce your likelihood of getting sick and ending up saddled with oppressive medical debt that can lead to bankruptcy.

Assiduously following these recommendations will go a long way to immunizing you against all chronic diseases that are the primary reason most people wind up in the hospital.

1.Get one hour of daily sunshine — Head outdoors for a daily dose of sunshine as often as possible. Ideally, seek to get one hour of sun exposure daily with minimal clothing. If you spend more time in the sun, the rates of many types of cancers would radically decrease and there would be fewer cardiovascular disease deaths.17

One of the primary benefits is that your skin produces vitamin D in response to sun exposure. Vitamin D upregulates your ability to fight infections, as well as chronic inflammation, and produces over 200 antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), one of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic.

The cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP, is made by immune cells and skin and gut cells, which act as a barrier to infection.18,19 Beyond vitamin D, which may serve as more of a marker for proper sun exposure, getting out in the sun is involved in melatonin production.

Near-infrared rays from the sun penetrate deep into your body and activate cytochrome c oxidase, and also stimulate the production of melatonin inside your mitochondria. Your mitochondria produce ATP, the energy currency of your body. A byproduct of this ATP production is reactive oxidative species (ROS), which are responsible for oxidative stress.

Excessive amounts of ROS will damage the mitochondria, contributing to suboptimal health, inflammation and chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and thrombosis (blood clots). But melatonin essentially mops up ROS that damage your mitochondria. So, by getting plenty of sun exposure during the day, your mitochondria will be bathed in melatonin, thereby reducing oxidative stress.20,21

2.Eliminate seed oils from your diet

You might be concerned about getting skin cancer from all the sun exposure in the first recommendation, but it turns out that the primary reason for getting skin cancer is related to the amount of linoleic acid (LA) that is in your skin. It is really hard to get any cancer, including skin cancer, if you have low LA levels.

I would strongly recommend that you view the video above even if you have previously seen it, as it will remind you of the vital importance of this strategy and, more importantly, how to properly implement a low LA diet.

Linoleic acid is the primary fat found in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including vegetable/seed oils. It accounts for about 80% of the fat composition of these oils. Examples of seed oils high in omega-6 include soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, rapeseed (canola), corn and safflower.22

The single best comprehensive rule to follow is to avoid virtually all processed foods. If you simply do that you will be in the ball park and will only need some fine tweaks that are reviewed in the video above.

3.Avoid all processed foods — LA is found in virtually every processed food, including restaurant foods, sauces and salad dressings, so to eliminate it you’ll need to eliminate most processed foods and restaurant foods from your diet — unless you can confirm that the chef only cooks with butter.

Processed convenience foods are linked to an increased risk of developing and dying from cancer,23 and they contribute to premature death.24 Yet, 61% of Americans’ food intake comes in the form of highly processed foods and drinks. The amount is similar in Canada (62%) and the U.K. (63%).25

When you cut processed foods from your diet, not only will you drastically reduce LA but also other toxic additives, such as emulsifiers and artificial sweeteners, which can lead to pathophysiological changes such as impaired glucose tolerance, neuroinflammation and oxidative stress.26 Eating processed junk foods is also linked to metabolic syndrome and all-cause mortality,27 along with cognitive decline28 and depression.29

One caveat, because animals are fed grains that are high in linoleic acid,30 it’s also hidden in “healthy” foods like chicken and pork, which makes these meats a major source as well. Olive oil is another health food that can be a hidden source of linoleic acid, as it’s often cut with cheaper seed oils.

4.Walk one hour a day — Daily movement is another critical element of health and longevity. Ideally, walk outdoors, so you can combine No. 1 — sun exposure — with your exercise. Walking is a powerful form of activity for a number of reasons. It’s free and accessible — you can do it virtually anywhere. And it’s gentle enough that most people can engage in it, even if you’re out of shape and haven’t exercised in a while.

Walking even 8,000 steps once or twice a week is associated with significantly lower all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk.31 People who participate in outdoor walking groups also enjoy significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat, depression scores and body mass index, along with increases in VO2max, a marker of fitness level.32

Any type of walking appears beneficial, but if you want to increase intensity, Nordic walking, which involves walking with fixed-length ski poles, leads to even greater increases in functional capacity — or the ability to carry out activities related to daily living — compared to other forms of exercise, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training (MICT).33

5.Improve mitochondrial function — Your mitochondrial health plays a vital role in longevity and disease prevention. To put it simply, if your mitochondria are not functioning well, nothing else will either. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells, producing about 85% of the energy generated in your body.

There are a number of ways to optimize your mitochondrial function, but one element is niacinamide (aka nicotinamide), a form of niacin (vitamin B3) that plays a vital role in energy metabolism. It’s essential for the mitochondrial electron transport chain to function. Without it, your mitochondria cannot make energy.

Niacinamide is so important because it is a precursor for NAD+, which is involved in the conversion of food to energy, maintaining DNA integrity and ensuring proper cell function. NAD+ is also a primary fuel for PARP, which is an important DNA repair enzyme. NAD+ also fuels the conversion of cortisol to its inactive form, cortisone.

Niacinamide at a dose of 50 milligrams three times per day will provide the fuel for the rate limiting enzyme for NAD+, NAMPT. Niacinamide also has potent antiobesity effects, can help prevent neurodegeneration and heart failure, and reverse leaky gut.

I recommend getting niacinamide in powder form because the lowest available dose in most supplements is 500 mg, and that will decrease NAD+ due to negative feedback on NAMPT, which is the opposite of what you’re looking for.

Niacinamide will only cost you about 25 cents a month if you get it as a powder. Typically, one-sixty-fourth of a teaspoon of niacinamide powder is about 50 mg. There is a company, though, that has just created an inexpensive 50 mg tablet for convenience.

I also recommend taking about one aspirin tablet daily. Aspirin plays a role in mitochondria function34 and also has other health benefits. Importantly, it helps increase the oxidation of glucose as fuel for your body while inhibiting the oxidation of fatty acids, specifically linoleic acid. I know this one seems silly, but it really does work to prevent so many diseases and it is dirt cheap. Aspirin has been (and still is) the target of a massive discrediting campaign by Pharma as it competes with newer, far more expensive blood thinners and pain relievers.

I will have a very comprehensive article in the future describing the justification for this recommendation. It is important to understand though that you want to take a very pure aspirin as frequently it is the other ingredients in the cheap aspirin tablets that cause complications. I take one that is 99.5% USP which is a pharmaceutical grade and take three of their scoops a day.

If you are taking it for blood thinning the dose is a baby aspirin (85 mg) per day. If you are using it for disease prevention it would be one regular aspirin. Ideally get a clean version of aspirin. You can find a bottle of 1000 on Amazon that only has corn starch. If you are sensitive to aspirin, it would be best to use a salicylic acid or willow bark supplement, as this is the active ingredient. Look for a clean, high-quality willow bark supplement.

By taking the five steps above, you can significantly improve your health — inexpensively — and reduce your risk of chronic disease. In turn, you’re less likely to require expensive medical treatments that put both your physical and financial health at risk.