Carnosine in health and disease

Eur J Sport Sci. 2019 Feb;19(1):30-39. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1444096. Epub 2018 Mar 4.


Carnosine was originally discovered in skeletal muscle, where it exists in larger amounts than in other tissues. The majority of research into the physiological roles of carnosine have been conducted on skeletal muscle. Given this and the potential for muscle carnosine content to be increased with supplementation, there is now a large body of research examining the ergogenic effects (or otherwise) of carnosine. More recent research, however, points towards a potential for carnosine to exert a wider range of physiological effects in other tissues, including the brain, heart, pancreas, kidney and cancer cells. Taken together, this is suggestive of a potential for carnosine to have therapeutic benefits in health and disease, although this is by no means without complication. Herein, we will provide a review of the current literature relating to the potential therapeutic effects of carnosine in health and disease.

Keywords: Health; metabolism; nutrition; physiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury
  • Aging
  • Brain
  • Carnosine / physiology*
  • Cognition
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Heart
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Neoplasms
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Pancreas
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / pharmacology*


  • Performance-Enhancing Substances
  • Carnosine