The Potential of Carnosine in Brain-Related Disorders: A Comprehensive Review of Current Evidence

Nutrients. 2019 May 28;11(6):1196. doi: 10.3390/nu11061196.


Neurological, neurodegenerative, and psychiatric disorders represent a serious burden because of their increasing prevalence, risk of disability, and the lack of effective causal/disease-modifying treatments. There is a growing body of evidence indicating potentially favourable effects of carnosine, which is an over-the-counter food supplement, in peripheral tissues. Although most studies to date have focused on the role of carnosine in metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, the physiological presence of this di-peptide and its analogues in the brain together with their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier as well as evidence from in vitro, animal, and human studies suggest carnosine as a promising therapeutic target in brain disorders. In this review, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the role of carnosine in neurological, neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative, and psychiatric disorders, summarizing current evidence from cell, animal, and human cross-sectional, longitudinal studies, and randomized controlled trials.

Keywords: -alanine; L-histidine; brain; carnosine; cognition; nervous system; neurology; psychiatry; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Brain Diseases / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / psychology
  • Carnosine / adverse effects
  • Carnosine / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / adverse effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Carnosine