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Carnosine for blood sugar control

If you join together the amino acids l-histadine and beta-alanine, you get the dipeptide called carnosine. Carnosine may have a variety of benefits, and this trial tested carnosine’s specific effect on insulin dynamics.

Study under review: Effects of Carnosine Supplementation on Glucose Metabolism: Pilot Clinical Trial

Introduction

Insulin[1] is the principal hormone that stimulates glycogen synthesis in the liver and muscle, as well as increasing storage of energy as fat by taking up glucose from the blood. During the early stages[2] of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance develops in peripheral tissues of the body, resulting in increased levels of glucose in the blood—hyperglycemia. By increasing insulin production, glucose levels are maintained. However[3], with time, increased insulin production can no longer compensate for insulin resistance and this will result in type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is a major risk factor for insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Although it is largely preventable[4], obesity-induced diabetes[5] is projected to continue rising in the coming decades. Interventions are difficult to implement and require major changes to global public health policies. To counteract this, there are substantial efforts to develop nutritional therapies aimed at preventing obesity-induced type 2 diabetes.

Carnosine[6] is a dipeptide (two amino acids linked together) present in most mammalian tissues. It is particularly concentrated in muscle. Carnosine is formed by carnosine synthase from the amino acids L-histidine and beta-alanine. Despite continued research, the exact functions of carnosine remain somewhat unknown. Recently, there have been several human clinical studies on carnosine supplementation that found significant beneficial effects for exercise physiology[7], improvement of cognition in schizophrenia[8], and enhanced quality of life in people with chronic heart failure[9].

There are also multiple animal studies on carnosine that suggest it may possess many other beneficial properties. These benefits include influencing glucose metabolism[10], enhancing insulin sensitivity, and preventing type 2 diabetes[11] and other cardiovascular risk factors[12]. However, there’s been a lack of human trials to support these animal study observations. The current study seeks to determine if the promising results in animals might also hold up in humans.

Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide found in several tissues but most notably in skeletal muscle. Carnosine supplementation has been claimed to have beneficial roles for exercise physiology, mental illness, cardiovascular disease, and several other age-related pathologies.

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