Could carnosine, an over-the-counter food supplement, be a possible alternative for chronic disease prevention?

Monash researchers are trialling an over-the-counter supplement, carnosine, as a cheap and safe way to treat a wide range of common age and lifestyle-related diseases. Project Lead, Professor Barbora de Courten, explains.

Instead of using medication to improve a single risk factor or disease pathway, Monash University researchers at Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) are taking a different tack to disease prevention, testing whether carnosine can target the actual mechanisms that drive several chronic diseases.

More than 2000 studies in animals and cells have shown its beneficial effects in preventing and treating age-related chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer, and delaying ageing.

Now Victorians can take part in a trial to determine the effect of carnosine supplements; patients with type 2 diabetes as well as a separate trial looking at the effects on overweight and obese people, at Monash Medical Centre, Clayton.

Carnosine is an endogenous dipeptide, found in skeletal muscle, heart and brain. The human body required 500 – 3500mg of carnosine for necessary biological effects; however, our daily diets only provide 50 – 250mg of carnosine through meat and fish intake, which is ten times lower than the daily requirement. Carnosine supplement is therefore available over-the-counter in Europe and USA but not yet in Australia. Several animal and limited human studies suggest carnosine has all the relevant properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anti-glycation and chelating roles, which are needed for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases including diabetes.

Alongside my team I am currently conducting comprehensive clinical trials to determine these effects in healthy overweight or obese individuals and patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes at Monash Medical Centre, Clayton.

You are invited to participate in these studies if you are:

  • Between 18 and 70
  • Have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes as diagnosed by your GP (controlled by diet or Metformin only) OR are overweight/obese
  • Not taking regular medications
  • Otherwise healthy
  • Non-smoker, non-drug takers and non-high alcohol intake
  • Able to attend the clinic in Clayton (3 visits)

You can learn more about the trial here, and about carnosine as reported on National Nine News and if you are interested, please call +61 3 8572 2629 or email med-carnosineir@monash.edu.