Carno­sine cap­sules could have many uses

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - BRIGID O’CON­NELL

AN OVER-the-counter sup­ple­ment is be­ing tri­alled as a po­ten­tially cheap and safe way of treat­ing a wide range of the most com­mon age and life­style-re­lated dis­eases.

Chronic dis­eases such as type 2 di­a­betes, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, de­men­tia, and cancer could be treated us­ing carno­sine, nat­u­rally oc­curs in the mus­cles, heart and brain of hu­mans and an­i­mals, but not in large enough quan­ti­ties for peo­ple to get enough through their diet. It is sold in cap­sules mar­keted to im­prove ex­er­cise ca­pac­ity and for sug­gested anti-age­ing prop­er­ties.

In­stead of us­ing med­i­ca­tion to im­prove a sin­gle is­sue, Monash Univer­sity re­searchers 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. Now Vic­to­ri­ans will be part of some of the first hu­man clin­i­cal tri­als.

In 84 over­weight and obese adults, and 50 peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes or pre-di­a­betes, carno­sine’s ef­fects will be mea­sured on ev­ery­thing from body fat, blood pres­sure, blood glu­cose, sleep, de­pres­sion and cog­ni­tion.

As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Barbora de Courten said the two tri­als were test­ing the hy­poth­e­sis that carno­sine could im­prove dis­ease mark­ers.

“Un­like a drug that usu­ally works on one path­way and im­proves only one risk fac­tor, carno­sine ac­tu­ally tar­gets the mech­a­nisms un­der­ly­ing many chronic dis­eases. That’s the fas­ci­nat­ing thing about carno­sine,” she said.

“It’s cheap, wa­ter sol­u­ble and easy to mix into foods.

“If it works, it will be easy to im­ple­ment at the pop­u­la­tion level.

“If it works well in sev­eral dif­fer­ent dis­eases you could mix the pow­der into muesli bars or other food prod­ucts.”

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