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Carnosine: The Brain-Protective Amino acid

Conditions like schizophrenia, depression, and autism have low levels of brain antioxidants. Brain antioxidants are helpful in decreasing the oxidative stress or process of rusting inside the brain. Carnosine is an amino acid found in chicken, or meat and is concentrated in different tissues like the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles (1). It's a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects, support brain cells, and improves the cell's energy factories (mitochondria).

Several Clinical Trials Have Shown Benefits like:

*Supplementation with carnosine was effective in the lowering of symptoms in children with autism, particularly in the areas of behavior, socialization, and communication (2).

*Improves hyperactivity and non-compliance when used as an addition to risperidone in children with autism (3). These beneficial effects may help physicians prescribe lower doses of antipsychotics medications, which are well-known for having severe side effects like diabetes and weight gain.

*Improves sleep duration in children with autism (4).

*Improves symptoms when administered with risperidone in patients with schizophrenia. Limited side effects were reported (5).

*Significant anti-depressive effects when administered with citalopram when compared to citalopram and placebo (6).

All these trials were done without addressing possible nutrient deficiencies (vitamin D, omega-3, etc.), avoidance of inflammatory foods, and improved diet.

Clearly,a combination of healthy nutrition with clinically-researched nutrients like carnosine, can be a impactful combination that can boost brain function in children and adults affected by brain-related disorders.

The thinking (mindset) that guides

your intelligence is more important

than the intelligence itself.

David Schwartz

There is hope for Autism!!

David Rivas, RPh, MSc, CCN

Pharmacist and Clinical Nutritionist/Consultant


(1): Chengappa, K. R., Turkin, S. R., DeSanti, S., Bowie, C. R., Brar, J. S., Schlicht, P. J., ... & Fleet, D. (2012). A preliminary, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of L-carnosine to improve cognition in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 142(1-3), 145-152.

(2): Chez, M. G., Buchanan, C. P., Aimonovitch, M. C., Becker, M., Schaefer, K., Black, C., & Komen, J. (2002). Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of L-carnosine supplementation in children with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Child Neurology, 17(11), 833-837.

(3): Hajizadeh-Zaker, R., Ghajar, A., Mesgarpour, B., Afarideh, M., Mohammadi, M. R., & Akhondzadeh, S. (2018). l-Carnosine as an adjunctive therapy to risperidone in children with autistic disorder: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 28(1), 74-81.

(4): Mehrazad‐Saber, Z., Kheirouri, S., & Noorazar, S. G. (2018). Effects of l‐carnosine supplementation on sleep disorders and disease severity in autistic children: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 123(1), 72-77.

(5): Ghajar, A., Khoaie-Ardakani, M. R., Shahmoradi, Z., Alavi, A. R., Afarideh, M., Shalbafan, M. R., ... & Akhondzadeh, S. (2018). L-carnosine as an add-on to risperidone for treatment of negative symptoms in patients with stable schizophrenia: A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Psychiatry Research, 262, 94-101.

(6): Araminia, B., Shalbafan, M., Mortezaei, A., Shirazi, E., Ghaffari, S., Sahebolzamani, E., ... & Naderi, S. (2020). L-Carnosine combination therapy for major depressive disorder: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 267, 131-136.

(7): Schön, M., Mousa, A., Berk, M., Chia, W. L., Ukropec, J., Majid, A., ... & De Courten, B. (2019). The potential of carnosine in brain-related disorders: A comprehensive review of current evidence. Nutrients, 11(6), 1196.

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