September 24th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Carnosine supplements have been around for decades, promoted as a anti-oxidant. But does Carnosine actually play a very significant role in the body for bodybuilders and athletes? The answer may surprise you.

About carnisine:

Carnisine is naturally found in food in small amounts. When it is digested it is broken down by the carnosinase enzyme into the two amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. Once back in the muscle they are then converted back into carnosine.

Carnosine research:

Why do we care about all this? Well two studies, in 95 and 98, showed that carnisine seems to be in much higher concentrations in type 2 fibers. One was done by Harris, the same researcher who helped discover the potential of creatine. These type 2 fibers are responsible for power and significant muscle hypertrophy. Research indicates that carnosines role in the muscle on PH levels may help performance. In other words you can workout longer and harder.

The amino acid beta alanine that carnosine initially converts to, before getting converted back, is actually now a popular bodybuilding supplement. You can read more about beta alanine in a previous article of mine: beta-alanine

Which is better, beta alanine or carnosine?

Since carnosine gets converted to beta-alanine in the body and there seems to be plenty of histidine naturally in the body, you should be able to supplement with either beta alanine or carnosine, and get similiar benefits. One side effect of taking beta alanine instead of carnosone instead however, is that high doses of beta alanine can cause a prickling sensation on the body. Beta alanine is the preferred supplement as it is cheaper and available in bulk powder.