David Tomen
David Tomen
12 minute read
L-Carnosine improves cognition, memory, energy levels, prevents brain cell death, and is anti-aging.

L-Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) is a natural histidine containing dipeptide amino acid and the other being beta-alanine. Carnosine is found throughout your body. The highest concentrations are in high energy demand areas such as your brain, heart and muscles.

L-Carnosine is known as the ‘longevity molecule’. But don’t let that put you off if you’re not concerned about anti-aging. Carnosine levels decrease with age – starting at age 10! And decrease by 63% by the time you reach 70 years.[i]

L-Carnosine is one of the most powerful antioxidants known. It’s a heavy-metal scavenger. It’s a super auto-regulator. And it stands alone when it comes to preventing and reversing advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and cross-linking. And it’s highly concentrated in your brain.

Your brain uses l-carnosine to repair tissue and clear away toxins. And increase the energy output of your mitochondria. It suppresses excess immune responses when your immune system is in hyper mode. And it stimulates the immune response if you have a weakened immune system.

L-Carnosine helps:

  • Neuro-repair: L-Carnosine prevents and reverses the damage done by advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are created in your brain by sugars binding to amino acids, and caused by a variety of things including certain food and cooking techniques. Affecting word recall, response time, and cognition.
  • Brain Energy: L-Carnosine can revive mitochondria. And even rescue your brain cells if the mitochondria have stopped functioning.
  • Neuroprotectant: L-Carnosine has a powerful antioxidant effect in your brain. It continues to prevent oxidative damage even after brain cells have been attacked by free radicals. Preventing brain cell death and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.


l-carnosine for longevity

L-Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) is a dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. Carnosine is found throughout your body. The highest concentrations are in high energy demand areas such as your brain, heart and muscles. (Don’t mistake l-carnosine for l-carnitine).

L-Carnosine is known as the ‘longevity molecule’ and targets several major processes in your brain and body. It removes heavy metals which accumulate in, and damage brain cells causing diseases like Alzheimer’s.[ii] And it prevents cross-linking of proteins which cause the neurofibrillary tangles found in Alzheimer’s.[iii]

L-Carnosine fights mitochondrial dysfunction by relieving oxidative stress caused by accumulation of free radicals in cells.[iv]

This not only works in your brain cells. L-Carnosine is used by athletes to achieve better results. Its buffering nature contributes to the acid-base balance in muscles.

Researchers have found l-carnosine restores neurotransmitter receptors. Receptors that were damaged from stroke or glutamate toxicity.[v]

And l-carnosine reduces damage to telomeres. These caps on the end of DNA strands shorten with each cell replication. This natural, ongoing process is used for example in long-term potentiation needed to form memories. L-carnosine slows the rate of shortening of telomeres.[vi]

Some l-carnosine is naturally produced in your body by the enzyme carnosine synthetase. And you can get l-carnosine from food – primarily from red meat and poultry. But a typical meal provides only about 250 mg of carnosine. It’s then quickly degraded in your body by the carnosinase enzyme.

This means carnosine from food doesn’t last long enough in your body to provide much benefit. And if you’re a vegetarian, you won’t be getting much carnosine other than what’s naturally produced in your body.

Supplementing with at least 1,000 mg of l-carnosine per day overwhelms that carnosinase enzyme. Allowing you to maintain consistent blood levels of this vital nutrient.

L-Carnosine is anti-aging brain nutrition

How does L-Carnosine Work in the Brain?

L-Carnosine boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. L-Carnosine is critical for brain health. L-Carnosine’s antioxidant, neuroprotective, chelating, and anti-glycation activity not only maintains optimal brain health. This dipeptide can be used to prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, diseases of the sense organs (i.e. eyes) and cancer.[vii]

L-Carnosine has been shown to reduce oxidative and glycemic stress.[viii] And it reduces inflammation. L-carnosine reduces the accumulation of b-amyloid plaque which plays a role in cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s. And it helps remove heavy metals that cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in brain cells.[ix]

  1. L-Carnosine is required for healthy mitochondria. In your brain, you can have thousands of mitochondria in each cell. And they pump out energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). 20% of your body’s total ATP is located in your brain.

Glycation during this energy production reduces the functionality and efficiency of mitochondria. This is turn can cause apoptosis (cell death).[x] Glycation happens when proteins or DNA bond chemically to sugar molecules.

These sugar molecules go on to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These AGEs are implicated in Alzheimer’s, skin wrinkles, hardened arteries, and reducing the function of most major organs. Including your brain.

A study in the Netherland was done to examine the association between AGEs and cognitive function. This population-based study also included 215 people with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers tested for global cognitive functioning, information processing speed, verbal memory (immediate and delayed word recall), and response inhibition.

The study found there was a direct correlation with markers measured for AGEs and decreased cognitive performance. And the associations were no different between healthy people and those with diabetes.[xi]

Another study out of the University of California determined that l-carnosine was able to prevent AGEs.[xii]

How things go bad

Free electrons are a byproduct of ATP energy production. These electrons convert oxygen to a highly reactive form capable of damaging brain cells. And wreaking havoc with DNA in the long-term.L-Carnosine supports healthy DNA

If left unchecked, it leads to neurodegenerative disease like memory loss, cognition dysfunction, and eventually diseases like Alzheimer’s.

ATP levels decline in mitochondria

Cognition, learning, memory and recall decline

AGEs damage brain cells

↓ Free radicals damage brain cell mitochondria

All of these changes can happen at any age. And can start at age 10 or earlier (in the case of autism).

So l-carnosine supplementation can help for age-related cognitive decline, as well as anyone who wants to boost cognition, learning, recall and memory.

L-Carnosine benefits

There is a proven high correlation between human lifespan and l-carnosine levels. Having high levels of skeletal muscle carnosine contributes to a number of life-extending activities. As L-Carnosine is highly concentrated in your muscles and brain.

L-Carnosine helps prevent the buildup of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that damage mitochondria. And eventually end in premature cell death.

It is a heavy metal chelator and works by removing heavy metal accumulation in brain cells. L-carnosine is an anti-oxidant and pH buffer in muscle cells preventing lactic acid buildup.

How does L-Carnosine feel?

When you start taking L-Carnosine, you’ll notice younger-looking skin. And you’ll have more energy.

L-Carnosine boosts energyYou should experience a boost in cognition and decision-making capability. Thinking could be more fluid and your motivation may see a boost.

These changes are reported by neurohackers in their 20’s and 30’s as well as the more senior user.

But most of the talk and research on l-carnosine is on its anti-aging and longevity benefits. So what if I told you it also helps fight the flu?

It turns out that the influenza virus raises nitric oxide (NO) and oxygen free radicals such as superoxide anion (O₂⁻˙). When NO and O2 interact, they form peroxynitrite, the pathogen that causes pneumonia.

The excess amount of toxicity and oxygen radicals generated overwhelms your immune system. A study in the American Journal of Therapeutics reports that l-carnosine can put a stop to this overwhelm. And help you avoid or get rid of the flu or cold.

And eating chicken soup to make you feel better when your sick is not an ‘old wife’s tale’ after all. Chicken soup is rich in l-carnosine.[xiii]

L-Carnosine Clinical Research

L-Carnosine improves cognition

Animal and human studies suggest NMDA antagonists worsen executive function. This dysfunction is often caused by glutamate toxicity. And if this persists, you end up with diseases like schizophrenia.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled study worked with 75 adults with schizophrenia. They were stable in their symptoms at the time of the study. Subjects were randomly selected to receive 2 grams of l-carnosine per day for 3 months.

Executive dysfunction, memory, attention and motor speed were assessed at the beginning, and at 4 and 12 weeks. The l-carnosine group performed much better in executive function tests. And were better at strategy with fewer errors than the placebo group.[xiv]

L-Carnosine improves autism symptoms in children

L-Carnosine enhances frontal lobe function in your brain. And acts as a neuroprotectant. It also works with GABA for an anticonvulsive effect.

This double-blind study work with 31 children with autism for 8 weeks. They were given 800 mg of l-carnosine per day. The scientists then used several autism rating scales to measure results.

After 8 weeks of l-carnosine use, the children showed significant improvement in behavior, sociability, communication and vocabulary. The researchers concluded that l-carnosine enhanced neurologic function.[xv]

L-Carnosine is anti-aging

In 1965, Dr. Leonard Hayflick found that human cells have a limited capacity to divide. After which they become ‘senescent’. This is now known as the “Hayflick Limit”.

L-Carnosine slows brain cell apostosisHayflick discovered that your cells go through 3 phases. This first is rapid cell division called ‘mitosis’. The 2nd is where mitosis slows. And the 3rd stage is ‘senescence’ where the cell stops dividing entirely. They remain alive for a while and then do a particularly disturbing thing. They commit suicide. This programmed cell death is called ‘apoptosis’.

This cell life cycle occurs throughout your body and its trillions of cells. Including in your brain. But what if there was some way to slow down this programmed cell death?

Turns out there is. And it’s called L-Carnosine. Researchers at Sydney Laboratory in Australia found that l-carnosine extended cell life. They put cultured aged human cells in a petri dish with carnosine. The cells reverted back to juvenile cells.

When they put those same newly rejuvenated cells in a culture that had no carnosine, they reverted back to their old self again. Put them back in carnosine and they got young again.[xvi]

This experiment has been done again and again in labs around the world. Establishing l-carnosine as the best anti-aging thing since Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth right here in Florida (where I’m writing this article).L-Carnosine is an anti-aging fountain of youth

David Guetta thinks that Miami is “the sexiest city in the world”. Could be that everybody in Miami is using l-carnosine.

L-Carnosine Recommended Dosage

Recommended L-Carnosine dosage is up to 1,000 mg per day.

To keep a consistent level of L-Carnosine in your body, split your dose into two 500 mg doses. One in the morning and one later in the afternoon.

One important note on L-Carnosine. When you supplement with L-Carnosine it binds to aldehydes. Preventing them from making proteins. The byproduct is lipofuscin. This age pigment is not dangerous. But shows up as brown spots on your brain, skin and other organs.

As lipofuscin builds up over time, and this process is accelerated when using l-carnosine, it can interfere with proper organ and cellular functions.

This is why I recommend stacking L-Carnosine with CDP-Choline (Citicoline) and acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR). CDP-Choline provides a choline molecule for the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh). And ALCAR works as a cofactor in this synthesis as well as boosting mitochondrial energy production while acting as a neuroprotectant.

You can also try adding DMAE with CDP-Choline and ALCAR which helps flush lipofuscin from your brain and body. So stack your daily dose of 1,000 mg of L-Carnosine with CDP-Choline, DMAE and ALCAR at their recommended doses.

L-Carnosine is water-soluble so you don’t need to take it with a meal, or healthy fat like some nootropics.

L-Carnosine Side Effects

Carnosine is considered an extremely non-toxic and safe. High doses can cause insomnia. And L-Carnosine can cause a stimulant effect. So take your 2nd dose before evening.

Type of L-Carnosine to Buy

L-Carnosine comes in powder, capsule, tablet and liquid form.

Most major supplement manufacturers offer 500 mg tablets or capsules.

But make sure you read the labels and get L-Carnosine in its natural form. Some manufacturers will try to fool you by calling their synthetic carnosine natural sounding names like “nature-identical”. But lab created l-carnosine is not the real thing and not nearly as bioavailable.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

L-Carnosine 1,000 mg per day

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend using L-Carnosine as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does make some L-Carnosine on its own from the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. And you can get small quantities from red meat and poultry. But it’s easily and quickly broken down by the enzyme carnosine synthetase.

So to get its benefits, and enough to overwhelm the carnosinase enzyme, you must take it as a supplement.

L-Carnosine is especially helpful for repairing brain cells at the mitochondria level. It removes heavy metals, works as a very powerful antioxidant, and gets rid of AGEs.

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) kill brain cells. Foods that are high in AGEs include roasted, fried, sautéed and barbecued meats, nuts and tofu. Those fries you had for lunch? Brain cell death.

Your natural production of L-Carnosine starts to drop at age 10. So anyone will benefit from supplementing with this anti-aging nutrient.

L-Carnosine helps control blood glucose levels, prevent Alzheimer’s, wound healing, protects from the side effects of chemo therapy, alcohol-induced liver damage, combatting heart disease, and eye health by protecting or repairing cataracts.

L-Carnosine is also particularly useful if you’re dealing with autism or Alzheimer’s. For autism, dose up to 800 mg per day. For Alzheimer’s, dose at least 1,000 mg per day.

And don’t forget to stack your daily L-Carnosine dose with DMAE and ALCAR. (See Dosage Notes)

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Stuerenburg H.J., Kunze K. “Concentrations of free carnosine (a putative membrane-protective antioxidant) in human muscle biopsies and rat muscles.” Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 1999 Sep-Oct;29(2):107-13. (source)

[ii] Hipkiss A.R. “Could carnosine or related structures suppress Alzheimer’s disease?” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2007 May;11(2):229-40. (source)

[iii] Wang A.M., Ma C., Xie Z.H., Shen F. “Use of carnosine as a natural anti-senescence drug for human beings.” Biochemistry. 2000 Jul;65(7):869-71. (source)

[iv] Nagai K., Niijima A., Yamano T., Otani H., Okumra N., Tsuruoka N., Nakai M., Kiso Y. “Possible role of L-carnosine in the regulation of blood glucose through controlling autonomic nerves.” Experimental and Biological Medicine (Maywood). 2003 Nov;228(10):1138-45. (source)

[v] Khama-Murad A.Kh., Mokrushin A.A., Pavlinova L.I. “Neuroprotective properties of l-carnosine in the brain slices exposed to autoblood in the hemorrhagic stroke model in vitro.” Regulatory Peptides. 2011 Feb 25;167(1):65-9 (source)

[vi] Shao L., Li Q.H., Tan Z. “L-carnosine reduces telomere damage and shortening rate in cultured normal fibroblasts.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 2004 Nov 12;324(2):931-6. (source)

[vii] Budzeń S., Rymaszewska J. “The biological role of carnosine and its possible applications in medicine.” Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine. 2013 Sep-Oct;22(5):739-44. (source)

[viii] Kohen R., Yamamoto Y., Cundy K.C., Ames B.N.. “Antioxidant activity of carnosine, homocarnosine, and anserine present in muscle and brain.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA Vol. 85, pp. 3175-3179, May 1988. (source)

[ix] Brown C.E., Antholine W.E. “Chelation chemistry of carnosine. Evidence that mixed complexes may occur in vivo” The Journal of Physical Chemistry 1979, 83 (26), pp 3314–3319 (source)

[x] Alikhani Z., Alikhani M., Boyd C.M., Nagao K., Trackman P.C., Graves D.T. “Advanced glycation end products enhance expression of pro-apoptotic genes and stimulate fibroblast apoptosis through cytoplasmic and mitochondrial pathways.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2005 Apr 1;280(13):12087-95. (source)

[xi] Spauwen P.J. et. Al. “Associations of advanced glycation end-products with cognitive functions in individuals with and without type 2 diabetes: the maastricht study.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2015 Mar;100(3):951-60. (source)

[xii] Pepper E.D., Farrell M.J., Nord G., Finkel S.E. “Antiglycation effects of carnosine and other compounds on the long-term survival of Escherichia coli.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2010 Dec;76(24):7925-30. (source)

[xiii] Babizhayev M.A., Deyev A.I. “Management of the virulent influenza virus infection by oral formulation of nonhydrolized carnosine and isopeptide of carnosine attenuating proinflammatory cytokine-induced nitric oxide production.” American Journal of Therapeutics. 2012 Jan;19(1):e25-47 (source)

[xiv] Chengappa K.N. et. Al. “A preliminary, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of L-carnosine to improve cognition in schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia Research. 2012 Dec;142(1-3):145-52. (source)

[xv] Chez M.G., Buchanan C.P., Aimonovitch M.C., Becker M., Schaefer K., Black C., Komen J. “Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of L-carnosine supplementation in children with autistic spectrum disorders.”Journal of Child Neurology. 2002 Nov;17(11):833-7. (source)

[xvi] McFarland G.A., Holliday R. “Further evidence for the rejuvenating effects of the dipeptide L-carnosine on cultured human diploid fibroblasts.” Experimental Gerontology. 1999 Jan;34(1):35-45. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 153 comments

Matthew Mitchell
September 11, 2018

Hi David,

Just watched your video on YouTube about L-Carnosine and you talked a bit about how the supplement causes brown spots on skin and organs, and what to take to offset those spots.

Can I take L-Carnosine for a month or so and see if I feel the effects of it before investing in the two other supplements you recommend or will the spots start to appear quickly?

    David Tomen
    September 12, 2018

    Matthew, the byproduct is called lipofuscin which shows up as “age spots” on your skin and internally on your organs. I use DMAE to get rid of lipofuscin. But you can certainly use L-Carnosine for a month to see how you like it without worrying about lipofuscin. It’s long-term use I would be concerned about.

Jeff D
August 13, 2018

DMAE is banned in my Country but I think Centrophenoxine is allowed in. Would Centrophenoxine be as good for flushing lipofuscin?

    David Tomen
    August 13, 2018

    Yes, Centrophenoxine can help get rid of lipofuscin.

June 19, 2018

Hello. In this post you mentioned that “Both DMAE and ALCAR help flush lipofuscin from your brain and body. So stack your daily dose of 1,000 mg of l-carnosine with DMAE and ALCAR at their recommended doses.”
However under DMAE post you do NOT recommend using DMAE at all: “We do NOT recommend using DMAE as a nootropicsupplement. But if you must use DMAE, refer to the “Dosage Notes” and “Side Effects” in this post.”
So which one is it. If I want to supplement with Carnosine- should I or should I not add DMAE to flush those increasingly made lipofuscin?

    David Tomen
    June 19, 2018

    Marffetka, thanks for pointing this out. I personally use DMAE to help flush out lipofuscin but take a 2-day break every week. I need to update that post and will do so to eliminate the confusion.

      June 21, 2018

      So, let me clarify this. It’s ok adding DMAE to L- Carnosine consumption, however not for everyday use..
      Is that because it inhibits choline?What if one adds a source of choline or omega 3 as you said, then is it ok to take it every day?

        David Tomen
        June 21, 2018

        If you use a choline source like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline everyday then you could also use DMAE everyday. I personally use Alpha GPC and L-Carnosine every day with good results. But still take two days off every week from DMAE.

        July 4, 2018

        Sorry to bug you again. Can you explain why you chose Alpha GPC iver CDP-Choline ?
        Thank you.
        And if I am only starting my supplement journey should I first start Carnosine and then add DMAE or start them together with a source of Choline all at once? The reason I ask if I don’t feel well I would like to know which ingredient makes me feel odd….

        July 4, 2018

        And if I use both of them to make sure the levels are sufficient – is there no harm or you can have Choline overdose or smth else might get out of balance?

        David Tomen
        July 5, 2018

        Use L-Carnosine with DMAE to get the L-Carnosine anti-aging benefits and DMAE to reduce the lipofuscin produced. I use Alpha GPC as a separate supplement because my brain seems to respond to it better than CDP-Choline. That came by trial and error. But I do get CDP-Choline as well although in smaller amounts by using Mind Lab Pro.

        You can’t ‘overdose’ on choline. But if you get too much you’ll start to feel unnaturally sleepy or fatigued. If that happens just reduce your dose.

April 30, 2018

Hi, I came across your wonderful vid presentations & really enjoy them, I am a physical therapist & deal with Parkinson’s, strokes, neuropathy, spinal stenosis, MS and other neurological conditions, I am especially interested in supplements that would help the nervous system to reduce muscle rigidity/ spasticity, improve endurance, coordination & cognition.

I understand taking supplements is not a treatment for such condition but would help augment treatment for such difficult cases, the less physical activities for such cases the more the chances of becoming bedridden which is exactly what I want to prevent with my clients.
Thank you

    David Tomen
    April 30, 2018

    Ibrahim, thanks for your comment. You’ll find other nootropic supplements that assist issues like Parkinson’s on Nootropics Expert as well. Just use the search function top right and use whatever keyword you are interested in.

October 2, 2017

Appreciate your wisdom & advice & plan to start taking L-carnosine but concerned that build up of lipofuscin is not healthy- do DMAE and
ALCAR really flush all lipofuscin for everyone and what are the recommended doses?

    David Tomen
    October 2, 2017

    Sandy, I have no evidence that DMAE and ALCAR “flush all lipofuscin”. But the evidence is there that they do help a lot. One way to tell is watching the age spots on your skin disappear. Dosage notes for both are here:



    But note that DMAE shouldn’t be used everyday. Please pay close attention to the dosage notes for that nootropic.

Phill H.
August 17, 2017

Is it OK to take l-carnosine w/o the DMAE if I also
use ALCAR?

    David Tomen
    August 17, 2017

    I highly recommend stacking DMAE with L-Carnosine because supplementing with L-Carnosine produces the byproduct lipofuscin. Which causes the brown spots we know as “age spots” on your skin. They also appear in your brain where you can’t see them. Together DMAE and ALCAR help flush lipofuscin from your brain and body.

      Phill H.
      August 18, 2017

      Thanks David. Now I’m learning a lot
      thru utilizing this website the way it’s
      meant to be! Phill

January 26, 2017

What brand of L-Carnosine would you recommend? Is this supplement safe for people with RA?

    David Tomen
    January 27, 2017

    Jules, I’ve ordered and used L-Carnosine from Powder City in the past. I hesitate in recommending them or any vendor because things change that we have no control over. I suggest you check out a couple of vendors. And read the reviews carefully to see if others are satisfied with the product and service.

    What is the “RA” you are referring to?

Pamela Masters
December 13, 2016

Dear David, I recently purchased acetyl L-Carnitine and L- Carnosinefrom Bulk Supplements and I just inquired of them if their product is animal or plant based and they responded it is neither,”… it is synthetic”?!
Is it a viable /workable idea to finish out these large bags (250g) worth – or will it cause any or some stress in my body? I am new at all this, on limited income, and I have a mistake here. Their return policy on opened bags for large sizes is monetarily only that of their smallest size of same product – so I am out over $100. Please advise…
Pamela Masters

    David Tomen
    December 13, 2016

    Pamela, both L-Carnitine and L-Carnosine are amino acids and are primarily commercially manufactured from bacteria. So I suppose it depends on what your definition is of “synthetic”. You can take a look at these two pages for more:



    And if you are a vegetarian or vegan, supplementing with this amino acid can be critical for your mitochondrial health, and as an antioxidant. I use 5 grams per day and love it. And I used to use L-Carnitine for years until I switched to ALCAR.

    I used to get many of my supplements from Bulk Supplements because I trust them and their prices are always competitive. I now use Powder City but for these I don’t think you can go wrong with your original purchase.

      Pamela Masters
      December 14, 2016

      Oh, wow! Thank you for your timely and deeply informative response. Your service to me and others is greatly appreciated – your knowledge bridged so many gaps for me – you addressed it all. What a gift.

        David Tomen
        December 14, 2016

        I’m humbled Pamela. Thank you. Please spread the word if you can. Share Nootropics Expert with anyone you think would benefit from this information. It saved my life and may help others too.

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