Amino Acids

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 1477–1491 | Cite as

Carnosine: from exercise performance to health

  • Craig SaleEmail author
  • Guilherme G. Artioli
  • Bruno Gualano
  • Bryan Saunders
  • Ruth M. Hobson
  • Roger C. Harris
Invited Review


Carnosine was first discovered in skeletal muscle, where its concentration is higher than in any other tissue. This, along with an understanding of its role as an intracellular pH buffer has made it a dipeptide of interest for the athletic population with its potential to increase high-intensity exercise performance and capacity. The ability to increase muscle carnosine levels via β-alanine supplementation has spawned a new area of research into its use as an ergogenic aid. The current evidence base relating to the use of β-alanine as an ergogenic aid is reviewed here, alongside our current thoughts on the potential mechanism(s) to support any effect. There is also some emerging evidence for a potential therapeutic role for carnosine, with this potential being, at least theoretically, shown in ageing, neurological diseases, diabetes and cancer. The currently available evidence to support this potential therapeutic role is also reviewed here, as are the potential limitations of its use for these purposes, which mainly focusses on issues surrounding carnosine bioavailability.


ß-alanine Carnosine Exercise performance Health 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig Sale
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guilherme G. Artioli
    • 2
  • Bruno Gualano
    • 2
  • Bryan Saunders
    • 2
  • Ruth M. Hobson
    • 1
  • Roger C. Harris
    • 3
  1. 1.Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Group, Biomedical, Life and Health Sciences Research Centre, School of Science and TechnologyNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK
  2. 2.School of Physical Education and SportsUniversity of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Junipa Ltd.SuffolkUK

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