Carnosine is one of those neat compounds found exclusively in meat. Just look at the name and it kind of gives you a hint about where it comes from, think “carnivore, carne asada etc… It is a dipeptide consisting of beta alanine and histidine and has a number of pretty cool properties with regard to health, disease prevention and even longevity.
One of the problems with a lot of supposedly healthy compounds we eat is that they largely get destroyed by our digestive system, things like plant anti-oxidants area good example of this. What about carnosine? Well it turns out that we have special dipeptide transporter along our digestive tracts that facilitate the uptake of compounds like carnosine and it has been shown that uptake levels of carnosine are directly proportional to ingested amounts.
That is great news because carnosine has been shown to have a host of beneficial effects that I’ll get into in a moment. It’s also interesting to note that the redder the meat, the higher the levels of carnosine contained inside. One even sees a difference between cattle raised on different feeding systems. A study from 2005 showed New Zealand cattle finished on pasture had higher carnosine levels than ones raised in Washington State in the US of A.
Several studies suggest that carnosine can enhance immune function and it is thought that its enhancement of immune surveillance might be be a potentially mitigating factor cancer growth.
It is pretty well demonstrated that carnosine is a powerful anti-oxidation compound and this has a number of significant implications for disease prevention, to include things like diabetic complication, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia and much more.
Carnosine also seems to benefit muscle function and has been shown to improve both skeletal and cardiac muscle performance, both good things if athletic achievement is among your goals for health.
As you enjoy your next ribeye, preferably cooked to a nice medium rare, remember all that wonderful disease fighting and performance enhancing carnosine you be taking in!