Do Vegans Need Carnosine / Beta-Alanine?

at a glance

– Carnosine is a powerful antioxidant; Research suggests it protects against the long term build up of damaging proteins in the brain, and may help lower anxiety.

– In the body it may help reduce fat mass, fatigue, and improve endurance.

– Some preliminary research indicates vegans may have 50% less carnosine as it is only found in animal sources.

– The precursor, Beta-Alanine is a more easily absorbed and can result in higher levels on carnosine in the blood.

what is carnosine and do vegans get enough

Carnosine is an antioxidant found in high levels in the brain and muscles. As it’s name suggests, it is a carninutrient; not found in plant based foods.

Vegans can however make it from the precursor Beta-Alanine, although some preliminary research suggests vegans tend to have about 50% less than omnivores. Soybeans are a good source of Beta-Alanine.

Carnosine has been shown to increase some aspects of athletic performance.2 There is good evidence that it improves endurance, reduces fatigue, reduces fat mass and increases lean mass.3 Weightlifters reported a 1-2 rep increase when performing sets of 8-15 according to

Studies suggest carnosine may help lower anxiety, and boost performance in high stress conditions.4 It may also play a protective role in many brain disorders.5

Carnosine can play a role in preventing the damage caused by ageing; by stopping the binding of sugars with proteins to create ‘glyocsylated proteins’. These glycosylated proteins can accumulate in the body and cause inflammation, neurodegeneration, a build up of unwanted heavy metals.

According to one study, vegetarians who do not consume carnosine tend to have highler levels of glycoyslated proteins in their bodies.6

Studies in mice indicate carnosine can alleviate the reduction in mitochondrial function associated with ageing7,and studies in both mice and humans have shown it can attenuate reductions in memory also associated with ageing.8

how to supplement carnosine

When it comes to supplmentation, it is in fact more effective to supplement with Beta-Alanine than carnosine itself, as the precursor is less likely to be damaged during digestion and absorption. For this reason we include Beta-Alanine rather than carnosine itself in Vegan Powah.