Carnosine, for autism, is an amino acid that naturally occurs in the body.
The highest concentrations of L-Carnosine are found in the heart, muscle, and brain tissues of the body.
Carnosine is classified as a dipeptide (which is a compound made up of amino acid molecules that are linked together) and is thought to enhance frontal lobe function in the brain. Research suggests that it is also a powerful antioxidant.
A man-made form of carnosine is available and sold as a supplement to help treat a variety of health issues.
These health issues include liver disease, cancer, cataracts, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Some doctors also claim that carnosine can be of tremendous help to children with autism, and it is also marketed as an anti-aging nutrient.
Carnosine demonstrates antiglycation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, metal-chelating, and other properties which do provide novel approaches to preventing and treating autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as certain other neurological disorders.
L-Carnosine and Autism
There is insufficient reliable evidence to rate the use of carnosine for autism, but preliminary data suggest that L-carnosine may have benefits for adults and children with autism.
Carnosine has also demonstrated multiple neuroprotective effects.
Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are blanket terms for a class of brain development disorders.
Both are manifested by ineffective communication, poor social skills, and/or repetition of certain behaviors.
Using carnosine for autism can help to protect the brain’s circulatory vessels from damages. These damages could occur from neurotoxins like alcohol, lipid oxidation, and the effects of amyloid-beta.
Amyloid-beta denotes certain peptides that are associated with developing inner-brain plaque formations common in Alzheimer’s patients.
carnosine works inside the brain to protect endothelial cells (which is the inside lining of the blood vessels), and maintaining endothelial function is vital for health.
Research indicates that carnosine may help autistic children in a variety of ways, mainly centering on children’s behavior and language skills.
It may also enhance nervous system function, and studies have reported that children who take carnosine supplements have shown improvement in the following areas:
- object recognition
- language comprehension
- awareness of surroundings
- auditory processing
- fine motor skills
Scientific Research on Carnosine and Autism
Protein glycation is a process by which sugars attach to protein molecules, and research shows that carnosine is a potent antiglycation agent.
When sugars attach to protein molecules, it makes them adhesive and prone to bind to other protein strands, in what is called protein cross-linking.
When cross-linking occurs, both protein strands are likely to become dysfunctional or nonfunctional and are then called AGEs (advanced glycation end-products).
AGEs are well-established contributors to disease prevalence associated with aging, and as they accumulate, they may cause dysfunction throughout all systems of the body.
AGEs also cause chronic complications in diabetic patients, leading to kidney dysfunction, eye/vision dysfunction, nerve dysfunction, and blood vessel dysfunction.
Taking carnosine for autism prompts a wide spectrum of biologic and neurologic activities which may be effective for preventing and treating other diseases and ailments.
In one study, researchers provided 31 children with autism 400 mg of L-Carnosine for 8 weeks, and the results of their study found improvements in:
- Increase in Language Comprehension
- Biweekly Parent Reports
The children who had been taking the placebo instead of the carnosine, showed no improvements, prompting the researchers to state that, “Oral supplementation with L-Carnosine resulted in demonstrable improvements in autistic behaviors, as well as increases in language comprehension that reached statistical significance.”
Another report from Chez et al stated that L-Carnosine benefits people with autism in the following ways:
- Improved Language
- Auditory Processing
- Fine Motor Planning
- Expressive Language
- Awareness of Surroundings
The precise mechanisms of action of using carnosine for autism are not well understood at the moment, but some researchers believe that carnosine enhances functioning in the temporal cortex and/or the entorhinal cortex.
Research shows that brain and gut tissues in autism patients are hypersensitive to oxidative trauma, and carnosine may also work against autism by increasing antioxidant protection.
Autism spectrum disorder, ASD is correlated with oxidative stress markers including impeded cholinergic, poor energetics, excessive excite-toxicity, and high levels of free radical production.
Carnosine is considered an extremely non-toxic and safe substance, and as with other antioxidants, carnosine acts synergistically when taken with other antioxidants.
For instance, when vitamin E was taken with carnosine, levels of both substances were higher in cardiac muscle than when either was taken alone.
There are some reports that manic or hyperactive autistic patients may show signs of overstimulation, including increased irritability, hyperactivity, or insomnia, when given higher doses of L-Carnosine.
No permanent negative physical changes have been noted in over 1,000 children treated with L-Carnosine.
Furthermore, no signs of adverse liver, blood, kidney, or central nervous system side effects have been reported.