What is L-Carnosine?
L-Carnosine is classified as a dipeptide, which is a compound made up of amino acid molecules that are linked together. It enhances frontal lobe function in the brain. Research suggests that it is also a powerful antioxidant.
A synthetic form of carnosine is available and sold as a supplement to help treat a variety of health issues. These include liver disease, cancer, cataracts, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Some of these supplements include CogniCare and Ignicar. It is also marketed as an anti-aging nutrient. Some doctors and researchers claim that carnosine is beneficial to children with autism.
Research indicates that L-Carnosine may help autistic children in many ways. The most important benefit is an improvement in the child’s behavior. It can also improve language skills and enhance nervous system function. Studies show that children who take L-Carnosine supplements improved in:
- language comprehension
- object recognition
- awareness of surroundings
- fine motor skills
- auditory processing
L-Carnosine and its effects on children with autism
Doctor Michael G. Chez and his team conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of L-Carnosine. In the study, 31 children with autism ages of 3-12 years old received either an L-Carnosine supplement or a placebo.
The study lasted eight weeks. Most of the children who were taking L-Carnosine supplements showed significant improvement in behavior, socialization, and communication skills.
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L-Carnosine for Children with Autism
The amount and percentage of the children’s improvement were based on the standards of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS), and the Expressive and Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary tests (E/ROWPVT).
Reports given by the children’s parents were also used in the assessment of the children’s improvement. The children who were taking the placebo instead of L-Carnosine showed no improvements. The researchers stated that “Oral supplementation with L-Carnosine resulted in demonstrable improvements in autistic behaviors, as well as increases in language comprehension that reached statistical significance.”
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Child Neurology in 2002. The original article and more details about Doctor Chez’s study can be found here: http://www.cherabfoundation.org/2003/some-carnosine-resources/
According to research, it takes one to eight weeks after a child takes L-Carnosine that the improvement is seen, supporting the theory that there is indeed a benefit.
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Diabetics are also said to have favorable results when taking L-Carnosine. People on a ketogenic and gluten/casein-free diet can take this supplement. L-Carnosine can also improve EEG abnormalities and myoclonic and generalized seizures.
No harmful physical side effects are reported by those taking L-Carnosine for autism. High dosage may overstimulate some children, causing hyperactivity, irritability, or insomnia. This can happen to children who are manic and/or hyperactive. The side effects usually resolve if the dose is adjusted. Many parents have reported that their children seem to sleep better once they are on L-Carnosine.
While these studies present a favorable stance on L-Carnosine for autism, they are still relatively new. There is much about L-Carnosine that may still be unknown. Always consult a physician before starting any natural or over-the-counter supplement.