Carnosine supplementation reduces plasma soluble transferrin receptor in healthy overweight or obese individuals: a pilot randomised trial.
Amino Acids. 2019 Jan ;51(1):73-81. Epub 2018 Aug 22. PMID: 30136029
Abnormalities of iron homeostasis have been linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Carnosine, an over-the-counter food supplement with chelating properties, has been shown to decrease serum iron and improve glucose metabolism in diabetic rodents. We have previously demonstrated that carnosine supplementation prevented worsening of glucose metabolism in healthy overweight and obese middle-aged adults. Yet, the impact of carnosine on markers of iron metabolism in humans has not been investigated. We aimed to determine whether carnosine supplementation has an effect on iron parameters in overweight and obese, otherwise healthy adults. We included 26 participants, who were randomly allocated to receive 1 g carnosine (n = 14) or identical placebo (n = 12) twice daily for 12 weeks. Iron parameters including iron, ferritin, transferrin, soluble transferrin receptor, total iron binding capacity and iron saturation were measured in serum or plasma by standard commercial assays. Carnosine supplementation decreased plasma soluble transferrin receptor compared to placebo (mean change difference ± standard error: - 0.07 ± 0.03 mg/l, p = 0.04). None of the other iron parameters were different between carnosine and placebo groups. At follow-up, soluble transferrin receptor wasassociated inversely with urinary carnosine concentrations and positively with serum carnosinase-1 activity (both p < 0.02). Our findings suggest that carnosine may modulate iron metabolism in high-risk groups which could ameliorate insulin resistance and prevent type 2 diabetes. Larger human clinical trials are required to confirm our results.