A closer look at Zinc-Carnosine

// Danielle Huntsman, MS, CNS, LDN


Zinc Carnosine GI Health

The use of zinc-carnosine has been clinically studied for over 20 years, within its origin dating back to Japan. Zinc-carnosine is a combination of elemental zinc and the dipeptide, L-carnosine, together forming a polymetric structure. The combination of L-carnosine and zinc has been well studied in both controlled human trials and animal studies. The multidimensional approach of zinc-carnosine makes it a great choice in digestive health.* Let’s explore the benefits of zinc-carnosine on gastrointestinal health more closely.*

“The stabilizing benefits of zinc-carnosine, along with its protective mechanisms make it a great option for gastrointestinal health.*”” Danielle Huntsman, MS, CNS, LDN

The trace mineral, zinc is essential for the growth and metabolism of cells, supporting DNA replication, transcription to RNA as well as protein synthesis.*1 Inadequate dietary intake of foods rich in zinc (oysters and organ meats are the highest) or ingesting foods which may inhibit the absorption (phytates, oxalates, and some polyphenols). Drug-induced nutrients depletions may also be of concern.

The use of zinc-carnosine does not interfere with normal digestive processes, stomach acid, or nutrient absorption. * Zinc by itself is thought to liberate from food quickly within the stomach, with the primary site of absorption being the proximal small intestine. Zinc is dissociated at a slower rate when bonded to the dipeptide L-carnosine, allowing a more localized concentration within the stomach.2 In fact, PepZinGI®, a chelated zinc-carnosine, was shown to localize to the stomach twice as long as taking zinc and L-carnosine separately, verified through radioisotope identification.3

Zinc-carnosine and epithelial barrier function*

The use of zinc-carnosine has a place in many different protocols due to its benefits in maintaining a healthy mucosal integrity and protective effect on the epithelial barrier.* Zinc as a single intervention has been shown to support intestinal barrier function.*4 The use of zinc-carnosine supports small intestinal mucosal integrity.* A 2007 trial evaluated zinc-carnosine in both animal and humans. In the animal portion of the study, a 50% reduction in villus shortening after a trial use of zinc-carnosine was reported.*5 The human portion of the study was a double-blind randomized controlled crossover trial. Healthy volunteers took 37.5 mg twice daily or placebo; the results showed zinc carnosine to have a protective effect within the small intestine. Another study of interest looked at the benefit of zinc-carnosine and post-exercise recovery*, a topic of importance for athletes. The results of the 14 day, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed the use of zinc-carnosine to be beneficial in supporting epithelial resistance post exercise.*6 It is helpful to note that endurance exercise is a common model to measure intestinal permeability.

A more recent study, completed in 2017, evaluated the efficacy and usage of zinc-carnosine when combined with other therapies for participants experiencing occasional gastrointestinal discomfort.*7 The dose of 75 mg, taken twice daily showed a significant improvement in healthy bacteria as well as a reduction in occasional discomfort.* Those receiving therapy plus zinc carnosine showed a much larger improvement in symptoms when compared to just using other therapy alone, with no added side effects.*

Dosing Zinc Carnosine

Practitioners typically recommend starting at the dose used in research; for zinc carnosine, the dose ranged from 37.5 mg (twice daily) up to 150 mg taken twice daily. While the effects have been shown in as little as 2 weeks, positive outcomes are consistent between a dose of 75 mg and 150 mg, taken twice daily for 8 weeks. A 8-week, multi-center, double-blind dose-finding study showed a 75.4% improvement in digestive symptoms for the 50 mg twice daily, 71.6% for the 75 twice daily group and 78.5% improvement in those receiving 100 mg twice daily.*8

It is clear that the effects of zinc are enhanced in certain circumstances when combined with the amino acid, L-carnosine, allowing it to withstand and remain localized within the stomach for an extended period.* There have been over 20 published studies on zinc-carnosine alone and even more on the relationship between zinc and gastrointestinal health.* The stabilizing benefits of zinc-carnosine, along with its protective mechanisms make it a great option for gastrointestinal health.*

Danielle Huntsman, MS, CNS, LDN

Danielle Huntsman, is a certified nutrition specialist and licensed nutritionist. She holds an MS in Nutrition and Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health and is a graduate of the College of Charleston. Danielle has a special interest in gastrointestinal and endocrine health, supporting clients through an integrative approach with proper diet and nutrition. She actively sees clients remotely and within the Philadelphia area.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  1. Stefanidou M, Maravelias C, Dona A, Spiliopoulou C. Zinc: a multipurpose trace element. Arch Toxicol. 2006;80:1–9.
  2. Matsukura T, Tanaka H. Applicability of zinc complex of L-carnosine for medical use. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2000 Jul;65(7);817-23.
  3. Furuta S, Toyama S, Miwa M, et al. Residence time of polaprezinc (zinc L-carnosine complex) in the rat stomach and adhesiveness to ulcerous sites. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1995 Apr;67(4);271-8.
  4. Sturniolo GC, Fries W, Mazzon E, Di Leo V, Barollo M, D'inca R. Effect of zinc supplementation on intestinal permeability in experimental colitis. J Lab Clin Med. 2002. 139: 311–5.
  5. Mahmood, A. F. Zinc Carnosine, a health food supplement that stabilises small bowel integrity and stimulates gut repair processes. Gut. 2002.56, 168-175.
  6. Davison G, Marchbank T, March DS, Thatcher R, Playford RJ. Zinc carnosine works with bovine colostrum in truncating heavy exercise-induced increase in gut permeability in healthy volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Aug;104(2):526-36.
  7. Tan B, Luo H-Q, Xu H, et al. Polaprezinc combined with clarithromycin-based triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis: A prospective, multicenter, randomized clinical trial. Green J, ed. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(4):e0175625. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175625.
  8. Miyoshi A, Matsuo H, Miwa T, Nakazima M. Jpn Pharmacol Ther. 1992a;20(1);181-97.

Integrative Blog RSSBlog Feed