Diabetes, Heart, Weight loss, Pregnancy | April 17, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Carnitine is an amino acid that is found in nearly all cells of the body and is involved in cellular energy production, function and integrity. It transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells, so they can be oxidised to produce energy. Also considered an antioxidant compound, carnitine transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation.
I guess you’re wondering how this superstar supplement can help you?
Carnitine is the generic term for a number of compounds that include L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine. Its name is derived from the Latin carnus or flesh, as the compound was first isolated from meat.
Derived from our diet, carnitine is found in high concentrations in red meat and in lower amounts in fish, chicken and even human breastmilk.
Vegetarian sources include whole wheat bread, asparagus, avocado and tempeh.
Carnitine is also manufactured in our liver and kidneys from the amino acids methionine and lysine.
These are two different forms of the same amino acid. Depending on what you want to achieve, one version may be more indicated than the other.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine has the ability to pass the blood brain barrier and is useful in:
L-carnitine is the form most commonly used. It is used for:
People at highest risk of deficiency include vegans, vegetarians, infants receiving a carnitine-free formula, and those with an inherited functional defect.
Secondary deficiency can occur if there are chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, kidney failure or as a side-effect of certain medications.
L-carnitine deficiency leads to an accumulation of free fatty acids within the cell. This produces a toxic effect and disturbs fatty acid use for energy production. Elevated triglycerides may also occur due to the role of carnitine in free fatty acid metabolism.
Because carnitine plays a crucial role in energy production, it can be taken to boost energy and enhance athletic performance. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that 3 or 4 g of L-carnitine taken before physical exercise prolonged exhaustion in professional footballers. For this reason, it may especially benefit other endurance athletes such as long-distance runners, swimmers or cyclists.
Supplementing with L-carnitine is a way to lose weight fast—especially when combined with diet and exercise.
A meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of L-carnitine in weight loss found that subjects who received carnitine lost significantly more weight and had a lower body mass index.
The reason why carnitine is so effective for shedding those extra kilograms is because it enhances fat burning and increases energy expenditure during physical activity.
Our heart is the most important muscle in the body. Studies on L-carnitine have found that this supplement can increase exercise tolerance and reduces frequency of angina attacks in patients with chronic stable angina. In patients experiencing an acute heart attack, L-carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40% reduction in anginal symptoms.
A dose of 4g per day of L-carnitine over 12 months in patients who experienced a heart attack enjoyed a better quality of life and an increase in life expectancy. This included an improvement in heart rate, blood pressure, decrease in anginal attacks and an improved lipid profile.
Looking for ways to improve cognition and mood? Acetyl-L-carnitine supplemented in elderly patients over 100 years old helped decrease fatigue and boosted cognitive function. Other studies have even found that in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, L-carnitine reversed cognitive decline and improved memory.
As rates of infertility are increasing in both males and females—many people are turning to alternatives to boost reproductive health.
In males, L-Carnitine is a necessary nutrient for sperm cells to function normally.
In studies supplementing with L-Carnitine has shown to boost sperm health by increasing sperm quality and motility.
There is also some new and interesting research on the horizon that is very promising in female infertility.
It shows that L-Carnitine can help in improving age related infertility in women. L-Carnitine is usually used by women who are undergoing IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies.
Some promising research has uncovered that carnitine could aid in maintaining normal blood sugar levels and fight insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone responsible for moving sugar from our bloodstream into cells where it can be used as fuel. Too much insulin can result in insulin resistance, decreasing its effectiveness and resulting in high blood sugar.
When taken as directed, carnitine is a safe supplement with minimal risk of side-effects. Mild gastrointestinal symptoms including stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may occur. People with chronic liver disease or epilepsy should use carnitine with caution.
Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: An evidence-based guide vol. 2. Churchill Livingstone, Australia