January 14 2021
L-carnitine is a very common health supplement these days. It is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative. L-carnitine is responsible for the production of energy by the transportation of fatty acids into the body's mitochondria cells. It also helps in removing waste products from our system, thus preventing many crucial problems in our system.
Our human body is known to produce L-carnitine amino acids, methionine, and lysine. But to produce L-carnitine in our body in sufficient amounts, our body requires plenty of vitamin C. Eating animal products like meat or fish significantly increases L-carnitine in our body. Despite all this, people suffering from genetic issues or those following a vegan diet find difficulty in either producing or obtaining enough L-carnitine. These factors make L-carnitine an essential nutrient.
Various types of L-carnitine
- Acetyl-L-carnitine It is also known as ALCAR. It plays an important role in metabolism and also protects the nervous system because of its neuroprotective properties.
- D-carnitine It is a mirror image of L-carnitine but is toxic towards the body. It inhibits the absorption of other forms of carnitine.
L-carnitine L-tartrate This form of carnitine is used by athletes. According to research, L-carnitine L-tartrate helps in minimizing muscle soreness and aids in recovery.
- Propionyl-L-carnitine This form of carnitine is mostly used for treating pain, anti-rheumatic properties as well as heart conditions.
The most popular health benefits of L-carnitine are: -
- Aids in weight loss process
The most popular use of L-carnitine is its effectiveness in the weight loss process. L-carnitine functions by transporting more fatty acids in our cells for energy production. This in turn allows our body to burn fat and lose weight. An analysis of nine studies conducted on obese and older adults showed that people on the consumption of L-carnitine lost 2.9 pounds more weight than people who didn't consume.
- Improvement in brain function
According to some animal studies, Acetyl-L-carnitine was found to be very effective in preventing age-related mental decline issues. It was also effective in improving markers in learning. Human studies also indicated that consumption of Acetyl-L-carnitine aided in reversing the decline in brain function associated with brain diseases such as Alzheimer's. Furthermore, it also improved brain function in normal older people who were not suffering from any brain diseases. Acetyl-L-carnitine even protected the brain from cell damage in specific cases. According to a 90-day study, people with alcohol addiction to consuming 2 grams of Acetyl-L-carnitine daily noticed a significant improvement in all measures of their brain function.
- Improvement in heart health
L-carnitine was seen as a potential health supplement for reducing blood pressure as well as the inflammatory processes associated with heart diseases according to some studies. According to a study, consuming 2 grams of Acetyl-L-carnitine daily resulted in a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure. L-carnitine was also efficacious in improving conditions in patients suffering from heart disorders like coronary heart disease and chronic heart failure.
- Improvement in exercise performance
Many studies have noticed L-carnitine's effectiveness in sports performance. L-carnitine improved sports performance in athletes by improving their exercise recovery, increasing oxygen supply to their muscles, and increasing blood flow with nitric acid production, thus helping in delaying discomfort as well as reducing fatigue. It also reduced muscle soreness after exercise as well as increased production of our red blood cells, which further transported oxygen throughout the body.
- Improvement in type-2 diabetic conditions
L-carnitine has been very effective in reducing problems and conditions related to type-2 diabetes. According to a study, people having type-2 diabetes on consuming carnitine supplement experienced a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels when compared to people consuming the placebo. L-carnitine combats diabetes by increasing the AMPK enzyme, which further improved the body's ability to use carbs.
Contradictions and side effects related to L-carnitine
Consumption of 2 grams of carnitine daily did not lead to any serious side effects. However, mild side effects such as nausea and stomach were noticed. In some cases, an increase in blood Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) level was also noticed during L-carnitine supplementation periods. High levels of TMAO are an indication of atherosclerosis.
Best food sources of L-carnitine
- Beef contains 81 milligrams of L-carnitine per 3 ounces or 85 grams.
- Pork contains 24 milligrams of L-carnitine per 3 ounces.
- Fish contains 5 milligrams of L-carnitine per 3 ounces.
- Chicken contains 3 milligrams of L-carnitine per 3 ounces.
- Milk contains 8 milligrams of L-carnitine per 8 ounces or 227 milliliters.
Should L-carnitine supplements be consumed or not?
Production of L-Carnitine in our body, as well as intake of it through our diets, are the main factors that influence the levels of L-carnitine in our body. Vegetarians and vegan people often see a decrease in L-carnitine levels as it is mostly restricted to animal products. Therefore, supplementation is highly recommended for these categories of people.
According to some research studies, it is found that L-carnitine levels start to drop as we age. Some studies also found out L-carnitine's effectiveness in reducing fatigue and increasing muscle function in older adults.
The deficiency of L-carnitine is felt mostly in people suffering from diseases like kidney disease or cirrhosis. In that case, supplementation is highly recommended but after proper consultation with your doctor.
Example of a popular L-carnitine supplement
This incredible product offers about 500 milligrams of L-carnitine per tablet and is very beneficial in improving brain performance, improving exercise performance by increasing oxygen supply to muscles, aiding in weight loss by converting fat to energy, and lastly by improving overall cognitive ability.