April 03 2021
L carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid which is also known as levocarnitine.
Chemically L Carnitine is a quaternary amine which is found abundantly in mammals. It is produced naturally by our body but it can also be taken as a health supplement in the diet. This amino acid helps in the production of energy which helps to regulate various body functions. The primary route for energy production is the conversion of fat into energy. Mostly our body produces enough amount and hence we do not require to incorporate it in our diet which also indicates that it is a non-essential amino acid. Our body generally produces L carnitine using two other amino acids which are: lysine and methionine. Moreover, it requires sufficient amounts of Vitamin C for its synthesis.
Where is this amino acid synthesized in our body?
It is synthesized in the liver, brain and the kidney by using essential amino acids lysine and methionine or ingested in food such as meat or fish. The synthesis requires four kinds of enzyme reactions and the involvement of Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid), Vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine), Vitamin B3 (also called Niacin) and some reduced form of Iron.
Where is L carnitine stored in our body?
Mostly it is stored in the heart and the skeletal muscles (which accounts for almost 95 %) while some amount is stirred in the liver, plasma and kidney. Whereas muscles store about 70 fold more than the blood plasma.
Let’s look at the different types of L Carnitine :
- L Carnitine: This is the inactive form which may lead to the deficiency of other forms of L carnitine since it reduces the absorption of the other types.
- L Carnitine L Tartrate: This form is the most commonly used in health supplements since it leads to muscle soreness and aids in recovery due to intense exercise.
- Acetyl L Carnitine: Also known as “ALCAR” and is the most effective form of the brain since some of the studies suggest that it leads to improvement in the patients suffering from neurodegenerative disorders.
- Propionyl L Carnitine: This form is the best for the circulatory system and diseases associated with it such as Hypertension (which is elevated blood pressure) or Peripheral vascular disease. This effect is because this form produces (NO) which is Nitric oxide which helps in improving the blood flow (or in medical terminology, it is a vasodilator).
Role of L Carnitine in our body
All the energy which is utilized by our body is generated by small organelles in the body called the “Mitochondria” or commonly known as the POWERHOUSE OF THE CELL as it produces power (energy) for the cells of our body for them to function properly. Energy can be produced by a variety of substances which we consume in our food (which is first broken down by our body into simpler forms) such as Glucose, Amino acids or fatty acids or simply fats.
This process is aided by L carnitine which helps in the transportation of these fatty acids into the mitochondria where it is used to produce energy. So, it helps in the functioning of the mitochondria which in turn also plays a key role in various diseases and healthy ageing.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of this amino acid in a bit more detail :
- Brain Function: Some of the studies reveal that the ALCAR form of carnitine aids in the maintenance of healthy brain function and reduces the chances of development of age-related mental decline. Moreover, it helps in the prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or another neurodegenerative disease. It may also protect the brain from cell damage.
- Effect of Heart: Some of the studies show that L carnitine reduces the inflammation which usually occurs at the time of any persisting heart condition. Moreover, it helps in lowering the Blood pressure and hence controlling hypertension. It has also shown to provide improvement in Coronary Heart disease.
- Effect on Exercise: L carnitine may provide some of the following benefits with this regard :
- Improves exercise recovery.
- Improves stamina by increasing the production of Nitric oxide which in turn improves the blood flow and helps in reducing any discomfort.
- Increases oxygen supply to the blood.
- Helps in the reduction of muscle soreness which usually persists after an intense work out session.
- It may aid the production of RBCs in our body and hence improves the blood flow.
- Serves as an antioxidant: It helps to reduce the oxidative stress on the muscles which are usually produced after intense exercise. Such things can lead to damage to the muscles by providing immediate structural and cellular injury at a particular site. So, it helps to provide tissue repair.
- Weight Loss: It is quite debated whether this can be used as a proper weight loss supplement or not since some studies show positive effects while others did not. Theoretically, it should aid in weight loss since it mobilizes the fatty acids around. More research is required to prove this.
So, if you are a vegan or vegetarian you might wonder that since you do not consume foods such as meat or fish, so do you need to consider consuming L carnitine supplement?
It is not mandatory to take the supplement but you can consider the decision if you do not have any problems taking it. For this, you must seek the advice of your doctor.
So. if you sis consider taking the supplement where can you find it?
The product is manufactured in a GMP certified facility which ensures that the product is of good quality. The product can be easily found on their website.