June 01 2021
What is L-Carnitine?
L carnitine is a nutrient that helps in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids into the cell's mitochondria. The mitochondrial is the powerhouse of the cell meaning it burns these fats to create energy.
What are the different types of carnitine
So L-carnitine is the active form of carnitine. Carnitine is a nutrient that is found in various foods and other supplements. Following are various types of carnitine.
D carnitine is an inactive form and results in carnitine deficiency as it inhibits the absorption of other useful forms.
Acetyl L Carnitine
Acetyl L carnitine abbreviated as ALCAR is the most effective form of carnitine for our brains. It is believed that ALCAR may benefit people with neurodegenerative disorders.
Propionyl L carnitine
This form boosts the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator and hence it increases blood flow. And that's the reason why this form is suited for circulatory issues like PVD(peripheral vascular disease) and high blood pressure.
This form aids in muscle soreness and helps on quicker recovery in exercise. Since it is absorbed quickly, L carnitine L tartrate is often added to sports supplement.
Often it is seen that acetyl L carnitine and L carnitine are the forms that prove to be most effective for general use. However, you should always pick the form that is more suited to you and the one that fulfils your personal needs and goals.
How important is L-carnitine for our body?
As mentioned earlier, the main function of L carnitine is in the production of energy. It transports the fatty acids into mitochondria where they are burned to produce energy.
Most of the L carnitine store is there in your muscles. Trace amounts of it can also be found in liver and blood as well.
Besides, energy production L carnitine can also increase mitochondrial function thereby playing a crucial role in disease and healthy ageing.
Research says that various forms of carnitine can benefit from both heart and lung diseases. So summarizing it we can say that L carnitine is an amino acid derivative. It transports fatty acids to mitochondria where energy production takes place. L carnitine is formed in our body. Also, it is available as a supplement.
Does L-carnitine aid weight loss?
Yes, it is believed that L-carnitine can be used as a weight-loss supplement. Since it transports the fatty acids into the cells where they are burnt, you might think that it helps to burn fat and lose weight. But the fact is that the human body is extremely complex. Mixed results have been obtained from both animal and human studies.
L carnitine benefit brain function
Research Suggests that ALCAR may help in the prevention of age-related mental decline as well as it improves the markers of learning. Studies say that intake of ALCAR daily helps to motivate the brain function associated with Alzheimer's and other brain diseases.
In some cases, it is also seen that acetyl L carnitine can protect the brain from cell damage. Though these effects of ALCAR seem promising, more research is needed to know long term health benefits in healthy individuals.
L carnitine for heart health
Some studies show that l carnitine can help to reduce blood pressure and inflammatory processes that are associated with various heart diseases.
Systolic blood pressure is an important indicator of your heart health. It is the top number of reading. The study has shown that if acetyl L carnitine is taken daily then it can help to reduce the systolic blood pressure by 10 points.
Other than this, L carnitine may also benefit people with other heart diseases like coronary heart disease and chronic heart failure. A study was done for about 12 months. And it was observed that people who took L carnitine supplements had a lesser risk of death due to heart failure.
L carnitine enhance sports performance
Several studies have been done to explore the sports performance benefits of L carnitine. Some studies have shown mild benefits when taken for a longer duration.
It is said that L carnitine benefits may take weeks or months to appear as it acts indirectly. This is somewhat opposite of other supplements like caffeine or creatine. They directly engage in sports performance.
Other health benefits of L carnitine
- It may improve exercise recovery
- It increases oxygen supply to your muscles
- Since it increases the blood flow, it reduces fatigue
- It may reduce muscle soreness experienced after exercise
- It may increase red blood cells production
- It may reduce symptoms of type 2 diabetes
How safe are L carnitine supplements?
It is believed that if you take 2 grams or less per day, then the supplement will prove to be safe and you won't experience any side effects. The study showed that if 3 grams L carnitine was taken every day for 21 days, then people did not experience any negative effects.
However, if L carnitine supplement is taken for long periods, it may raise levels of TMAO( trimethylamine N oxide). Its high levels may increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
The dose of 2 grams or less per day seems to be safe for many people. Nevertheless, more study is needed to explore the safety of l carnitine supplement.
The best sources of L carnitine include beef, pork, fish, chicken and milk. Also, it is believed that food sources of L carnitine are more effectively absorbed than the supplements.
Should you take L carnitine supplement?
Well, it greatly depends on how much you produce and how much you are eating. Often, L carnitine levels are low in vegetarians and vegans as they restrict animal products. Hence, vegans may consider L carnitine supplements.
Researchers say that L carnitine levels decline as we age.
Study shows that L carnitine decreases fatigue and improves muscle function in aged people. Also, it is believed that acetyl L carnitine boosts brain function as we age. Also, its deficiency is more common in people with conditions like cirrhosis and kidney disease. So if you have a history of any of these conditions, a supplement may be beneficial for you.