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L-Carnitine Facts, Benefits, Uses & Functions

Overview

L-carnitine is the product of two amino acids, lysine and methionine. L-carnitine is generally synthesized in the liver and kidneys, and is found in highest concentration in skeletal and cardiac muscle. Carnitine is present in meats, vegetables, and grains. The highest concentrations are found in beef and lamb.

Benefits

L-Carnitine helps generate energy for our cells by supporting the metabolism of fat. It also reduces oxidative stress, improves mental performance (particularly spatial and temporal memory) and supports all bodily functions that require large amounts of energy.

An interesting study from Oregon State University showed that supplementation with both acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid improved activity, energy levels, and cognitive function in aged rats. The scientists speculate that this effect could be due to the reduction in oxidative stress provided by the supplements.

Functions

One of the main roles for L-carnitine is to transport fatty acids into the nuclei of our cells so that they can be metabolized for energy. It also helps the kidneys function properly after exercise.

Our bodies are able to produce some L-carnitine, but under stressful conditions or when sufficient protein is not consumed in the diet, we need more than the body can provide. Supplementation is available in several forms.

Uses and Applications

General health

L-carnitine is used as an addition to the usual treatment for angina (chest pain), because it can help reduce symptoms and improve the ability of patients to exercise. Some studies have shown that taking L-carnitine after a heart attack reduces the chance of a subsequent heart attack, however the results are mixed. L-carnitine has also been shown to be useful for people with intermittent claudication (decreased blood flow to the legs), allowing people with the condition to walk further. Finally, some studies have shown that acetyl-L-carnitine has a beneficial effect on mood and depression.

Fitness and weight loss

Acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to improve cardiac function, particularly among people with heart problems. However, although L-carnitine is often used to improve performance during exercise, current research does not show that it has a significnt effect. However, some studies show that oral L-carnitine supplementation reduces fat mass and increases muscle mass, both of which may contribute to weight loss.

Availability

Carnitine is available as a supplement in three main forms:

  • L-carnitine, which is the least expensive and most widely available.
  • Acetyl-L-carnitine, which is often used for memory and brain disorders. It is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream than L-carnitine, so it is used by more athletes.
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine which is used for heart disease.

Dosage varies according to your health status and goals. Consult with your physician or personal trainer to decide if you should take L-carnitine and the appropriate dosage.

Purchase L-Carnitine

Please visit our supplement store to purchase Acetyl-l-carnitine.

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