- Aging & Longevity
Health and Anti-Aging Benefits of L-carnitine
What is L-Carnitine?
L-carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally produced by your liver and kidneys then stored in your muscles, heart, brain, and other tissues. Unfortunately, our bodies generally do not produce enough of this nutrient, especially those who take certain drugs like valproic acid or have undergone medical procedures like hemodialysis; therefore our bodies need to get this amino acid through other means.
Meat and dairy products are primary sources of L-carnitine, but not so much in vegetables. The nutrient is important, because it helps utilize the fat stored in your body as energy and helps your body transport toxins out of its tissues. By using up the fat stored, it allows for a quicker weight-loss, which makes this very beneficial to those who are seeking to lose weight.
Toxins built up in the body often get outsourced to the skin; therefore, the more toxins that leave the inner body through other means will not go to the skin, allowing our skin to remain firm and healthy. This nutrient also benefits those who love to work out, as this will strengthen your heart and improve sport's endurance.
Unfortunately, there are some who are more apt to be deficient in this amino acid aside from those with medical conditions, such as strict vegetarians, chronic dieters, those with anorexia, as well as low-weight or premature infants. Part of keeping us young is taking care of the inside of our body. This amino acid can do exactly that, by assisting those with congestive heart failure, heart attacks, leg pain caused by circulation problems, high cholesterol, and other heart complications.
L-carnitine is also used to help treat many of the most common diseases, including ADHD, Lyme disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue, male infertility, and leg ulcers.
If there is a deficiency, some of your body's most common signs include:
- Chest pain
- Muscle pain or cramps
- Abnormally low blood pressure
Fortunately, there is an easy cure by taking an L-carnitine supplement. Even without a deficiency, an increased amount can actually help improve your overall health, especially in keeping you feeling and looking young. L-carnitine will actually help keep your skin look young, by ridding the body of toxins. The better your body functions, the less wear and tear there will be on the outside of your body as well as the inside.
Although, more important than being wrinkle-free is having energy. Fortunately, there are numerous benefits to L-carnitine that will assist in keeping your body healthy.
- Helps rid the body of toxins and poisons
- Increases energy level
- Improves brain functioning and motor functioning
- Slows progressions of diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.
- Helps with depression
- Helps prevent heart damage during a heart attack and assists in recovery, which lowers risk of further complications
- Prevents muscular atrophy in some degenerative muscular conditions, such as cancer and AIDS
- Improves sperm count, as well as speed and mobility of sperm for those with male infertility
- Assists those with a hyperthyroidism, by easing symptoms such as anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, and a racing heart
- Prevents fatigue and weakness in those who are on dialysis
- Increases red blood cell count in those with severe kidney disease
- Improves low birth weight
- Prevents side effects that occur due to the seizure medication valproic acid
Natural Source of L-Carnitine
Whenever taking supplements, it is important to be informed on what amount is safe and for whom. Taking a supplement by mouth is safe for most people; even small amounts are safe short-term for children. As with most supplements, not enough is known about its safety in women who are pregnant or breast feeding; therefore, it should be avoided unless specifically approved by your doctor.
Injection supplements are also available, although should only be taken with the approval of a health professional. Some negative side effects of L-carnitine include:
- Upset stomach
- Fishy odor of breath, sweat, or urine
Although it is encouraged and safe for those with hyperthyroidism, a person with hypothyroidism should not take it, since it can make the symptoms worse.
Another very unfortunate side effect is that those who have a history of seizures may experience an increased risk of having additional seizures due to this amino acid, which is unfortunate since it can make the side effects of seizure medications better. For this reason, you need to discuss with your doctor if you have ever suffered a history of seizures.
One of the most common ways to take this supplement is in capsule form. It is suggested that the average person should consume at least 20-200 mg per day, but you will find most supplements provide a higher milligram than that.
L-carnitine also comes in liquid and shot form. The liquid form, although possessing a higher absorption rate than the capsule, is also significantly more expensive for the same amount. For those who may have absorption issues, the shot is the most easily absorbed since it does not have to be absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Although it may sound scary, shots are quite easy to give to oneself.
Attention: As with all supplements, it is strongly advised to discuss with your doctor or nutritionist before you begin to take it, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. They will be able to advise you, whether there will be any complications and if it is beneficial for you.
- LCarnitine.org. L-Carnitine Natural Sources. Accessed February 26, 2018. http://www.lcarnitine.org/natural-sources.php.
- "L-Carnitine." WebMD. Accessed February 26, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/l-carnitine.
© 2012 Angela Michelle Schultz