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L-Carnitine

Updated on February 7, 2016
 

At present, there are several commercials of different products using L-Carnitine supplements. The claims are that it helps reduce weight and increase endurance among users. Mostly, the products are fruit juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks that use L-Carnitine as one of the ingredients. Incredibly, some products even use L-Carnitine in creams and patches. Whether the claims are true or not, is not very clear yet, as most studies are finding mixed results about its benefits.

Nivea Body introduces L-Carnitine in creams
Nivea Body introduces L-Carnitine in creams
Nivea Body introduces L-Carnitine in patches
Nivea Body introduces L-Carnitine in patches

What is L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine is short for levocarnitine. Carnitine is a nutrient that is naturally present in our body. It is a naturally occurring amino acid that metabolizes fats. In our livers and kidneys, carnitine is synthesized from two essential amino acids; lysine and methionine. However, the biosynthesis will not be successful without the presence of other nutrients like vitamin C (according to Wikipedia), niacin, iron, and vitamin B6 (according to Psychology Health, Vanderbilt University). It helps convert body fats into energy. While our liver and kidneys naturally produce carnitine, our body stores it in our muscles, heart, and brain.

Red meats and dairy products are the primary sources of L-Carnitine. Other sources include nuts, beans, fish, poultry, tempeh, wheat, and peanuts. Some vegetable sources are asparagus, broccoli, sprouts, garlic, mustards, okra, and parsley (from Wikipedia). Some fruit sources are apricots, bananas (from Wikipedia), and avocados. Most other vegetables and fruits do not have carnitine.

It is rare for people to be deficient of this nutrient, even among vegetarians. That is because our body produces carnitine on its own. However, some diseases like diabetes and cirrhosis can result in carnitine deficiency. Aside from these diseases, some people cannot properly absorb this nutrient in their body, hence, carnitine deficiency occurs. Symptoms of carnitine deficiency are fatigue, chest pain, muscle, and weakness.

L-Carnitine for Health

Fats, carbohydrates, and triglycerides are our primary energy sources. L-Carnitine aids in the release of these nutrients into the blood stream. It also transports fats to the muscles, converting them into energy, therefore boosting our body's stamina and endurance.

L-Carnitine helps reduce feelings of hunger and weakness. It can also decrease fatigue. If you have to use L-Carnitine supplements in medicine form (i.e., tablets, capsules), do not store in poor ventilated areas, heat may alter its actions.

L-Carnitine supplements may have interactions if taken with other medications. So if you are under medication, always seek the advice of your physician. High dosage of L-Carnitine may cause diarrhea, body odor, and increased appetite.

When not under medication, most people don't need L-Carnitine. When used under medication, different L-Carnitine supplements and different dosages are used for treatment.

For heart health, propionyl L-Carnitine is used. While it helps maintain a healthy heart, it was also found that people who take propionyl L-Carnitine after recovering from heart attacks are less likely to suffer from a second heart failure. It controls cholesterol and triglycerides. It also increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

For Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), the symptom is diminished blood flow in the legs. Propionyl L-Carnitine may improve blood flow and muscle function in PVD patients.

Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALC) is found throughout our central nervous system (CNS). ALC when supplemented in food is found to give brain benefits. It helps delay mental deterioration and produces more energy. For dementia and memory impairment, acetyl L-Carnitine is the supplement used. In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, acetyl L-Carnitine had proved to delay mental deterioration. However, studies about the benefits are still conflicting. But in Down's syndrome patients, acetyl L-Carnitine improves visual memory and attention.

L-Carnitine for Health According to Commercial Claims

Although it was observed that L-Carnitine benefits the heart. It also controls cholesterol and triglycerides, decreases blood pressure, and decreases blood sugar. Even in commercial claims, L-Carnitine is not recommended for heart treatments. It does help maintain a healthy heart though. In commercial claims, L-Carnitine is not recommended for treatment for obesity. However, it does help in weight management programs.

Weight loss is the most common commercial claim of L-Carnitine. However, this study is not yet proven to be true. So scientifically, this claim still has no basis. But commercially, this had been widely supported by the companies that use the product for commercial gains.

L-Carnitine supplements give benefits in exercises, heart health, weight management, brain wellness, infant nutrition, and even male fertility.

In sports nutrition, it optimizes performance, decreases fatigue, and helps recovery after intensive workouts. This may be due to an enhanced oxygen supply to the muscles which increases blood flow.

For more information about this supplement, please go to these links:

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    • BeatsMe profile image
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      BeatsMe 3 years ago

      Thanks. :)

    • profile image

      Johnf691 3 years ago

      I am truly thankful to the holder of this website who has shared this fantastic article at here. abadafkkddga

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi Katyzzz, sorry about your health. Good luck. Hope this supplement works for you. Thanks for dropping by. :)

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      As someone with acute and chronic liver damage I've been trying to work out something which may be helpful, I am not on any medications nor do I take supplements but I might just give this a go to see how "I" go.

      Good article, thank you  

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi Lgali, thanks for dropping by. :)

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      nice report

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi Eileen, thanks for dropping by. :)

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I had never even heard of this, we sure can learn from all the hubbers that's for sure. Thanks for sharing

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      lol cgull, they just taste sooo good. :O

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

      BeatsMe, how about Cheesecake and Blueberries topping :)

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi compu-smart, I agree with you. Almost all creams are sooo good. Even whipped creams and strawberries. :0 Thanks for dropping by. :)

    • compu-smart profile image

      Tony 8 years ago from London UK

      I never heard of this cream before, but it still amazes me how the millions of types of creams can be soo good for us, especially whipped cream and strawberries!! haha just kidding!:D

      Thanks 4 this knowledge!

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi quicksand. Good for you. Thanks for dropping by. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      It does, but I don't need weight loss ... I am as slim as a beanstalk! :)

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi cgull, thanks for dropping by. :)

      quicksand, it's now usually an ingredient added to many weight loss products. I don't know which country you're from, but here, it's often spoken of in commercials already. But it's just lately that I've noticed this. I hope this answers your question. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      So, L-Carnitine is more or less a catalyst, a natural one, right? It beats me as to why L-Carnitine is not more often spoken of, BeatsMe.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Good report BeatsMe, sounds good.