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L-Carnitine Health Benefits, Properties, and Uses

L-Carnitine

Properties: Antioxidant, Immune system booster, Neuroprotective

What is L-Carnitine?

Carnitine is a generic term for a range of compounds, including L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine. L-Carnitine is a substance produced by the body and derived from amino acids. The biomolecule is so closely related to amino acids that it’s often considered with them.1,2 

The body uses carnitine for energy production. Carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids to the cell’s mitochondria to be converted into energy. It then transports toxic compounds out of the mitochondria. Your body produces carnitine in the liver and kidneys and stores it in tissues that use fatty acids as fuel, including cardiac and muscle cells.1,3

L-carnitine is considered a “conditionally essential” nutrient.4 Most people produce enough on their own that they don’t need to supplement with an L-carnitine diet. However, when a person’s energy needs are high, L-carnitine supplements become essential. This may occur when your body doesn’t produce enough L-carnitine or it can’t transport it properly.3 

Low levels of L-carnitine may occur in people with angina or intermittent claudication, or in those taking certain medications.3 Preterm infants and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers may require L-carnitine supplements.1,4 Athletes in endurance sports, such as running, might also take L-carnitine supplements to help with performance.5

L-carnitine is available as supplements but is also present in animal products like meat and dairy.1

L-Carnitine Uses and Health Benefits

L-carnitine benefits include that it acts as an antioxidant. It also helps treat various health conditions that affect its natural levels. Among L-carnitine uses, it can benefit patients with:

  • Intermittent Claudication - Intermittent claudication is pain caused by reduced blood flow as a result of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Various forms of carnitine can help reduce symptoms and improve mobility.
  • Down Syndrome - Forms of carnitine, including acetyl-L-carnitine, are said to help improve attention and visual memory in people with Down syndrome.
  • Congestive Heart Failure - L-carnitine benefits heart health and reduces damage caused by insufficient oxygen.
  • Diabetic Neuropathy - Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve condition caused by diabetes. L-carnitine can help regulate diabetes and prevent diabetic neuropathy. It’s said to improve insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes and increase glucose oxidation.
  • Angina - Angina refers to chest pain caused by a range of heart conditions. Since L-carnitine benefits the heart, it can help ease angina symptoms. Studies have shown that supplementing with L-carnitine can help people with angina exercise without experiencing chest pain.

L-Carnitine Side Effects and Precautions

L-carnitine supplements are considered safe in recommended doses. High doses of five or more grams per day can cause L-carnitine side effects like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Increased appetite
  • Body odor

Talk to your doctor about taking L-carnitine if you have high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, cirrhosis, kidney disease, or a history of seizures.3 L-carnitine supplements may interact with other medications or herbs. Do not attempt to self-medicate with L-carnitine before talking to your doctor about whether it’s right for you.

 

References

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/
  2. http://www.herbs2000.com/amino_acids/carnitine.htm
  3. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/carnitine-lcarnitine
  4. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2821002
  5. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-3865001
  6. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2795007
  7. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/l-carnitine.aspx

CuresDecoded worldwide community recommends L-Carnitine for:

Down Syndrome Effective
Depression Effective
Heart Disease Effective
Memory Loss Effective
Asperger Syndrome Effective
Liver Cancer Effective

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