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L-Carnitine: Overview, Benefits, Dosage, And Side Effects

L-Carnitine: Overview, Benefits, Dosage, And Side Effects

September 20, 2019

Aiwo

Highlights

  1. L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative that\'s often taken as a supplement.
  2. It plays a crucial role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria.
  3. L-Carnitine is essential for individuals who do not consume meat or fish.
  4. L-Carnitine levels are usually found to be low in vegans and vegetarians.
  5. L-Carnitine has been linked to weight management and improved brain function.
  6. The standard dose of L-carnitine is 500–2,000 mg per day.

Overview

What is l-carnitine?

L-carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative that\'s often taken as a supplement. It is used for weight loss and may have an impact on brain function. However, popular claims about supplements don’t always match up with the science.

Quick Fact: L-Carnitine plays a crucial role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria.

How is l-carnitine produced?

L-Carnitine is produced in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Vitamin C has been shown to assist in the production of sufficient amounts of l-carnitine in the body.

How it works

L-Carnitine acts as a carrier molecule and helps in transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria. Hence it plays an important role in helping the mitochondria to produce energy. L-Carnitine is primarily stored in the muscles. It can also be found in trace amounts in the liver and blood.

Types

L-Carnitine is essential for individuals who do not consume meat or fish and in people with certain genetic conditions. The common types of carnitine are acetyl-l-carnitine and l-carnitine. Out of the two, l-carnitine is the standard biologically active form of carnitine that is found in food and supplements.\n

Sources

What are the main natural food sources of l-carnitine?

Fish and meat are the main natural sources of l-carnitine. L-Carnitine is also produced by the body naturally from the amino acids methionine and lysine. Therefore it may be more useful during situations like when recovering from a disease.

Maintaining optimal l-carnitine levels in the body.

L-Carnitine levels in the body depends on the amount that is produced naturally by the body and the amount that is consumed from external sources like meat and supplements.

Hence, l-carnitine levels are found to be low in vegans and vegetarians since they do not consume meat or fish. Taking l-carnitine supplements is an alternative option in such cases.

Who should consume l-carnitine supplements?

L-Carnitine supplements can be taken by vegans and vegetarians since meat and fish are not part of their diet. It can also be consumed by older adults, since l-carnitine has been shown to reduce fatigue in that population.\nIndividuals with kidney disease and liver cirrhosis also stand to benefit from taking l-carnitine supplements.

Benefits

What are the benefits of l-carnitine?

Some of the common benefits of l-carnitine include:

  1. Weight management.
  2. Improved brain function.
  3. Helps in the regulation of blood pressure.
  4. Improves health in individuals with heart problems.
  5. Reduces symptoms associated with type-2 diabetes.

Quick Fact: The role of L-carnitine in moving fatty acids into the cells to be burned for energy has been linked to its association with weight management.

Research has shown that obese people lost an average of 1.3 kg more weight when they take l-carnitine supplements regularly. It has also been shown to provide protection against brain damage in some cases.\n

L-Carnitine’s effect on the brain has been backed by studies that have shown that it helps to counteract declining brain function and improving health in individuals with severe heart disorders.

Dosage

What is the recommended dosage of l-carnitine?

For most people, 2 grams or less per day can be taken without any serious side effects. In one study, people who took 3 grams every day for 21 days experienced no negative effects.

Quick Fact: A dose of approximately 2 grams per day of l-carnitine is safe for long-term use. 

Safety and Side Effects

What are the common side effects?

Some of the common side effects of l-carnitine supplements when taken indiscreetly are nausea and stomach discomfort.

Quick Fact: The standard dose of L-carnitine is 500–2,000 mg per day. 

Up to 2,000 mg (2 grams) per day of l-carnitine is considered safe and effective in the long term.


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