Home > Getting to Know...L-Carnitine
Getting to Know...L-Carnitine
by Dave Foreman
L-Carnitine is a rising star in the natural health industry. Modern medicine has used it in IV form for years. In natural medicine, it is just hitting its stride. What is it, though? L-Carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and is needed to release energy from fat. It is important in many biological functions, including the transport of fatty acids into mitochondria (the power factory of your cells). L-Carnitine is found in dairy and red meats. Because this is the main dietary source, some vegetarians may require supplementation with L-Carnitine to help maintain good health.As a supplement, L-Carnitine is taken for many health challenges, including: chronic fatigue, diabetes, weight loss, cholesterol, heart disease, infertility, and a host of other health issues.
L-Carnitine seems most effective in supporting heart health, fatigue, athletic performance and recovery, male infertility, and weight loss.
Regarding heart health, science has shown L-Carnitine to have a positive effect on the heart muscle and beat. It is also helpful in maintaining healthy triglycerides and cholesterol. This combination provides a multi-faceted approach to cardiovascular health.
Now that obesity is considered a disease, modern medicine is looking for more cutting-edge approaches (without harmful side effects) to promoting weight loss. L-Carnitine may be the solution we are looking for. Studies in adolescents have shown that L-Carnitine supplementation promotes weight loss and decreases body fat content. When used in conjunction with proper diet and activity, it showed even greater effects on body weight, LDL, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
Until recently, L-Carnitine was either considered a heart healthy supplement or for use in athletes. Athletes now have even more reason to use L-Carnitine. Recent studies show that supplementing with L-Carnitine before and during exercise will reduce muscle soreness, reduce fatigue, and help improve recovery times from high intensity exercise. Some of these effects may be attributed to the increased blood flow that can accompany L-Carnitine use. Decreased fatigue and muscle soreness may also be from the ability of L-Carnitine to decrease lactic acid accumulation and spare glycogen breakdown.
L-Carnitine has shown to be helpful for men with infertility problems. It plays an important roll in increasing sperm count, concentration, and percent sperm motility. I now recommend this as part of a couple’s infertility program.
Finally, when purchasing a supplement of L-Carnitine, you need to make sure you find one with the L-form only. In nature, there are D and L forms of Carnitine. The D-carnitine form is not generally recognized as safe and is considered to be biologically inactive. Products like L-Carnipure® will accomplish this goal. If you aren’t sure you are purchasing the L-form only, spin the bottle and read the supplement facts panel and ingredient list. If it says L-Carnitine, you are getting the right product. If it says D-Carnitine or D, L-Carnitine you are not getting what I recommend.As with anything, education goes a long way, so take advantage of resources that will arm you with the knowledge you need to make healthy choices.