Carnitine, also known as L-carnitine, is a form of amino acid (The “L” in front refers to the biologically active carnitine molecule). Although it is not exactly an amino acid, it is created in the body from the amino acids methionine and lysine.
Carnitine is abundant in dairy products, read meat and various grains, nuts and green vegetables. Carnitine is also produced by your body as well and if your body is low in carnitine then your body will suffer to use fat for fuel. This in turn can lead to stunted growth, weakness of the muscles, enlarged liver and many other health issues.
The role of carnitine in the body
Carnitine plays an important role in the body because it assists in the transportation of fat to the mitochondria of the cells, this also includes muscle cells. It’s in the mitochondria where the body burns fat for fuel. Because of the beneficial effect that carnitine has, in helping the body burn fat for fuel, carnitine is used in most fat burners. According to research, using carnitine supplementations during exercise, increases the amount of fat burned. This leads to enhanced fat loss and since carnitine spares muscle glycogen, muscle endurance also gets a boost.
Other benefits of carnitine:
Bone mass: Bone loss due to aging is a common concern for a large percentage of post-menopausal women and senior citizens. Bone loss can greatly increase the chances of osteoporosis, arthritis, fractures and many other bone diseases. But studies have shown that carnitine does help to improve bone micro structural properties and slow down bone loss by decreasing turnover of the bone.
Supplementing with carnitine is also beneficial for heart-related diseases and conditions. Carnitine, along with conventional angina treatment, helps angina sufferers to exercise without having discomfort or chest pain and reduces the needs for medicine as well. There are studies which show that taking L-carnitine after having a heart-attack, reduces the likelihood of having another one. Carnitine is often given to people who suffer from heart disease.
Carnitine is produced naturally by the body like I mentioned and it is the kidneys that produce natural carnitine. Carnitine supplementations have been suggested for people who have been diagnosed with kidney disease, so that the deficiency of carnitine can be made up.
Type 2 diabetes:
Supplementing with carnitine can also be beneficial for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes. By taking L-carnitine, the body is able to increase glucose storage, glucose oxidation and also the uptake of glucose.
The immune system:
L-carnitine can also prevent the damage that free radicals do the healthy cells, because L-carnitine is an antioxidant. This can be very helpful if you are dealing with seasonal allergies, cold or hard training.
Carnitine has been shown to improve the quality of sperm and also the sperm count. So taking it is beneficial for the men that are struggling with low sperm counts.
Breast feeding women:
One of the real benefits of breast feeding is the amount of calories it burns but it also decreases the levels of carnitine. While a woman is pregnant then the levels of carnitine do not drop but taking carnitine supplementation does help prevent any deficiencies while breast feeding. If you combine both carnitine supplementation and breast feeding, then you are able to get rid of the baby weight quicker as well.