Carntine deficiency can cause fatigue, depression, heart
problems, weakness, hypoglycemia, fat accumulation, heart disease, angina and
a host of other ailments. This is because it is essential to the chemistry of
energy, and nothing in the body works without energy. Carnitine supplementation
has a number of beneficial effects and very few side effects.
Carnitine (also called L-Carnitine or Acetyl-L-Carnitine)
is needed to move fuel sources into cells, and to move waste products out of
cells. Your muscles, heart and brain contain the highest levels, since they
use the most energy. This is also why Carnitine supplementation can help with
muscle weakness, fatigue and an inability to reach peak exercise goals and to
even recover more quickly from exercise. Carnitine also increases HDLs (the
Carnitine can also improve cardiac arrhythmia, congestive
heart failure and cardiomyopathy, and can help you recover more quickly from
a heart attack or bypass surgery. Carnitine has been shown to decrease the severity
of a heart attack and to improve exercise tolerance, including walking distance,
in those who suffer from angina and poor circulation. It has also been tied
to improved performance of seasoned athletes. It can protect the heart from
the toxic effects of chemotherapy known to damage the heart and even cause death
from heart damage.
Carnitine's benefits are not limited to muscles. It can
also improve memory, attention span, senility, learning disabilities and brain-blood
flow. This is because it is can mimic acetylcholine, the primary neurotransmitter
of the brain. It also has the ability to increase the body's production of glutathione,
which is a key nutrient in the detoxification process. Carnitine also stimulates
the production of Coenzyme Q10 (among other things), which enables the heart
to pump more efficiently and improves sugar metabolism.
A Carnitine deficiency can cause low sperm motility in
some men. It can also be the missing ingredient needed to reverse a number of
conditions, including cirrhosis of the liver, memory loss, depression, diabetes,
recurrent infections and respiratory distress in infants. A Carnitine deficiency
can be made worse by consuming alcohol, fatty foods, and sugar.
Carnitine helps the body metabolize fatty acids. It helps
your body use fat by carrying fatty acids into the mitochondria so that the
fat can be burned into energy, instead of stored as far in your arteries.
Carnitine is not a vitamin or mineral, but a naturally
occurring amino acid present in all tissues. Carnitine is manufactured in the
body from the amino acids Lysine and Methionine.
In one study, carnitine supplementation in 20 diabetics
resulted in a significant drop in triglycerides, serum lipids and cholesterol,
within 10 days (Abdel-Aziz et. al., Effect of carnitine on blood lipid pattern
in diabetic patients. Nutr. Rep. Internat. 29:1071, 1984). In another study,
18 patients with high triglycerides had significant reductions with 900 mg of
D,L-carnitine (Maebashi et. al., Lipid-lowering effect of carnitine in patients
with Type IV hyper-lipoproteinemia, Lancet, 805-807, Oct 14, 1978). Other studies
have shown results in just two weeks (Lancet, 1201-2, June 1979). Research in
10 Italian hospitals found that carnitine improved attention span, long-term
memory and verbal ability in Alzheimer's patients (Science News, Nov. 30, 1991,
pg 365). They found that carnitine stimulates nerve cells to make new membranes
Although 20 times as much Carnitine is present in red
meat than in fruits and vegetables, meat is probably not the optimal source
of this nutrient. A better source is an Acetyl-L-carnitine supplement (500 mg
2 to 3 times a day), combined with a good multi-vitamin to help improve absorption.
Plain L-Carnitine (at the same dose), is a less expensive alternative.
Since studies have shown that carnitine may increase
endurance as well as exercise tolerance, a 2-week trial under a doctor's supervision
may be useful. You might try 750 mg twice a day. If you don't notice any improvement,
the supplementation should be discontinued (Marconi et. al., Effects of L-carnitine
loading on the aerobic and anerobic performance of endurance athletes, Eur.
J. Appl. Physiol., 54(2):131-135, 1985).
Check out these books on Carnitine from Amazon.com:
the information here is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended
to replace the services of health professionals, or to diagnose any medical
condition or prescribe treatments.