Carnitine for fat burning, energy, brain and heart health, and longevity

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 good cholesterol).

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 and acetylcholine.

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

The Carnitine Miracle

The Carnitine Miracle, The Supernutrient Program That Promotes High Energy, Fat Burning, Heart Health, Brain Wellness, and Longevity

L-Carnitine and the Heart

The Carnitine Defense

The Carnitine Defense : A Nutraceutical Formula to Prevent and Treat Heart Disease, the Nation's #1 Killer

Disclaimer: 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.