L-carnitine, also known as levocarnitine, is a naturally occurring amino acid that is a key factor in the breakdown of fat into energy produced. It is frequently used as a dietary supplement. However, an oral supplement containing L-carnitine may help those who are deficient.
L-carnitine is used for weight loss and its potential impact on cognitive performance as well. However, the supplement's marketing hype may or may not be backed by research.
Let's learn about the risks and benefits of L-carnitine and how much to take in this article.
L-Carnitine: What Is It, Exactly?
L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative that serves a vital function in the body. Proteins, the building blocks of which are amino acids, are responsible for many of the body's most fundamental functions. For example, carnitine aids the body in converting lipids into energy that cells can use. The human body can produce L-carnitine. However, additional sources (supplementation) may be necessary.
The liver and kidneys are responsible for producing L-carnitine from the amino acids lysine and methionine. In addition, the kidneys are responsible for storing L-carnitine for later usage and eliminating excess levels in the urine.
As a generic term, "carnitine" refers to a group of molecules with varying structures. For example, the body produces and stores L-carnitine, making it the most common form of carnitine.
Some variations of carnitine are:
- Acetyl L-carnitine, or ALCAR, is a form of carnitine that aids metabolism. It has properties that may help protect the neurological system, known as neuroprotective effects.
- Propionyl-L-carnitine is excellent at lowering pain and alleviating arthritic symptoms, in addition to its possible heart-health benefits.
- D-carnitine is the mirror counterpart (optical isomer) of L-carnitine. Harmful to the body because it may prevent the body from absorbing other forms of carnitine.
- L-carnitine L-tartrate iteration can be used as a nutritional supplement by athletes. Research studies suggest it can help ease muscle pain and speed up healing.
L-carnitine and other forms of carnitine play a crucial role in the body's ability to convert food into cellular fuel. The fundamental reason is that it keeps cells energized and running smoothly by facilitating the breakdown of fatty acids for energy.
L-carnitine serves a secondary function in preventing the buildup of waste products within cells by eliminating them.
L-potential carnitine's health advantages extend beyond its essential functions. Among these are:
- Benefits to heart health
L-carnitine supplementation may enhance certain heart health indicators; nevertheless, additional research is required. Increasing L-carnitine levels by supplementation can improve heart health and circulation in patients recovering from a heart attack. In addition, symptoms of heart failure, such as chest pain and irregular heartbeats, may be eased by taking a supplement.
- Disorders of the kidneys or liver
Lack of L-carnitine could result from kidney or liver disease or dysfunction, as these organs are essential to its synthesis and utilization. Therefore, to aid kidney and liver function and prevent depletion, doctors may recommend L-carnitine supplementation in such cases.
- Medications for the treatment of cancer
L-carnitine insufficiency has been linked to the side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy. L-carnitine supplementation may help with symptoms like fatigue and weakness in such cases.
Although it is still early in the study process, experts are looking into the chemical as a possible way to prevent tissue damage caused by chemotherapy.
Most people seem to be able to use L-carnitine without any problems. However, while L-carnitine is generally well tolerated, some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects. You can count on these to be due to:
- Pain in the Stomach
- Some people have a "fishy" body odor, which is non-toxic yet irritating.
- Symptoms include throwing up and diarrhea
What Researcher's Opinion On L-Carnitine Supplement?
Some studies suggest that consuming large doses of L-creatine may raise the long-term risk of cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis.
L-carnitine supplementation may interfere with several antibacterial or anticonvulsant medications. Those thinking about supplementing with L-carnitine should talk to their doctor about any medications they're already taking and whether or not they interfere with the amino acid.
- For weight loss
L-carnitine may help you lose weight & stimulate the uptake of lipids into cells for use as fuel. People feel that taking in extra L-carnitine could help them slim down because of its role in the body's ability to convert fat into usable energy. Although additional research is necessary, several data support this hypothesis. However, human and animal research shows inconsistent results due to the body's complexity.
A study monitored the effects of L-carnitine on fat burning throughout a 90-minute session of stationary cycling. Unfortunately, four weeks of L-carnitine didn't boost fat metabolism. However, many researchers found evidence for this hypothesis after reviewing nine papers. In addition, L-carnitine supplementation was associated with more significant weight loss (2.9 lb vs. 1.3 kg, on average) among those who participated in the study.
Note: L-carnitine is no substitute for a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Before starting L-carnitine supplementation, people should consult their doctor. Assisting the patient in avoiding unwanted reactions and interactions, the doctor may have further advice to back up any essential treatment.
In general, L-carnitine is well tolerated. Daily doses of 1-3 grams are recommended. However, those with an L-carnitine shortage due to genetic abnormalities or other conditions should talk to a doctor about getting the correct dose for them.
Each person's reasons for the need for extra L-carnitine will likely result in a different ideal dose and form of this molecule. These are:
- For healthy adults people
As suggested by the National Institutes of Health, Extra L-carnitine from diet or supplements is unnecessary for healthy people. The liver and kidneys' natural production will meet this daily requirement.
Although it is synthesized internally, carnitine can be found in high quantities in many common foods. Eating fish, red meat, or chicken is one of the best ways to get your protein intake.
According to the NIH, the average adult receives between 60 and 180 milligrams (mg) of carnitine per day from a diet high in red meat and other animal-based foods. Vegetarians and vegans, who don't eat any animal products, can get 10–12 mg from plants instead.
However, carnitine can be stored in the kidneys for later use, so total carnitine levels in the body are relatively stable regardless of what you eat. The kidneys filter out excess carnitine in the blood and eliminate it in the urine.
People who are already in good health should not take L-carnitine supplements.
- For Athletes
An increased amount of L-carnitine is considered to boost performance by some athletes. In addition, having L-carnitine readily available tends to slow muscle metabolism during highly intense physical activity. For this reason, taking a carnitine supplement before, during, and after workouts has the theoretical potential to boost athletic performance.
However, there is no evidence to back this strategy, as pointed out in a study recently published in Molecules. Furthermore, years of study have failed to prove that L-carnitine positively affects athletic performance.
- For Vegetarians And Vegans People
Vegetarians and vegans tend to have lower levels of L-carnitine because they don't eat meat. Accordingly, L-carnitine supplementation may be a good option for vegetarians and vegans. However, the benefits of carnitine supplementation for these groups have not been verified by scientific research.
The body naturally produces the amino acid L-carnitine. However, when a person is healthy, their liver and kidneys store enough of the substance to prevent any shortage.
Before using an L-carnitine supplement, talk to your doctor. Naturally, occurring L-Carnitine is found in YourHappy Weight (Gummies), and research shows that taking in more of this amino acid may improve energy levels, metabolism, and the loss of excess fat and cellulite. However, more investigation is needed to confirm these benefits.
If you're low on L-carnitine, you might benefit from taking a supplement or adding more rich source based foods to your diet.