Copyright Ask Mama Frat

What are your health goals? L-Carnitine can help you convert your fat to fuel, get lean, improve your work out, reduce your fatigue, lessen mental fog, slow bone loss and help your heart.

Convert your fat to fuel:

L-carnitine is a natural compound that is synthesized in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine.  There are two kinds: l-carnitine and acetyl L Carnitine. We are going to focus on the first one today.

Carnitine is an amino acid that is synthesized in the liver and kidneys. It’s predominantly concentrated in the body’s most metabolically active organs. These include the brain, muscles, and the heart. It’s primary job is to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria where they can be burned for energy.

When we are young and healthy we produce all the carnitine we need. However as we age, levels can get depleted by kidney and liver disease, taking certain drugs, having cancer & other age related challenges. Having declines of l-carnitine in the mitochondrial function causes significant energy loss and drain. This is why deficiencies in this amino acid are associated with fatigue, loss of muscle mass and increased body fat not to mention mental fog.


Physical fitness & weight benefits:

If you’re looking to get lean, this amino acid is going to help.  It supports your overall goal of losing fat, and it may improve your workout performance to help you get better results too. It transfers the long chain fatty acids (such as triglycerides) into the mitochondria where they can be used to produce energy. Carnitine is also been shown to reduce fatigue and serve an appetite suppressant. It’s considered to be a major asset in your dieting arsenal because it allegedly keeps your body from storing fat but it also increases your aerobic capacity which enables you to burn calories. How cool is that!?

For those of you like my son who is looking to pack on muscle, supplementing with l-carnitine can help you increase your strength. As you know being able to list heavier weights means bigger muscles in the long run. L-carnitine improves athletic strength and endurance too.


Listen to your heart:

Carnitine has been primarily been used for heart related conditions. These can include heart related chest pain, congestive heart failure, heart attacks, leg pain and circulatory problems (such as intermittent claudication). Several studies have shown that it works well to reduce the needs of medicine & improve the ability of those with angina to exercise without chest pain or discomfort. So, make sure you check with your dr. you are supplementing with it while on heart medicine! It’s also been reported that taking l-carnitine after a heart attack decreases the chances of suffering another one later.


No Bones About it:

As we age we lose bone mass. For those of us post-menopausal this is a concern. No one wants to increase their chances of fractures, osteoporosis or arthritis among other bone issues. Taking l-carnitine can slow down bone loss and improve bone structure.

Some people supplement with carnitine for muscle disorders like those associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, Rhett syndrome and aids too. It’s been used for attention deficit hyper activity disorder is well.


Let’s Get Personal: Sperm count & babies

For those have been trying to have children with male counterparts who have low sperm count l-carnitine is been suggested. It is shown to help improve sperm count and the quality of the sperm.

For those breast-feeding women, the body tends to burn a lot of calories when you’re breast-feeding but there’s a safety mechanism built in to your body which prevents you from wasting away so you can feed this child. This results in lower amounts of carnitine in your body. (See the connection – low L-carnitine = low fat loss. Higher levels equals energy creation which enables you to be active and tire less quickly) Obviously here, I always recommend you talk to your doctor and make sure he’s comfortable with you taking any supplementation especially when pregnant or breast-feeding.


More uses:

L-carnitine serves as an antioxidant too. This can help prevent damage done to healthy cells by free radicals.

L carnitine supplementation is very useful for those who have a genetic disorder that predisposes them to lower levels of it in their body. Its also good for those who are taking certain drugs like valproic acid (which is a drug used with seizures). Supplementation is also used for folks when they’re undergoing a medical procedure like hemodialysis because it uses of the bodies l-carnitine.

It’s also used as a replacement supplement for very strict vegan’s because they don’t eat fish, poultry, dairy or meat which are good sources of this amino acid.

Patients with cancer can benefit from L carnitine supplementation as well. Because they undergo chemotherapy and or radiation they get very tired. Folks that have advanced disease is associated with muscle wasting generally have low carnitine levels as well. While l-carnitine is not a cancer or muscle wasting disease therapy it has been reported to improve people’s quality of life.


Foods to Eat:

You can get carnitine from dietary sources like chicken, avocados, dairy, fish and red meat. And, you can also supplement if you and your doctor agree. I’d take 2 g per day taken without food /between meals.

I’ve supplemented with it for a while now. Took it for a month then stopped and restarted. I used to suffer from chronic fatigue in addition to my other autoimmune and health challenges. At my worst it was a monumental task to get up, get showered and dressed. I couldn’t understand why it took so much out of me. I’m not like that now.

I can’t tell you that l-carnitine is the reason I don’t sleep 18 hours a day anymore… or that its reason my muscles don’t get that lactic acid burn from just climbing up the stairs because I did so many other things in addition to L carnitine supplementation. I can however, tell you that it was one of the things I did with success. So, discuss it with your doctor. Figure out if its right for you and …

…live your best life!

December 18, 2016