L- Carnitine – Benefits, Uses, Side Effects

What is L Carnitine?

L- Carnitine is an amino acid that is produced by the human body to turn fat into energy essentially.

It is a nutrient and dietary supplement which is also consumed orally by people with naturally occurring low levels of L Carnitine due to genetic disorders, for medical procedures, like hemodialysis, which uses up the body’s L Carnitine reserves or if the person is consuming Valproic Acid for seizures.

L Carnitine is consumed for a long list of issues like heart-related chest pains, congestive heart failures, and complications of Diphtheria.

Additionally, it is also taken orally to improve sperm count in men, treat an overactive Thyroid, increase pregnancy rates, and body weights in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

For people whose natural L Carnitine levels are lower than normal, L Carnitine is supplied to their bodies intravenously.

Even though it can be used for other issues and diseases, there exists limited scientific research on the same.

l carnitine

The Benefits of L Carnitine

This amino acid has a wide range of benefits to human beings. Since it is available in multiple forms and types, it has a considerably large spectrum of uses.

  • Energy Production

The primary role of L Carnitine in the human body is to transport fatty acids to the mitochondria where those are burned to generate energy.

It is mostly present in muscles and essentially helps to burn fat and create energy for the body. L Carnitine is present naturally inside the body and is also available as a supplement.

  • Weight Loss

Theoretically speaking, L Carnitine is supposed to aid weight loss. It speeds up the burning of Fatty acids and hence should ideally help one lose weight.

However, even though theoretically, it makes sense, the human body is a lot more complex, and there is not enough scientific evidence that points to the validity of this correlation.

In older adults and obese adults, consumption of L Carnitine has been found to aid the process of weight reduction by a considerable amount.

  • Benefits Brain Functions

Although not enough long term clinical research is present, there is enough animal research to show that L Carnitine or, more specifically, Acetyl L Carnitine prevents age-related mental decline in animals.

Human studies have further shown that Acetyl- L Carnitine has considerably slowed down and reversed the decline in brain functions caused by Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

It has even been seen to protect the human brain from cell damage and improve brain functions in the short term.

  • Heart Benefits

L Carnitine has a huge impact on the health of the human heart. It reduces blood pressure along with the inflammatory processes associated with heart disease.

Additionally, it has also been seen to improve the conditions in patients with severe heart diseases like Coronary Heart Disease or Chronic Heart Failure. Taking L Carnitine supplements reduces the risk of heart failure and related death.

  • Benefits Exercises

Long term usage of L- Carnitine has been seen to improve the performance of sportspersons. A particular form of L Carnitine, L Tartrate, helps in speeding up energy recovery and increases the oxygen supply to muscles.

It also increases stamina by increasing the flow of blood and the production of nitric oxide, which helps in reducing fatigue and thus also reducing muscle soreness. L Carnitine also happens to increase the production of red blood cells in the body, which transport oxygen.

  • Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a very serious disease, affecting a considerable number of adults. L Carnitine also reduces symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes and associated risk factors.

It lowers blood sugar levels comparatively better than the placebo and increases an enzyme called AMPK, which helps the body to use carbohydrates better.

Usage of L Carnitine varies from study to study and from one form of supplement to another. However, there does exist a standard dosage for each of the types of L Carnitine supplements.

  • The Standard dosage for L Carnitine is 500 to 2000 mg per day.
  • For Acetyl- L Carnitine, which is used for the development of brain health and functions, the standard dosage varies from 600 mg to 2,500 mg per day.
  • For L Carnitine L Tartrate, which is the supplement used to boost sports performance, the prescribed dosage ranges from 1000 mg to 4000 mg per day depending upon the intensity of the exercise schedule.
  • Finally, for Propionyl- L Carnitine, the form of L- Carnitine used to improve blood flow in people with high blood pressure and related issues; 400 mg to 1000 mg is the standard dosage per day.
  • In the long run, n matter which forms of L Carnitine supplement one uses, consumption of up to 2 grams or 2000 mg per day has been found to be safe and effective.

 Side Effects of L- Carnitine

Just like any other dietary supplement, oral consumption of L Carnitine has its own side effects if not taken carefully and on the prescription of a doctor.

  • Nausea

L Carnitine has been found to cause nausea in a number of people consuming 2 grams on a daily basis.

  • Stomach Discomfort

The study mentioned above also showed a number of people experiencing mild stomach discomfort after consumption of L Carnitine.

  • Atherosclerosis

L Carnitine supplements, when consumed over a long period of time, have the chance of increasing blood levels of Trimethylamine- N- Oxide (TMAO). Increased levels of TMAO leads to increased risk of Atherosclerosis, which is a disease that essentially clogs arteries.

Consumption of L Carnitine supplements has a whole lot of benefits and are even necessary for a lot of people with lower levels of naturally occurring L Carnitine. However, it is advisable to consult one’s doctor before starting dosage.

The Final Verdict

Even though L Carnitine is known as a fat-burning dietary supplement, it is more of a mixed bag. It might not have a profound impact on weight loss in most people.

However, studies have shown how L Carnitine and its various forms have a wide variety of benefits, such as improving brain functions, helping in exercise performance, and preventing a whole list of diseases.

It is also necessary for a lot of people like older adults, vegans, and people with low levels of naturally occurring L Carnitine to consume supplements.

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