What is L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body and found in high quantities in animal flesh, primarily in red meats but is also present in lesser doses in pork, chicken and dairy. Vegans and those of other specific diets may struggle to reach adequate consumption of L-Carnitine but can source the amino from nuts, seeds, legumes or L-Carnitine supplements.
L-Carnitine plays a vital role in the metabolism of fatty acids and consequently the production of cellular energy, because of this L-Carnitine has been supplemented for the best part of 100 years to aid the body in producing energy.
Why consume Carnitine?
Forms of Carntine are commonly supplemented in sports and functional nutrition for: Weight Loss, Immune System, Physical Performance, Workout Capacity, Recovery and most recently, to improve brain function and cognitive performance through an increase in energy and reduction in mental fatigue.
Carnitine is found in a number of forms, L-Carnitine being the standard biologically active form of Carnitine that is found in our bodies and food sources, It helps the body convert fat into energy and is typically supplemented by those wishing to lose weight or burn fat.
Other forms include:
D-Carnitine - This is an inactive form and may prohibit the absorption of other more biologically useful forms of Carnitine in the body.
Propionyl-L Carnitine - An active form of Carnitine that is perceived to improve blood flow and is generally taken for blood flow related issues.
L-Carnitine L-Tartrate - The most common form of Carnitine found in sports supplements due to its rapid absorption rate. Supplementation of Carnitine is seen to improve muscle soreness and recovery.
Acetyl-L Carnitine (ALCAR) - A processed form of L-Carnitine that can pass the blood-brain barrier and is predominantly used to energise the brain.
How to consume Carnitine?
When used sensibly, L-carnitine is seen as safe and free of serious side effects. One study examined L-carnitine's safety by giving participants 3 grams every day for 21 days. A comprehensive blood panel was conducted for each participant at the beginning and end of the study, and no negative effects were seen
The standard dose for L-carnitine is between 500-2,000mg. While adults deficient in carnitine are typically advised to consume 990mg two to three times daily.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18646596 - Carnitine on energy metabolism from fat)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15039515 - Carnitine on mental fatigue
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11726261 - Carnitine's safety on use