L-carnitine is very similar to the nonessential amino acid carnitine. It performs some of the same functions, such as helping metabolize food into energy.
L-carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and is needed to release energy from fat. It transports fatty acids into mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells. In infancy, and in situations of high energy needs, such as pregnancy and breast-feeding, the need for L-carnitine can exceed production by the body.
L-Carnitine is synthesized primarily in the liver and also in the kidneys, and must be transported to other tissues. It is most concentrated in tissues that use fatty acids as their primary dietary fuel, such as skeletal and cardiac (heart) muscle. In this regard, L-carnitine plays an important role in energy production by chaperoning activated fatty acids (acyl-CoA) into the mitochondrial matrix for metabolism and chaperoning intermediate compounds out of the mitochondrial matrix to prevent their accumulation.
What is L Carnitine ?
L Carnitine is a common nutrient which can help our body to turn fat into energy. It is produced by our body in the liver and kidneys and it is generally stored in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm. Usually, the body makes all carnitine it needs. Some people, however, become deficient of carnitine because of some degenerative condition such as angina or intermittent claudication which can cause insufficient carnitine in the body. Similarly some of the medications also has adverse impact on the L-Carnitine levels. One of the key uses of Acetyl L-Carnitine supplement is for fatty acid oxidation - helping users burn unwanted body fat.
Carnitine has been postulated as a treatment option for many conditions due to its oxidative effects.
How L-Carnitine is available naturally?
- Red meat (particularly lamb)
- Dairy products
- Peanut butter
Different varients of Carnitine
Carnitine is available as supplement in many different forms:
- D-carnitine supplements - It is recommended to avoid this since it impacts the working of normal Carnitine produced by body
Recommended dosage of L-Carnitine
Pediatric - Under strict doctor's supervision only.
Adult - Recommended doses of L-carnitine depends on disease treated and purpose. Usual intakes of carnitine for non-vegetarian persons average 100-300 mg a day. Below are some specialized dosage in case of diseases:
Peripheral vascular disease: 2 - 4 g per day
Diabetic neuropathy: 3 g per day
Male infertility: 300 - 1,000 mg 3 times daily
Angina and heart failure: 1.5 - 2 g per day
Heart disease: 600 - 1,200 mg 3 times daily, or 750 mg 2 times daily
Known Side effects of L-Carnitine
- Muscle weakness
- Symptoms of myasthenia (progressive weakness of certain muscle groups.
What is the difference between L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine?
Carnitine is critical for the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria, where the cells' energy is produced. Reportedly, the L-Carnitine form is preferred by myocardial (heart muscle) cells, with brain cells showing a preference for Acetyl L-Carnitine.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is a drug currently under investigation for Alzheimer disease (AD) therapy. ALCAR seems to exert a number of central nervous system (CNS)-related effects, even though a clear pharmacological action that could explain clinical results in AD has not been identified yet.
L-carnitine and Carnitine
Carnitine is a nutrient responsible for the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the energy-producing centers of the cells (known as the mitochondria). In other words, carnitine helps the body convert fatty acids into energy, which is used primarily for muscular activities throughout the body. The body produces carnitine in the liver and kidneys and stores it in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm.