What is Carnitine?
L-carnitine is a substance that is naturally produced in the body and is also found in certain foods, such as meat and dairy products. It plays a vital role in the metabolism of fats, particularly in the production of energy. It is involved in the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, the energy-producing structures in cells. Once inside the mitochondria, these fatty acids are broken down through a process called beta-oxidation to produce energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This process is important for the proper functioning of the body’s cells, particularly those in the heart and muscles.
L-carnitine supplements are sometimes used to improve athletic performance, increase energy, and promote weight loss. Some people also use L-carnitine supplements for other purposes, such as to treat heart disease, angina (chest pain), and male infertility. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses and more research is needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of L-carnitine supplements.
Carnitine, derived from an amino acid, is found in nearly all cells of the body. Its name is derived from the Latin carnus or flesh, as the compound was isolated from meat. Carnitine is the generic term for many compounds that include L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine. In addition, it plays a critical role in energy production. It produces energy by transporting long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria to oxidize (“burned”) . Furthermore, it also transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation.
Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production. It transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria to oxidize (“burned”) to produce energy. It also transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation. Carnitine is concentrated in tissues like skeletal and cardiac muscles that utilize fatty acids as a dietary fuel.
The body makes sufficient Carnitine to meet the needs of most people. For genetic or medical reasons, some individuals (such as preterm infants) cannot make enough, so Carnitine is a conditionally essential nutrient for them. If you’re looking to supplement L-Carnatine or other types of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, come see Fluid Revival. As Austin’s Best IV Therapy Clinic, we specialize in mobile services to your home, office or hotel room. Book an appointment today to learn more about what your body needs for peak performance.
Role of Carnitine to the Body
Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production. It transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria to oxidize (“burned”) to produce energy. It also transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation.
L-Carnitine helps the body produce energy. It is vital for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and many other body processes.
Carnitine deficiency is a condition where the nutrient can’t reach your body’s cells. It can cause muscle weakness. It may also cause heart and liver problems. With the primary condition, not enough Carnitine can get into cells because of a genetic problem.
Two types of Carnitine deficiency are: Primary Carnitine deficiency is a genetic disorder of the cellular carnitine-transporter system that usually manifests itself by five years of age with symptoms of cardiomyopathy, skeletal-muscle weakness, and hypoglycemia.
Secondary Carnitine deficiencies may occur due to certain disorders (such as chronic renal failure) or under particular conditions (e.g., using certain antibiotics) that reduce Carnitine absorption or increase its excretion.
Causes of Carnitine Deficiency
An abnormal gene causes the primary condition.
A variety of health conditions can cause secondary conditions. These decrease the amount of Carnitine in the body. They may do this by increasing the amount sent out in the urine. Or, they may cause the body to absorb less from food. The health problems that can cause this include:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease, especially with dialysis
- A digestive disease that causes poor absorption
- Mitochondrial disease
- Certain metabolic disorders
- Certain medicines, such as valproate
Who is at risk for Carnitine deficiency?
The primary condition is the passing from parents to children. A child needs to get an abnormal copy of the gene from both parents.
You may risk the secondary condition if you have liver or kidney disease or certain other health conditions.
Symptoms of Carnitine Deficiency
Symptoms can happen a bit differently in each person. You may have no symptoms, or your symptoms may be mild to severe. Some symptoms may appear with skipping meals, a lot of exercise, or illness.
- Decreased or floppy muscle tone or muscle weakness
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Delayed movement (motor) development
- Poor feeding in a baby
- Symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if the liver is affected
- Swelling (edema) or shortness of breath, if the heart is affected
Sources of Carnitine
Carnitine naturally occurs in animal-sourced food items like Eggs, Fish, and Red meat. For this reason, most vegetarians and vegans are at risk of lacking this vital nutrient in their daily intake.
Health Benefits of L-Carnitine
- Enhances Endurance-Carnitine plays an essential role in the energy production process. Endurance athletes like long-distance runners, swimmers, cyclists, and others will be able to harness the direct benefits from Carnitine.
- Promotes Weight Loss-carnitine was known for its weight loss action. Science has also confirmed the same. In that study, it was found that supplementing with Carnitine coupled with diet and exercise leads to a more considerable amount of weight loss compared to others. Carnitine is not a quick fix for fat loss. Instead, pair it with regular exercise and a healthy diet for maximum results.
- Reduces the Risk of Muscle Damage-Carnitine is a critical amino acid shown to reduce muscle tissue damage from longer workout routines. The lower the number of damaged muscles sustain during a workout, the faster they recover and grow.
Bump Up Fat-Burning-Other than increasing weight loss, this amino acid also kicks up the process of burning fat as well. When an athlete aims to shed body weight, the athlete will not be losing precious muscle mass but fat instead. Not only that, Carnitine has been shown to reduce fat build-up in the body.
The recommended L-carnitine Tartrate dosage is 500–2,000mg/daily. Based on the latest research available, a dose of up to 2g/day is safe for long-term consumption without the risk of any side effects. 
For L-carnitine deficiency: 990 mg two to three times daily in tablets or as an oral solution.
For chest pain (angina): Doses of 900 mg to 2 grams of L-carnitine have been taken in one to two divided doses daily for two weeks to 6 months.
For heart failure and fluid build-up in the body (congestive heart failure or CHF): 1.5 to 3.0 grams of L-carnitine has been taken in one to two divided doses daily for up to about 34 months. A specific product (Carni Q-Gel, Tishcon Corporation) containing 2250 mg of Carnitine and 270 mg of coenzyme Q10 has been taken daily for 12 weeks.
For severe kidney disease (end-stage renal disease or ESRD): Doses of 0.64-3 grams or 10 mg/kg of L-carnitine have been used daily for 3-52 weeks. Taking L-carnitine by mouth is not FDA approved to treat carnitine deficiency in people with severe kidney disease.
For overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism): 2-4 grams of L-carnitine has been taken daily for 2-4 months.
For conditions in a man that prevent him from getting a woman pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (male infertility): 2-3 grams of L-carnitine has been taken in up to three divided doses daily, with or without vitamin E, for 2 to 24 weeks. Also, 2 grams of L-carnitine plus 1 gram of acetyl-L-carnitine has been taken daily, with or without a 300 mg cinnoxicam suppository every four days, for 3-6 months. A specific product (Proxeed Plus, Alfasigma USA) containing L-carnitine 1 gram and acetyl-L-carnitine 0.5 gram, with citric acid, zinc, coenzyme Q10, selenium, vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin B12, twice daily for six months.
For swelling (inflammation) of the heart (myocarditis): 100 mg/kg of D, L-carnitine has been taken daily for four days.
For a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS): 250 mg of L-carnitine has been taken daily for 12 weeks. 3-4 grams of L-carnitine have been taken daily during clomiphene treatment, starting at day 3 of the cycle and ending within 2-3 weeks. L-carnitine 3 grams daily for three months has also been used.
For toxic side effects caused by the drug valproic acid: 50 to 100 mg/kg has been taken in three or four divided doses daily up to a maximum of 3 grams.
CARNITINE TAKEN TRHOUGH IV THERAPY
For L-carnitine deficiency:
Doses of 50 mg/kg of L-carnitine have been given as a slow injection or by infusion followed by 50 mg/kg of L-carnitine in divided doses every 3 to 4 hours over the next 24 hours. In the following days, daily maintenance doses are usually in the range of 50 mg/kg. For people with L-carnitine deficiency related to hemodialysis, 10 to 20 mg/kg of L-carnitine adjusted for L-carnitine blood levels is used.
For chest pain (angina)
An infusion of 3 grams of L-carnitine in 500 mL of 5% dextrose has been given once daily for 14 days. 40mg/kg of D-L-carnitine has also been provided by IV 30 minutes before exercise.
For heart failure and fluid build-up in the body (congestive heart failure or CHF)
5 grams of L-carnitine has been given by IV daily for seven days in addition to conventional treatment.
For severe kidney disease (end-stage renal disease or ESRD)
Doses of 10 to 20 mg/kg of L-carnitine given as a slow injection are FDA-approved for L-carnitine deficiency in people with severe kidney disease. For treating disorders related to low levels of Carnitine in hemodialysis patients, 1.8 grams of L-carnitine weekly to 3 grams daily or 30-120 mg/kg/week have been given by IV for two weeks to 12 months. Doses were usually given three times weekly after dialysis sessions. Also, 1 gram of L-carnitine has been provided by IV three times weekly after each dialysis session together with 100 mg of coenzyme Q10 taken by mouth daily for three months.
For toxic side effects caused by the drug valproic acid
150-500 mg/kg/day up to 3 grams/day has been used