Carnitine

L-carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine together with Vitamins C, B3, B6 and iron. 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.

What it does

  1. Energy Enhancer: Carnitine is needed to release energy from fats which it transports into mitochondria, (the powerhouses of cells) where they are used as fuel.
  2. Heart Health: Heart cells have many mitochondria and uses fatty acids as a primary source of energy, it therefore requires high amounts of carnitine for normal function. e a crucial factor in the maintenance of heart health. Carnitine deficiency has been identified in a number of heart conditions, including angina, arrhythmia and cardiovascular disease.
  3. Lipid Lowering: Carnitine can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while improving the ratio between HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  4. Male Infertility:
    Carnitine is found in high concentrations in the epididymis of the testes, where sperm mature and acquire their motility. Carnitine supplementation may be of value in improving sperm count and motility in infertile men.
  5. Liver Health: Carnitine is required for the metabolism and utilisation of fatty acids in the liver it may be particularly helpful in alcohol induced fatty liver and cirrhosis.

Potential Uses

Atherosclerosis Cholesterol Angina
Heart health Liver health Fatigue
Male infertility Endurance exercise

Food sources of Carnitine: Beef, pork, milk, cod, chicken, ice cream, avocado, whole wheat bread, asparagus. People who have a limited intake ofthese foods tend to have lower L-carnitine intakes.

Cautions

Carnitine deficiency may arise from use of various drugs, including valproic acid, phenobarbitol, didanosine, zalcitabine, stavudine, and pivalic acid containing antibiotics.

Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using carnitine.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with carnitine.

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