Carnitine is found naturally in the human body and is responsible for converting fat stores into energy to be used by muscles. Increasing your levels of carnitine can result in improved athletic performance and physique by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass.
Carnitine can also be used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments for people suffering from a wide range of conditions such as heart disease or other cardiovascular problems, as well as kidney disease, overactive thyroid, and fertility problems in males.
What is Carnitine?
Carnitine is a type of amino acid produced naturally in the body by the liver and kidneys. It is found in high concentration in red meat, and at lower levels in dairy products, cod fish and numerous vegetables.
For those who cannot produce enough carnitine or have difficulty consuming enough to meet their requirements, supplements may be useful in preventing a carnitine deficiency. For athletes and people who go to the gym, carnitine can help increase energy levels and muscle development, as well as promote fat loss.
Carnitine health benefits:
- Improves athletic performance and endurance
- Improves Muscle growth
- Supports Bone mass growth
- Supports Fat loss
- Increases in levels of mental clarity and alertness
- Improvement of a range of heart conditions such as angina, congestive heart failure, and circulation problems
- Prevents heart attack reoccurrence
- Improves the red blood cell count in people with kidney disease
- Reduces symptoms associated with an overactive thyroid gland
- Increases sperm count in males with fertility problems
Carnitine supports energy
Carnitine increases energy and stamina levels by encouraging the body to burn fat as fuel, saving the glycogen stores in the liver until they are absolutely necessary to use.
Taking carnitine supplements gives the muscles additional energy they would otherwise not have access to. This results in increased stamina and endurance in aerobic activities. Other positive effects are a reduction in muscle fatigue and a decrease in recovery time, all of which will help you feel more energised during the day.
In addition to the physical effects, carnitine benefits mental alertness and concentration. Studies have shown that carnitine can also help prevent age related cognitive impairment.
Carnitine and weight loss
Carnitine can speed up weight loss and help your body burn fat quickly by transporting energy from fat stores to be consumed by your muscles.
If the carnitine levels are increased, the speed and efficiency of which the body burns fat, is increased. Also, stamina and endurance levels go up, meaning you have the energy to burn more calories and undertake longer, tougher workouts on a more regular basis.
Carnitine can also help reduce levels of dangerous, visceral fat stored around the belly. This results in lower levels of cholesterol and decreases the risk of developing atherosclerosis (calcified arteries).
Carnitine and cardiovascular heart
In addition to conventional treatments for heart conditions, carnitine can be a useful supplement for a range of cardiovascular health issues. Carnitine benefits those suffering from angina and can help reduce chest pain during exercise.
Studies have also shown that the intake of carnitine supplements shortly after a heart attack can reduce the risk of another one occurring. Carnitine assists in reducing cholesterol levels and can help protect against the development of heart disease.
Carnitine can also be used as a treatment for other conditions of the heart and blood vessels such as circulation problems, congestive heart failure, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and complications from diphtheria.
Carnitine for exercise and recovery
Taking a supplement of carnitine reduces muscle fatigue and soreness associated with undergoing a strenuous exercise or gym routine. This results in a shorter recovery time between workouts and can help you achieve strength and fitness goals much more quickly.
Studies have shown that a carnitine dosage of 1000 mg per day is effective in improving levels of muscle stress markers hypoxanthine, xanthine oxidase, myoglobin, and general inflammation and soreness levels in response to strength training.
Carnitine supplement can be useful for people, who
- make sports on a regular or professional basis
- want to lose weight
- want to reduce visceral body fat
- suffer from heart diseases
- who have recently suffered a heart attack
- have angina pectoris
- follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, and therefore have a low carnitine intake
- suffer from a serious kidney disease
- have an overactive thyroid glands
- are male and have fertility problems
Carnitine side effects
As it occurs naturally in the body carnitine side effects are unlikely. However there is a risk that carnitine may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach upsets if taking in doses over 5g per day.
Carnitine interacts with prescription drugs used for the treatment of thyroid and kidney conditions. Carnitine should not be taken with the thyroid hormone replacement drug Thyroxine. Carnitine also interacts with blood thinning medications.
Carnitine dosage and recommendations
Carnitine dosage depends of the condition it is being used to treat. It is generally taken in the form of carnitine capsules or carnitine tablets.
- For general health and fitness, 2.000 mg to 4.000 mg daily are suggested.
- For L-Carnitine deficiencies, chest pain and congestive heart failure, a dose of 1.000 mg two to three times per day is recommended.
- Following a heart attack, a dose of 2.000 mg to 4.000 gm daily is recommended.
Carnitine supplements are suggested to
- improve athletic performance
- increase your physical stamina and endurance
- increase muscle and bone mass
- Iincrease the body's ability to burn fat more efficiently
- reduce muscle soreness and tissue damage after strenuous exercise
- reduce recovery time between workout sessions
- enhance energy and mental clarity throughout the day
- prevent heart disease and heart attacks
- improve red blood cell counts in people with serious kidney disease undergoing hemodialysis
- in case of an overactive thyroid gland, helps to reduce the hyperthyroid symptoms such as fast heartbeat, anxiety and fatique
Other names of Carnitine
Other names for carnitine include L-Carnitine, L-Carnitina, L-Carnitine Fumarate, L-Tartrate, L-Carnitine Tartrate, Levocarnitine Fumurate, Carnitine, Carnitor, D-Carnitine, DL-Carnitine, DL-Carnitine, trimethylammonium hydroxide, Vitacarn, and Vitamin B.