L-carnitine is a non-essential amino acid that is made by the kidney and the liver and is derived from the amino acids methionine and lysine. Carnitine plays an important role in transporting long-chained fatty acid across the mitochondrial membranes in cell in order to produce energy. Recent research has determined that carnitine may play a role in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as improving cardiac performance.
What is L-carnitine used for?
L-carnitine has been used as a supplementative treatment in patients who have high cholesterol levels. Previous research has also indicated its use in cardiovascular disease, infertility, enhancement of athletic performance, and weight loss.
Where is L-carnitine normally found?
There is enough carnitine made by your body, so supplementation is not generally required. It is also found in a variety of meat and dairy products.
How much do I take to lower my cholesterol levels?
There is currently no RDI established for L-carnitine, however, doses tend to average between 500 and 2000 mg a day.
How do I know if I am deficient in carnitine?
Carnitine deficiency is rare, since your body makes the carnitine it needs. Symptoms of a carnitine deficiency include muscle weakness, stiffness, or soreness, impaired glucose control, high cholesterol and dark reddish-brown urine. These symptoms could be the symptoms of another disorder, so you should consult your health care practitioner if you experience any of these symptoms.
Who should not take carnitine?
· Individuals who are taking valproic acid or zidovudine, since these drugs can deplete carnitine from the body.
· Individuals with liver disease should consult their health care practitioner or pharmacist before taking L-carnitine.
· If you have an underlying condition, or on other medications, be sure to consult with a pharmacist or your health care practitioner before you begin to take carnitine.