What Are The Uses of Carnitine Supplements?

Carnitine is a substance found in almost every cell in the body. It plays a vital role in the production of energy that all cells need to function properly. It helps to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria (energy centres) of cells and takes out toxic waste from them.

Three different forms of carnitine exist, and these are L-carnitine, acetyl-L- carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine. While these are normally present in sufficient amounts in the body, some genetic abnormalities or metabolic diseases can cause carnitine deficiency. Certain medical conditions and the intake of  some drugs can also reduce the body’s carnitine below a normal level

L-carnitine supplements are taken to boost less-than-ideal stores of carnitine in the body that may result from improper diet and the other factors mentioned above. Vegetarians especially need L-carnitine supplementation, as do those who follow a strength-training program that puts heavy demands on their protein supply.

Among health-conscious people, L-carnitine is valued for its fat-burning ability during and after exercise.

Uses of Carnitine Supplement

L-carnitine supplements are a must for people with carnitine deficiency. Without supplementation, people with this deficiency will continue to experience muscular weakness in many parts of the body, including their hearts. More severe forms of this deficiency also cause low glucose levels, growth retardation, persistent fatigue, liver problems, and diminished brain functioning.

In otherwise healthy individuals, L-carnitine supplements work to keep the heart healthy and protect it from disease. It also appears that carnitine promotes thyroid health, male fertility, memory function, and increased fat burning with regular exercise.

Other uses of carnitine are:

  • It helps type-2 diabetics better manage the common symptoms of metabolic disorders.
  • It augments the diets of strict vegetarians, low-weight infants, and people who are on a low-carb or low-fat diet. Thus, it can be useful after or during illness.
  • It improves blood circulation.
  • It helps to lower high levels of cholesterol.
  • It enhances muscular function. As such, it is useful for bodybuilders who want to bulk up and for all athletes who wish to improve performance and endurance.
  • It helps to decrease muscle soreness and damage related to exercise.

Form and Dosage of Carnitine Supplement

Carnitine is taken orally either in tablet form or as an oral solution. There is also an injectable form that medical professionals can administer.

For healthy people, the recommended daily dosage is 1 to 2 grams. If fat burning is the primary goal, then 3 grams may be taken daily. You should also be doing aerobic exercises regularly; otherwise, L-carnitine won’t do much to reduce excess body fat.

Safety and Precautions of Carnitine Supplement

L-carnitine is generally safe to take, as it is a substance that is normally present in the muscles of the body. If such symptoms as diarrhoea, nausea, or cramps are experienced, simply reduce the daily dosage.

No adverse side effects have been reported when L-carnitine is used properly, apart from some reports that it gives the person a peculiar “fishy” smell.

However, there may be undesirable drug interactions with L-carnitine. People who are taking antibiotics or medications for Alzheimer’s disease and kidney problems should consult their doctor before taking L-carnitine.

In all events, consulting your general physician for advice is recommended before starting to take supplements of any kind, as your doctor will be able to assure you that these supplements are not contrary to the medications prescribed to you.

Food Sources of Carnitine

The best sources of carnitine are lean red meat and, therefore, lean beef would be a good source. You will also find that if you increase your chicken and turkey intake, these also supply carnitine but in smaller quantities.

If your doctor does not like you taking carnitine, you can increase your intake of red meat, and this will help increase your levels.

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