L-Carnitine: Health Benefits And Side Effects

L-carnitine is an amino acid naturally produced by our body. Aside from weight loss, L-carnitine may also help improve brain function.

red l-carnitine capsule

L- Carnitine: A General Overview

L-Carnitine is an amino acid derivative that is naturally occurring and taken as a form of supplementation. This supplement can have some benefits for the function of the brain and is mainly used for losing weight. It must be noted, that these anecdotal claims are rather different from actual scientific data. In this article, we will look at the possible health benefits and risks of taking amino carnitine supplements.

L-Carnitine And Carnitine

But what is l-carnitine? L-carnitine is carnitine’s biologically active variant that can be obtained in most supplements, food items, and the human body. Below are the several different forms of carnitine:

  • D- Carnitine: This is an inactive form of carnitine. D-carnitine inhibits the uptake of L-carnitine by cells, which can lead to carnitine deficiency.
  • Acetyl- Carnitine: This is most commonly referred to as ALCAR. It is considered one of the most effective variants of carnitine for the human brain. There is evidence to suggest that individuals suffering from neurodegenerative diseases can benefit from this kind of carnitine supplement. 
  • Propionyl L-Carnitine: This form of carnitine is best for circulatory system health issues, such as high blood pressure and peripheral vascular disease. It can lead to a better flow of blood by boosting the production of nitric oxide.
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartare: This is mostly used as an add on for spots supplements due to its rapid rate of absorption. It can help in recovering from exercise and address the soreness of the muscles.

For a lot of individuals, L Carnitine (amino carnitine) and acetyl L-carnitine seem to be generally most ideal and effective. However, always go for the option that best suited your goals and needs.

Amino Carnitine: Its Role in the Human Body

The main role of l-carnitine in the body involves energy production and mitochondrial function. At the cellular level, it can aid in the transportation of fatty acids going to the mitochondria for them to utilize as a form of energy or fuel. There is around ninety-eight percent of stored amino carnitine in the body. They can be in small amounts in the blood and the liver, but most of them can are in the muscles. L-carnitine can also aid in terms of increasing the function of the mitochondria, which can then result in healthy aging and fighting off certain diseases.

Possible Health Benefits of L-Carnitine

Weight Loss

Theoretically speaking, amino carnitine’s use for supplements that promote weight loss is logical. This is because amino carnitine can aid in transporting fatty acids into the cells to be used up as a form of fuel, leading to most theories that point towards this supplement’s ability to increase weight loss and efficient fat burning. Please note, that the body is a complicated piece of machine, and the data supporting its claim is mixed in terms of studies conducted on both animals and humans.

In a study that ran for eight weeks conducted on 38 females who worked out four times weekly, no difference was noted on those who consumed amino carnitine supplements versus those who did not. Also, 5 participants who took the aforementioned supplement encountered diarrhea and nausea. A different student also conducted on humans monitored the effects of amino carnitine in terms of burning fat for stationary bicycle workouts for an hour and a half routine. After a month of taking such supplements, no significant improvements were noted. 

On the other hand, an analysis of 9 different studies conducted on older and obese participants lost an average of around 2.9 lbs (about 1.3 kilograms) more for people who took the said supplements compared to those who did not. Further studies are needed to establish the possible health benefits of amino carnitine. While it is true that it can help you lose weight, you should still prioritize a healthy diet, along with regular exercise.

Brain Health

Aside from weight loss, amino carnitine may also help improve the function of the brain. There are some studies conducted on animals that showed how the ALCAR form of amino carnitine aids in the prevention of mental decline caused by the aging process along with enhanced learning functions.

Studies on humans, on the other hand, showed that taking acetyl-L-carnitine daily can aid in the reversal of brain function reduction linked to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. This variant of amino carnitine can provide a health benefit for brain function in seniors and adults that are older who do not have any brain condition or Alzheimer’s. In certain instances, this variant can also help in the protection of the brain against damage to the cells.

A three (3) month study showed that individuals with addiction to alcohol who consumed amino carnitine daily had significant boosts in their brain function measurements.

Possible Side Effects of Amino Carnitine

Generally, L-Carnitine taken in the amount of two grams or less is safe and does not have any adverse effects for most people. Another study also showed that individuals who just consumed three grams of l-carnitine for three weeks encountered no adverse effects. In one safety review of l-carnitine, the use of the said supplement of only two (2) grams daily, which seemed to be safe for use in the long term. However, some other effects are mild such as stomach discomfort and nausea.

While l-carnitine can be safe for most people and may provide certain health benefits, people must also consider the possible side effects of the said supplements. 

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