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Health Benefits of L-Carnitine

Benefits of L-carnitine -
Carnitine is an increasingly popular ingredient found in weight loss and sport nutrition products.

L-carnitine has been extensively studied in the treatment of heart related disease such as angina, congestive heart failure (CHF) and heart attack. There is good evidence that it can help relieve symptoms in angina, CHF and after a heart attack.

Other studies show that taking L-carnitine can improve sperm count and motility in men who are infertile. Some experts suggest that L-carnitine can be given to improve fertility in these groups of individuals.

Other evidence from research studies suggest that L-carnitine may be helpful in treating poor circulation, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high triglycerides (a type of cholesterol), sprains and strains from vigorous exercises and in attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

However, these suggested health benefits of L-carnitine are preliminary and better studies will be needed to confirm these findings.

As for improving athletic performance, one well-designed study showed that it did not help improve performance or recovery time in well-trained athletes.

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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Angina Pectoris (Chest Pain)
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Irregular Heart Beat
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Infertility in Male
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Attention Deficit-hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Reduce Muscle Soreness after Exercise
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal High Cholesterol

Weight Loss - Probably not effective

Enhance Athletic Performance - Probably not effective
Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Intermittent claudication
  • Leg ulcers
  • Lyme's disease
  • Poor circulation
  • Sprains and strains

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Some Facts about the Benefits of L-carnitine

It is a very important chemical in our body as it allows energy to be released from fat. It also transports essential fatty acids into the mitochondria (power generators) of cells. This would explain the importance of L-carnitine in the proper functioning of the heart and brain.

Research studies to support the benefits of L-carnitine

Heart Disease and Irregular Heartbeat

L-carnitine seems to be very important to the heart. One study done on those with high blood pressure and diabetes showed that taking 4 grams of L-carnitine daily reduced irregular heartbeats. It is shown to be effective in reducing the complications from a heart attack. The health benefits of using L-carnitine is gaining attention in the research community. Expect to see more clinical studies in the future.

Enhance Athletic Performance

One well-designed study showed that it did not help improve performance or recovery time in well-trained athletes. However, one clinical study suggests that it can help reduce muscle aches after exercise.

Infertility in men

One clinical study showed that L-carnitine can increase sperm count and motility after 6 months of use. It is known that sperm and seminal fluids contain L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine and that lower levels are often found in people with infertility problems. Other studies in animals show similar benefits.

Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Some initial clinical studies seem to show that taking L-carnitine may help to reduce ADHD symptoms. Additional studies will need to be done to confirm this preliminary finding.

Weight Loss

Since L-carnitine is involved in fat metabolism, it is speculated that taking it may boost fat metabolism and promote weight loss. One study done in a group of patients suffering from bipolar disorder showed that L-carnitine did not have any effect on their weight after 26 weeks.

What's the difference between L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine?

Acetyl-l-carnitine, one of the most important types of carnitine, is converted into L-carnitine in our body. Both forms exist naturally in our body.

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What are the side effects of L-carnitine?

There are no reports of side effects or toxicity linked to taking l-carnitine.

Is L-carnitine safe to use?

Yes. Dosage up to 2 grams daily is safe to use. It is not known for certain if using more than 2 grams daily have any long-term side effects.

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Dose to Use

Typical dose used is 1 to 3 grams daily. Dosage up to 6 grams daily (divided into two or three equal doses) have been used as well in some clinical studies.

The fact is, most people do not need to take this as the body is capable of making it "on-demand". The body can easily make carnitine from the amino acid lysine and methionine along with vitamin C, iron, niacin and vitamin B6.

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Carnitine Deficiency? When can this happen? 

Carnitine deficiency is rare. There are exceptions though. Here are some health conditions that may cause deficiency:

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding - During pregnancy and breast-feeding, the body may need more L-carnitine that can be produced by the body. This could lead to deficiency and supplements may be helpful.

Diabetes or Liver Disease - Another possible health condition that may cause deficiency would be diabetes and liver disease (liver cirrhosis).

Existing Heart Conditions - Some experts believe that low oxygen levels in the heart (such as in those suffering from heart disease) can lead to L-carnitine deficiency.
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Related Articles and Resources to Health Benefits of L-carnitine

Herbs to Increase Fertility

Heart Disease - How to prevent this common condition

Heart Attack - Warning signs and what you should know

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