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Natural Health from A to Z
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 • Posted March 30, 2011

L-carnitine is an amino acid that acts like a B vitamin. L-carnitine is made by the body from the amino acid l-lysine along with various vitamins and minerals. Its main function is to provide energy at the cellular level by transporting certain fatty acids to the cells.

L-carnitine increases the use of fat for energy. This helps prevent fatty buildup, especially in the heart, liver and skeletal muscles. L-carnitine lessens the risk of heart disorders, inhibits fatty liver and reduces certain health risks of diabetes.

There have been several, very positive studies on l-carnitine. These include reducing damage to the heart from heart surgery and reducing the pain caused by intermittent claudication, or artery blockages that reduce the supply of blood and oxygen to the legs. L-carnitine has also been shown to reduce heart arrhythmia. Another study showed that acetyl form of l-carnitine helped relieve neuropathy.

Because l-carnitine improves fat metabolism, it lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol. It is also used for weight loss. L-carnitine helps to mobilize fat and convert it into muscle. L-carnitine also helps reduce fatigue from exercise and improves recovery time.

L-carnitine has great anti-aging properties. Every cell in your body – whether it is a brain cell, immune cell, or heart cell works better when it has optimal energy available to it. L-carnitine helps provide energy to the cells, helping them live longer. L-carnitine works very well when combined with another great anti-oxidant / cellular energy supplement – Co-Q10.

L-carnitine is one of the supplements I take on a regular basis. I like it to help maintain my weight and keep me from getting that old age fat-around-the-middle. And I also like how it makes my memory and focus sharper.

The acetyl l-carnitine form is just a different chemical version of l-carnitine that seems to act specifically on the brain and nerves, helping protect nerve cells from stress and deterioration which may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This form of l-carnitine also naturally increases energy to the brain and helps relieve depression. Several studies have shown increased memory and better ability to solve complex problems when taking acetyl l-carnitine.

Although the body makes l-carnitine, deficiencies can occur, and in certain instances, demand for l-carnitine exceeds the body’s ability to make it. Deficiencies of iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6 or l-lysine cause deficiencies of l-carnitine. Deficiencies of l-carnitine are commonly associated with diabetes and heart disease. The typical dose is 1-3 grams per day. L-carnitine is seems to absorb better in a liquid form – my favorite is a liquid gel cap.

Margaret Durst The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.

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