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Carnitine: Source, Benefits and Recommended Dosage

We find Carnitine in nearly every cell in the body. It plays an important role in energy production, as it transports fatty acids into mitochondria.

We find mitochondria inside every cell in the body. It produces the energy the cells need to function.

The body produces L-carnitine (LC) from the amino acids lysine and methionine, Scientists first isolated it from meat. As a result, it took its name from the Latin word for meat.

There is some evidence supporting the use of carnitine in medicine.

It is a popular supplement among athletes, but we need more research to confirm its effectiveness in improving athletic performance.

What is Carnitine?

Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative that often takes as a supplement.

In other word, (LC) is a complementary food ingredient.

After that, Part of (LC) transports long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria. There they burned or oxidized to produce energy. (Source)

Another part transports waste and toxic compounds from the mitochondria, and this prevents unwanted materials from accumulating.

The muscles of the skeleton and heart that use fatty acids as food and fuel contain high concentrations of (LC).

There are four different forms of Carnitine:

  • L-Carnitine: It is one of the most common forms of sports supplement because of its rapid absorption rate. This can help you recover from factors associated with exercise, such as muscle pain.
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine: It often called ALCAR, and this is possibly the most effective method for the brain. It may also used to treat neurological diseases. (Source)
  • Propioni L-Carnitine: This model well suited for problems related to blood flow such as peripheral vascular disease and high blood pressure as it works by producing nitric oxide, which improves blood flow. (Source)
  • D-Carnitine.

Your body can produce L-carnitine from the amino acid methionine, and the body needs a lot of vitamin C to produce (LC) in adequate amounts.

In addition, the carnitine that your body produces, you can also get small amounts by eating animal products such as meat or fish.

In addition, people who are vegan or suffer from certain genetic problems may not produce or get enough essential nutrients,

This makes carnitine a conditionally essential nutrient.

(LC) is the biologically active form of (LC) that found in the body, foods and most dietary supplements.

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The liver and kidneys usually produce enough carnitine in the human body, so eating food or supplements is unnecessary. There is no recommended daily intake.

However, genetic or medical reasons can cause some people to produce less of it.

Primary systemic carnitine deficiency can occur when the protein responsible for introducing carnitine into cells undergoes a genetic change. This deficiency causes problems in food preparation.

This rare condition can lead to:

  • Low plasma carnitine.
  • Progressive cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle.
  • Progressive myopathy.
  • lack of blood sugar.
  • Weakness of the muscles in the hips, shoulders, arms, legs, neck, and jaw muscles.

If not treated, it is fatal. Symptoms worsen gradually from childhood into early adulthood. For treatment, the doctor will prescribe medicinal doses of (LC), to treat the problems of cardiomyopathy and muscle weakness.

If this occurs because of other metabolic diseases, then this is secondary carnitine deficiency. Cancer and aging reduce carnitine levels.

People who lack (LC) may need to take a supplement or eat foods that are rich.

Sources of carnitine in food

Sources of carnitine in food

Foods that provide carnitine are mainly animal products, dairy products, poultry, and meat. Red meat is the most common source of carnitine.

Foods high in carnitine include:

  • Cooked beef steak: For instance: 4 ounces, contains 56 to 162 milligrams.
  • Milk: For instance:: 1 cup contains 8 mg.
  • Chicken breast: that cooked, For instance:: 4 ounces contains 3 to 5 mg.
  • Cheese: cheddar, For instance:: 2 ounces contains 2 milligrams.

Non-animal sources include whole-wheat bread and asparagus.

Adults whose diets are rich in red meat consume on average about 60 to 180 milligrams of (LC) per day. A vegetarian diet usually provides between 10 to 12 milligrams a day.

Studies show that the body absorbs 54 to 86 percent of dietary carnitine into the bloodstream, but only 14 to 18 percent when it has taken as a supplement.

Benefits of carnitine?

They say that carnitine have many healing properties that may be useful in treating a range of conditions and diseases.

As an antioxidant, carnitine combats harmful free radicals that cause massive damage to cells.

Health conditions that (LC) can treat include heart failure or a heart attack, angina and diabetic neuropathy.

One review study reported that acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) had a moderate effect on reducing pain, but the evidence remains conflicting, and we need more research.

One study found ALC to be as effective as the conventional treatment, Methylcobalamin, in treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Angina and heart problems

For some time, studies have shown that (LC) may help treat symptoms of angina if used with conventional treatment.

In 2013, a review and meta-analysis linked (LC) to a 27 percent reduction in all-cause mortality, in particular a 65 percent reduction in ventricular arrhythmias and a 40 percent reduction in the development of angina pectoris.

However, it did not lead to a decrease in the progression of heart failure or recurrence of myocardial infarction (MI).

In other word, Carnitine may also normalize the type of vascular dysfunction that occurs with congenital heart defects, according to Dr. Stephen M Black, a cell and molecular physiologist at the Center for Vascular Biology at the Georgia Regent University School of Medicine.

Fatigue and other symptoms of chronic diseases

Most chronic diseases lead to a loss of mitochondrial function that can lead to fatigue and other symptoms.

Research published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine suggests that supplement combinations, including (LC), may help improve mitochondrial function.

They believe that carnitine might reduce symptoms of fatigue in chronic disease patients.

Intermittent claudication

The results, published in the journal Thrombosis Research, looked at the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC) given to patients with a condition known as intermittent claudication.

In addition, Intermittent claudication can cause pain when walking or running, because damage or narrowing of the artery leads to poor blood supply.

It affects the blood vessels in the legs, but it can affect the arms. The pain usually occurs in the feet, calves, thighs, hips, or buttocks, depending on where the artery damaged.

The authors found that patients with PAD could walk comfortably for longer periods and longer distances after using PLC.

Alzheimer’s disease

A study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging concluded that acetyl-L-carnitine may help people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Those who took the supplement noticed a slight decrease in scores on the Scales assessing Alzheimer’s disease and mild mental status, compared to those who took the placebo.


PLC and ALC improved the effectiveness of sildenafil, or Viagra, in restoring sexual potency.

Studies in infertile men have shown that 2 to 3 grams per day for 3 to 4 months can increase sperm quality, and that 2 grams for two months may increase sperm motility.

However, other studies have not confirmed this.


LC supplementation may help reverse a decline in critical immune cells in people with HIV or AIDS. Low carnitine levels may occur because of treating these conditions.However, we need more studies to confirm results.

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) notes that people sometimes take (LC) for weight loss, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive thyroid gland. They point out that there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support any of these uses.

Above all, Treating a serious condition with supplements can sometimes be dangerous. Anyone with symptoms or diagnosed with a serious illness should seek conventional treatment from a qualified medical professional.

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Although the National Institutes of Health says carnitine is ” safe and well tolerated,” carnitine supplementation can have some unwanted effects.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), taking 3 grams of carnitine per day leads to:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
  • Body odor.
  • Other sources show that an increase in appetite, and a rash may occur.

Rare side effects include:

  • Muscle weakness in uremic patients.
  • Seizures in those who already have seizure disorders.

People should especially inform their doctor before using it as a supplement if they have:

  • Diabetic.
  • Kidney disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Cirrhosis.

Carnitine can interact with phenobarbital, valproic acid, phenytoin, carbamazepine, and some antibiotics, but there is no evidence that these can lead to a deficiency.

Anyone who takes a carnitine supplement should acetyl-L-carnitine at a dose of 500 mg to 1000 mg daily. Before taking any supplement, it is always advisable to speak to a doctor.

What is the recommended dose?

What is the recommended dose?

The standard dose of (LC) is 500-2,000 mg daily, although the dose varies from study to study.

Below, I summarize the dosage usage for each form:

  • Acetyl-Carnitine: This form is better for brain health and function. Dosages vary from 600-2,500 mg daily.
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate: This form is most effective for obtaining exercise performance. Dosages vary from 1,000-4,000 mg daily.
  • Propionyl-L-Carnitine: This form is best for improving blood flow in those with high blood pressure or related health conditions. Dosages vary from 400-1,000 mg daily.

Based on research, 2,000 mg (2 grams) per day appears to be safe for long-term use and an effective dose for most forms of (LC).

However, the recommended dose varies, around 500 – 2,000 mg (0.5 – 2 grams) appears to be safe and effective.

Should you take carnitine?

Above all, Your carnitine levels affected by what you eat and what your body is producing.

For this reason, levels are often lower in vegetarians because they avoid animal products

Therefore, they supplement carnitine dietary supplements however, studies have confirmed there is no benefit of carnitine supplementation in these specific groups of people.

Older adults may also benefit from nutritional supplements, and research shows that levels of your carnitine to decrease with age.

A daily amount of 2 grams of carnitine supplement may be beneficial for reducing fatigue and improving muscle function.

The risk of deficiency is higher for those with diseases such as cirrhosis and kidney disease.

Therefore, If you have one of these conditions, supplementing may be helpful.

In conclusion, as with any supplement, talk to your doctor before taking it and using it.

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