Carnitine, derived from an amino acid, is found in nearly all cells of the body. Its name is derived from the Latin carnus or flesh, as the compound was isolated from meat. Carnitine is the generic term for a number of compounds that include L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine. Carnitine occurs naturally in many foods. Beef, pork, chicken, fish, ice cream, cheddar cheese, whole wheat bread and asparagus tend to have the highest quantities. Other foods like nuts, seeds, artichokes, garlic, okra, parsley, kale, apricots, bananas, corn, oatmeal, rice bran and rye have lesser quantities.
It is also found in supplements and is widely used in this format by bodybuilders. I use it as part of my supplement stack and while I would highly recommend it to readers of both sexes, as with any supplement, before you start using it consult your doctor.
While some diet experts claim that if you are looking to get lean, then L-carnitine is the amino acid you need, others believe the jury is still out on that. L-carnitine transfers long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides into mitochondria, where they may be oxidized to produce energy. It also transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation. Given these key functions, carnitine is concentrated in tissues like skeletal and cardiac muscle that utilize fatty acids as a cardiac muscle that utilize fatty acids as a dietary fuel, according to some studies. It has also been linked to reducing fatigue and serving as an appetite suppressant.
L-carnitine is also a great weapon for hard-gainers looking to pack on muscle. This is the nexus between bodybuilders and red meat. It is the L-carnitine in meat that keeps them eating steaks. Those who don’t eat red meat supplement with L-carnitine as they believe that it can help increase strength and heavier weights mean bigger muscles in the long run. However, there is no documented scientific data to back up these claims.
Carnitine is primarily used for heart-related conditions. Several studies have examined the effectiveness of supplemental carnitine in the management of cardiac ischemia (restriction of blood flow to the heart) and peripheral arterial disease (whose most important symptom is poor circulation in the legs). Because levels of carnitine are low in the failing heart muscle, supplemental amounts might counteract the toxic effects of free fatty acids and improve carbohydrate metabolism. In short-term studies, carnitine has had anti-ischemic properties when given orally and by injection.
How much Carnitine to consume?
Generally, taking a range of two to four grammes of L-carnitine a day is good for general health, I believe. However, it must not be forgotten that nutritional needs should be met primarily from food. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fibre and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less-than-recommended amounts.
In addition, L-carnitine supplements have potential side effects such as nausea and vomiting, cramps, and diarrhoea. L-carnitine supplements can even wreck your social life, because taking three grammes a day can produce a fishy body odour. This does not happen to everyone, but it is advisable to see a doctor before introducing L-carnitine as a supplement. Nevertheless, eating a healthy diet will allow your body to produce this amino acid.
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