Bulas and Medicines 2022

L-carnitine: what is it for and how to take it

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L-carnitine: what is it for and how to take it
L-carnitine: what is it for and how to take it

Carnitine is an element naturally synthesized in the body by the liver and kidneys from essential amino acids, such as lysine and methionine, which is present in some foods, such as meat and fish. Carnitine plays a key role in the transport of fats from adipocytes to the cell's mitochondria, which is where carnitine is transformed into energy when the body needs it.

L-carnitine is the biologically active form of carnitine and is mainly stored in the muscles, being widely used in supplements with the aim of enhancing fat burning, generating more energy for the muscles and improving physical performance, being very consumed by athletes or people who want to lose weight.

What is it for

Carnitine is widely used mainly to lose weight, however, studies that bring this relationship are quite controversial, since there are studies that indicate that L-carnitine supplementation increases its concentration in the body, activating the oxidation and, as a consequence, helps to reduce the fat accumulated in the body of obese people.

On the other hand, there are also studies that indicate that oral consumption of carnitine does not promote changes in carnitine concentration in he althy non-obese people and does not cause weight loss. In addition, other benefits that could be obtained from L-carnitine supplementation are:

  • Increase of the body's defenses, as it can exert antioxidant action, eliminating free radicals;
  • Improved income and performance during intense physical activity;
  • Improves blood flow in people with intermittent claudication, which is a condition characterized by excessive pain or cramping during exercise;
  • Improved sperm quality in men who are infertile;
  • Decreases fatigue in elderly people with low muscular endurance and in people with hepatic encephalopathy;
  • Stimulates cognitive abilities such as memory, learning and attention.

It is important to mention that more scientific studies are needed to prove these benefits, since the results are not conclusive.

Types of carnitine

There are several types of carnitine, which are used for different purposes, namely:

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), which is used to improve breathing capacity;
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT), which is used to improve physical performance;
  • Propionyl L-Carnitine (GPLC), which can be used to relieve intermittent claudication and blood flow problems;
  • L-Carnitine, which is used for weight loss.

It is important that carnitine is indicated by the doctor according to the person's objective.

How to take it

L-carnitine can be purchased in capsule, powder or liquid form. The recommended daily dose varies according to the purpose of its use, and can be:

  • L-carnitine: 500 to 2000 mg daily;
  • Acetyl-L Carnitine (ALCAR): 630-2500 mg;
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT): 1000-4000 mg;
  • Propionyl L-Carnitine (GPLC): 1000-4000 mg.

In the case of L-carnitine, treatment is carried out with 2 capsules, 1 ampoule or 1 tablespoon of L-carnitine, 1 hour before physical activity and always according to the nutritionist's guidance.

To improve sperm quality in infertile people, some studies indicate that consuming 2g of L-carnitine for 2 months could help improve sperm quality.

Contraindications and possible side effects

L-Carnitine is contraindicated for people with a very low BMI, low fat or heart problems.

Some of the side effects that can be caused by L-carnitine are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and muscle pain.

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