Continuing the series on amino acids, this week we will look at carnitine. Carnitine is synthesized in our livers from two other amino acids, lysine and methionine. It occurs in two forms, D- and L-, with L-carnitine being the biologically active form.
An important function of L-carnitine is to facilitate the breakdown and transport of long-chain fatty acids from the cell plasma into the mitochondria where they can be burned for fuel, creating energy in the form of ATP. Studies have also found that carnitine:
· reduces fat mass and increases muscle mass
· increases energy & endurance
· reduces fatigue, including those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
· reduces triglycerides and cholesterol levels
· increases osteocalcin, the hormone responsible for building new bone
· acts as a strong antioxidant protecting the brain and spinal cord
· improves mental alertness, memory, and mood
· improves insulin resistance
· improves male fertility by increasing sperm count & motility
· is often deficient in vegetarians
· may need to be supplemented in pregnancy.
Carnitine is found in most muscle meats, but is particularly high in lamb and beef. It is a popular supplement for weight loss and body building. Carnitine has only recently (December 2011) been approved by Health
for sale in Canada
without prescription. Caution: people on prescription blood thinners should
only take carnitine under medical supervision.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.