L-carnitine: what is it?
Often considered an amino acid, carnitine is actually a synthesized substance (a dipeptide) from 2 essential amino acids: lysine and methionine. It is naturally made by the liver and kidneys within the body.
Carnitine intervenes in our cells. Its main function is to promote and improve the transport of lipids in our body. By improving this metabolic combustion, our body thus degrades fat instead of storing it. The cells will use the fat as fuel, very useful especially during prolonged efforts.
Carnitine is divided into 2 main forms: L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine.
What effects on the body?
The most important role of L-carnitine on our body is the transport of fatty acids in cellular mitochondria (the combustion machines of our body). Without this essential substance for the body, dietary fat could not be burned properly.
People whose body does not produce enough L-carnitine can have many health problems. Muscle weakness, growth retardation, liver hypertrophy are common symptoms. This is one of the reasons why L-carnitine is considered an essential nutrient of the body. However, this remains a relatively rare state of deficiency.
In addition to its fat-transporting action, L-carnitine also improves the action of insulin on muscle cells. In summary, it is a substance that would help maintain blood glucose levels.
Where is L-Carnitine?
First of all, we must know that our body produces itself its own carnitine. It is the kidneys and the liver that produce this substance. On the other hand, some foods contain a higher carnitine concentration than others. Red meat is the food that contains the most, but it can also be found in nuts, cereals or vegetables (in very small quantities).
The 3 foods that contain the most carnitine are:
It will be more difficult for vegetarians to naturally increase their level of carnitine. Be aware that it can also be found as a dietary supplement (see products on the site of our partner Anastore). Editor’s note: read also our article: Sport and vegetarian diet: is it compatible?
What are the dosages for taking a supplement?
L-carnitine exists as a dietary supplement in the form of powder, capsules or drinking solution. The usual recommended dose is 1 to 3 g maximum to be taken at the meal (breakfast, meal before or after training).
Why take L-carnitine?
In its very first appearance on the market of food supplements, L-carnitine was presented as a product with exceptional virtues even miraculous, able to burn our fat, increase our metabolism, boost our sports performance, improve the muscle recovery after the effort, to support our intellectual abilities. Today, in the absence of scientific evidence, most of its virtues are questioned.
Is L-carnitine effective for weight loss?
Although this dietary supplement has benefited from many advertising campaigns touting its weight loss, it has never been proven that L-carnitine promotes weight loss.
Today, it is no longer considered a “fat burner” and laboratories have had to withdraw this argument from their fact sheets. On the other hand, it is known that it improves the oxidation of fats. But to burn them, you will still have to play sports. Taking carnitine as a dietary supplement is therefore not a good solution to lose fat if you do not plan a regular sports activity.
L-carnitine is sometimes sold in combination with other dietary supplements that increase metabolism and help burn fat. Read also our records how to effectively lose one’s fat by the fractional and increase one’s metabolism.