L-Carnitine is derived from amino-acids and transports long-chain acyl groups from fatty acids into the mitchondria matirx so they can be broken down through B-oxidation to acetyl CoA to obtain usable energy via the citric acid cycle (1) and help burn unwanted body fat.
Your body makes it in the liver and kidneys and stores it in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm.
Usually, your body can make all the carnitine it needs. Some people, however, may not have enough carnitine because their bodies cannot make enough or can’t transport it into tissues so it can be used. Some other conditions, such as angina or intermittent claudication, can also cause low levels of carnitine in the body, as can some medications.
Carnitine has also been proposed as a treatment for many conditions because it acts as an antioxidant i.e. heart conditions, PVD, diabetic neuropathy, ect (4) Antioxidants fight harmful particles in the body known as free radicals, which damage cells and tamper with DNA. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or help prevent some of the damage they cause. (4)
The highest concentrations of Carnitine are found in red meat and dairy products.
Carnitine can be found at significantly lower levels in many other foods including nuts and seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), legumes or pulses (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts), vegetables (artichokes, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collard greens, garlic, mustard greens, okra, parsley, kale), fruits (apricots, bananas), cereals (buckwheat, corn, millet, oatmeal, rice bran, rye, whole wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ) and other foods (bee pollen, brewer’s yeast, carob) (1)
|Table 1: Selected food sources of Carnitine |
|Beef steak||100 g||95 mg|
|Ground beef||100 g||94 mg|
|Pork||100 g||27.7 mg|
|Bacon||100 g||23.3 mg|
|Tempeh||100 g||19.5 mg|
|Cod fish||100 g||5.6 mg|
|Chicken breast||100 g||3.9 mg|
|American cheese||100 g||3.7 mg|
|Ice cream||100 ml||3.7 mg|
|Whole milk||100 ml||3.3 mg|
|Avocado||one medium||2 mg|
|Cottage cheese||100 g||1.1 mg|
|Whole-wheat bread||100 g||0.36 mg|
|Asparagus||100 g||0.195 mg|
|White bread||100 g||0.147 mg|
|Macaroni||100 g||0.126 mg|
|Peanut butter||100 g||0.083 mg|
|Rice (cooked)||100 g||0.0449 mg|
|Eggs||100 g||0.0121 mg|
|Orange juice||100 ml||0.0019 mg|
|20 to 200 mg are ingested per day by those on an omnivorous diet, whereas those on a strict vegetarian or vegan diet may ingest as little as 1 mg/day. (3)(1)
No advantage appears to exist in giving an oral dose greater than 2 g at one time, since absorption studies indicate saturation at this dose. (1)
Doses greater than 3g per day can cause side effects such as can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and a “fishy” body odor.
L-carnitine: the most widely available and least expensive
Propionyl-L-carnitine: Often used in studies for heart disease and peripheral vascular disease
Avoid D-carnitine supplements. they interfere with the natural form of L-carnitine and may cause side-effects
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, please speak to your health care provider before taking L-Carnitine and respect the recommended dosage.
Michelle Price BScPt
WBFF & IFPA Figure Pro