Carnitine – What Is It?

L-Carnitine is one of many ingredients in the Tikva product. It is an amino acid-like compound that helps the body produce energy. While readily abundant in meats and dairy foods, some people take it in supplement form to increase vitality. It transports fatty acids to the “factory” portion of cells, which then convert the Fat into energy that the heart, muscles, and other body tissues can use.

WL- Carnitine Energyithout enough carnitine to move fatty acids to the right place, your body will eventually wear down, and you may feel drained and tired. The heart in particular is highly dependent on carnitine, and taking supplements is currently being explored as an option for speeding recovery after a heart attack as well as for treating Angina (chest pain), arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), and congestive heart failure.

WholeHealth MD

Carnitine (L-Carnitine) Health Benefits

Cardioprotectivity and Triglyceride Lowering Effect

 Supplementation may have cardioprotective activity in addition to beneficially affecting cardiac function.

It may have a triglyceride lowering effect in some as well as help to elevate HDL – cholesterol levels.

“Favorable results have been reported for many years with regard to the use of L-carnitine in the treatment of various forms of cardiovascular disease.
The walking capacity of patients with intermittent claudication was significantly improved in one double blind cross over study of patients receiving oral L-carnitine.”

-PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) for Nutritional Supplements” – 2001

Cardiovascular and peripheral-arterial disease

peripheral arteriesSeveral studies have examined supplementation in the management of cardiac ischemia (restriction of blood flow to the heart) and peripheral arterial disease (of which the most important symptom is poor circulation in the legs, known as intermittent claudication) . Because levels of carnitine are low in the failing heart muscle, supplemental amounts might be beneficial to the organ by counteracting the toxic effects of free fatty acids and improving carbohydrate metabolism. In short-term studies, it has demonstrated anti-ischemic properties when given orally and by injection. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial in Italy with patients who had suffered a first heart attack found that supplemental carnitine (given intravenously for five days, then 6 grams/day orally for one year) reduced heart failure and overall mortality. The results were not conclusive but promising enough to justify a larger study whose results have not yet been reported.

-Office of Dietary Supplements

Type 2 diabetes

diabetesInsulin resistance, which plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes, may be associated with a defect in fatty-acid oxidation in muscle. This raises the question as to whether mitochondrial dysfunction might be a factor in the development of the disease. Increased storage of fat in lean tissues has become a marker for insulin resistance. Early research suggests that supplementation with L-carnitine intravenously may improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics by decreasing fat levels in muscle and may lower glucose levels in the blood by more promptly increasing its oxidation in cells. A recent analysis of two multicenter clinical trials of subjects with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes found that treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine (3 grams/day orally) for one year provided significant relief of nerve pain and improved vibration perception in those with diabetic neuropathy. The treatment was most effective in subjects with type 2 diabetes of short duration.

-Office of Dietary Supplements

Male infertility

The carnitine content of seminal fluid is directly related to sperm count and motility, suggesting that the compound might be of value in treating male infertility. Several studies indicate that carnitine supplementation (2-3 grams/day for 3-4 months) may improve sperm quality, and one randomized, double-blind crossover trial found that 2 grams/day of carnitine taken for 2 months by 100 infertile men increased the concentration and both total and forward motility of their sperm. The reported benefits may relate to increased mitochondrial fatty-acid oxidation (providing more energy for sperm) and reduced cell death in the testes. However, a recent randomized controlled trial with 21 infertile men found that 3 grams/day of carnitine taken for 24 weeks produced no significant increases in sperm motility or total motile sperm counts as compared to placebo. Larger and more carefully designed studies are needed to evaluate carnitine’s potential value as an infertility therapy.

-Office of Dietary Supplements

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