L-Carnitine: The Key To Good Health

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

A tremendous breakthrough occurred several years ago when the benefits of L-carnitine began L-Carnitine: The Key to Good Healthto come to light. Since then, the research I've done and the results I've had using it with patients have convinced me that it truly does hold the key to better health.

L-carnitine, a water-soluble nutrient produced from the amino acids lysine and methionine, is found in all living tissue. Highest concentrations are in the adrenal glands, skeletal, and cardiac muscle; smaller amounts are found in the kidneys and brain. The primary role of L-carnitine is in creating energy. This, in turn, is responsible for many other beneficial effects, including:

  • Supporting healthy immune function.
  • Supplying more oxygen to the heart.
  • Promoting weight loss by improving metabolism and helping burn fats.
  • Preventing the accumulation of toxic fatty acids that can damage cell membranes.
  • Enhancing circulation by improving blood flow.
  • Maintaining liver function.
  • Enhancing brain health.
  • Improving overall well being.

All these benefits from just one nutrient!

To Get More Carnitine, Start With Your Diet

The word carnitine comes from the Latin carnis, meaning flesh or meat. We get carnitine through our food, most abundantly in red meat. Lamb is by far the best source of this amino acid, but you can also get it in pork, beef, and poultry.

Although deficiencies in carnitine are rare in healthy, well-nourished people who consume adequate amounts of animal protein, many vegetarians (particularly vegans, or “pure” or “strict” vegetarians) become deficient to some degree. Without meat, eggs, or dairy products, their diets often come up short on carnitine.

A few non-meat foods that provide L-carnitine include whole milk, mushrooms, bread, avocado, raw eggs, and carrots.

I’ve seen severe deficiencies among vegetarian patients with heart failure or extreme fatigue. For these people, supplementing with 250 to 500 mg of L-carnitine has always made a positive difference.

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