Supplements and energy drinks that contain L-carnitine are claimed to boost metabolism and affect weight loss and increase exercise performance. There is insufficient scientific evidence to substantiate such claims, so continue reading this article to explain.
A meaty issue
The word carnitine is derived from the Latin word carnis meaning meat. The liver and kidney produce L-carnitine from two amino acids (lysine and methionine) So in the diet, it is not needed. L-carnitine is stored in skeletal muscles, brain, and heart and is stored in sperm for men. It plays a very important role in the body and transfers long-chain fatty acids to mitochondria for energy production. L-carnitine removes toxic byproducts from the cells. The US National Institutes of Health has stated that healthy adults and children do not need to take L-carnitine supplements unless they have specific medical or genetic problems.
What do researches say?
The results of the US National Institutes of Health research on L-carnitine use have proven that:
- If cancer patients receive about 250 mg to 4 grams of L-carnitine per day, they will experience less fatigue feel.
- Improves insulin sensitivity and nerve pain in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Increases fertility in men.
- Reduces the risk of death in people with heart attacks (ischemic myocardial infarction).
Twenty years of research couldn’t prove L-carnitine claims of weight loss and increased exercise performance.
L-carnitine is found in foods, especially red meat. 115 grams of red meat contains 56 to 162 mg of L-carnitine. A 115-gram burger has 87 to 99 mg of L-carnitine. Fish, poultry and dairy products also contain a small amount of L-carnitine.
It smells a rat!!
L-carnitine supplements that are 3 g daily may have side effects such as nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and diarrhea. And L-carnitine supplements may harm social life because 3 grams of L-carnitine per day cause bad body odor.
People with kidney problems or seizure disorder should be mindful of taking L-carnitine supplements or energy drinks containing this substance. That’s because L-carnitine causes muscle weakness in these people. Some research has also shown that the use of L-carnitine is beneficial for those who perform a particular type of dialysis.
One of the most serious problems with taking L-carnitine is the increased risk of heart disease. Cleveland Clinic research has shown that L-carnitine metabolism increases the likelihood of atherosclerosis. L-carnitine is not a problem in itself, but by consuming L-carnitine, the bacteria in the Intestine produce a chemical called a tertiary amine. The liver then converts tertiary amine to tertiary amine oxide, which causes the arteries to disrupt.
Dr. Oz and expressed regret
Proof of L-carnitine side effects for heart patients has led Dr. Oz (renowned physician) to regret his support for L-carnitine use. Dr. Oz had once claimed that L-carnitine helps to lose weight, but now he is warning his patients not to take L-carnitine.
The need for L-carnitine is very rare
Can anyone need L-carnitine supplements?
- A preterm infant who does not produce as much carnitine may need it.
- A person with a rare type of genetic defect that has carnitine deficiency and should take this supplement.
- People who have nerve pain due to diabetes.
- People with cognitive impairment.
- Those undergoing treatment for cancer.
If you are diagnosed with L-carnitine deficiency your doctor will prescribe it. So those who do not have such problems should not take L-carnitine and if you consume energy drinks that contain L-carnitine you should be careful about your usage.