Carnitine, also known as L-carnitine, is a quaternary ammonium compound used by the body to convert fat into energy. The substance is not an amino acid, although it is referred to as such in many publications. Carnitine is found in red meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. In the event that carnitine intake is insufficient, the body will produce the substance in order to increase its levels to a satisfactory amount.
The main purpose of the compound is to metabolize fat stores, and as a supplement it is useful to those who are looking to lose weight. Carnitine supplements are fairly inexpensive and come in the form of a liquid. And although, carnitine supplements are not very popular in the realm of bodybuilding, due primarily to the fact that they do not provide much in terms of muscle growth, use of the supplement can certainly be of significance to those looking to gain a lean muscular appearance by helping drop a few pounds of fat.
In addition to weight loss, carnitine supplements bring a number of health benefits to the table. For instance, the supplement has been known to help sufferers of peripheral vascular disease. The ailment afflicts those who experience low blood flow to the legs due to arthrosclerosis. Carnitine can act to relieve the pain caused by the condition as well as increase the distance that patients can walk prior to feeling discomfort in the legs.
Angina is a condition that causes severe pain in the chest that often spreads to the shoulders arms and neck. A report by the University of Maryland Medical Center shows that angina sufferers can benefit from carnitine supplements. According to the report, the substance succeeds in relieving ailment symptoms and allows sufferers to engage in physical exercise without experiencing any, or at least not near as much, pain.
Diabetic neuropathy is an illness where type 2 diabetes sufferers experience nerve damage in their extremities. This occurs when higher than usual levels of glucose are left unchecked over a certain amount of time, which results in nerve deterioration. Studies have concluded that carnitine can be used to promote nerve regeneration, relieve pain, and reduce the symptoms that stem from the ailment.
Evidence has emerged pointing to the role of carnitine in male infertility. In a study, 60 men who suffer from abnormal sperm function were separated into 2 groups; one group was given placebo while the other received carnitine supplements for a duration of 6 months. The results showed that those who were given the carnitine experienced a substantial amelioration in sperm function as compared to the placebo recipients.
Carnitine supplements are also useful in combatting the fatigue that stems from multiple sclerosis. Several studies have shown that the compound played a role in bettering the life of condition sufferers by ameliorating the fatigue symptoms.
Carnitine is currently being studied as a possible treatment for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The supplement may also be instrumental in fighting senile depression, among other forms of dementia, and enhance memory retainment in the elderly.