L-Carnitine and Weight Loss
The primary function of
carnitine in the body is to regulate fat oxidation (burning). L-Carnitine is
responsible for transporting fat to the fat furnace in our cells called
mitochondria. Unless fat makes it to the mitochondria it cannot be oxidized, no
matter how much you exercise or diet.
Many studies have been
done to determine the effectiveness of L-Carnitine for fat burning. Evidence,
more so than not, has suggested that when used correctly, along with a balanced
diet (adequate protein, essential fats, and fiber, it works. L-Carnitine,
however, is not the "silver bullet", it is just another piece of the
fat burning puzzle.
How your body makes
- The body can make
small amounts of L-Carnitine
- To do so, you need the
amino acids: lysine and methionine and vitamins such as niacin, B6 and vitamin
C. A shortage of any of these nutrients can lower carnitine levels and reduce
- Lysine has been shown
to boost carnitine levels. Lysine is the amino acid precursor that builds the
- Strict vegetarians get little or no carnitine.
Sources of L-Carnitine
in our diets:
- L-Carnitine is found
predominately in meat and animal products.
- Red meat is the best
- Chicken and turkey
also contain carnitine.
- Dairy and milk
products contain small amounts.
- Most fruits, vegetables, and grains contain
almost no carnitine. The exceptions are tempeh and avocados, which contain
Factors that inhibit
L-Carnitine production and fat burning:
- L-Carnitine works best
with a diet low in sugars and starches (carbohydrates).
- Studies show that for
carnitine to work effectively, carbohydrate intake should be kept below 50% of
total calories consumed daily.
- Elevated insulin
levels inhibit optimal carnitine activity (the burning of body fat and energy
- Omega 3 fats (flaxseed
and fish oils) improve carnitine activity and function in the body.
- Adequate protein at each meal is essential for
carnitine activity and fat burning.
L-Carnitine and Fat
- L-Carnitine assists in
the transport of long-chained fatty acids that are burned for energy.
- L-Carnitine enhances
the consumption of fat as a source of fuel.
- L-Carnitine has been
shown to increase the amount of fat you furn during both anaerobic (strength
training) and aerobic (cardiovascular) workouts.
- L-Carnitine plays an
important role in mobilizing fatty deposits found in tissues of overweight
- L-Carnitine helps
remove fats waste products (ketones) from the blood stream.
- Effective carnitine
activity helps to discourage fatty buildup in the liver, heart, and skeletal
- L-Carnitine has been
shown to improve lean muscle strength. Maintaining muscle tissue takes four to
five times more calories than maintaining fat tissue, which is important for
permanent weight loss.
- L-Carnitine helps to stabilize blood sugar and
eliminate cravings for carbohydrates.
- First, you need to
start taking at least 1000 mg per day of L-Carnitine to promote weight loss.
Obese individuals may start at 2000 mg per day.
- Those with metabolic
resistance, start to do well on 3000-5000 mg per day.
- Research has shown
that when you start to feel more energy, it is a sign that the level of
carnitine you are using is starting to burn body fat.
- Increase carnitine by
500 mg per day (one capsule) until you begin to feel this increased energy
level in your daily lifestyle.
- Your energy level will
be your guide as to how effective carnitine is working in your body.
- The Physician's Desk
Reference (PDR) lists no toxic effects from prolonged use of L-Carnitine.
- It is best taken before breakfast and lunch.
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Turning up your
metabolism with the right nutrients is essential for weight loss. There is
significant evidence that increased levels of carnitine in tissue leads to
increased fat burning. Obesity is not a drug deficiency. Administering certain
synthetic medications or nutrients can stimulate thermogenic activity, but
supplying your body with the essential nutrients is all that it needs to
activate correct fat metabolism, rather than a caloric restriction or brain
chemistry manipulation. Nutrients won't do everything. You need a diet that is
lower in carbohydrates, contains adequate proteins, fats, plenty of fiber, and
a routine physical exercise program.
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