Synthesized by the liver;
Carries fatty acids from the cytosol into the mitochondria for entry into the citric acid cycle;
In the mitochondria, it helps dispose of excess organic acids produced by metabolic pathways.
For those of us who aren’t medical professionals: Carnitine is made by our bodies and it helps the body turn fat into energy. Our bodies make it in the our kidneys and our liver and it is stored it in the brain, heart, skeletal muscles and sperm.
Meat and dairy are major dietary sources;
Does not appear to be essential for healthy people;
Strict vegetarians consume diets that are void of carnitine without harmful side effects;
Low blood levels have been observed in children and adults who are malnourished;
Diets deficient in the amino acid needed to make carnitine may suffer from abnormal fatty acid metabolism.
Large doses have been helpful in removing toxic compounds in people with errors of metabolism;
High doses have been successful in treating progressive muscle disease, heart muscle deterioration and carnitine depletion in kidney dialysis patients.
To Sum it All Up
You don’t need a Carnitine supplement if you are not malnourished or if you have a diet that is supplies the amino acid that is necessary to make Carnitine. This means making sure you get the required amount of lean meat or protein for those of you who are carnivores and getting the required amount of dairy for those lacto-ovo vegetarians and carnivores out there.
In your quest to get in the shape you want, you may see body builders taking Carnitine or it may be recommended to you by someone selling supplements but it is probably unnecessary so don’t feel like you need to buy or use it. Use that money for a cup of yogurt or a turkey breast sandwich on whole wheat with Dijon or regular mustard instead of mayo.
USDA.gov. United States Department of Agriculture, 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2012. <http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/Resources/appendd.pdf>.
Insel, Paul M., R. Elaine. Turner, and Don Ross. Nutrition. 3rd ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2007. Print.