L-Carnitine is an amino acid needed for fat burning, energy production and muscle recovery. It is synthesized by the body from the essential amino acids lysine and methionine, and can also be obtained from red meat. For this reason, L-carnitine deficiency is quite common among vegetarians and even health-conscious people who simply avoid red meat. L-Carnitine plays a central role in the metabolic breakdown of certain fatty acids and their subsequent transport into the mitochondria, the power plants inside cells, for use in the production of energy.
L-Carnitine is primarily used as a weight loss aid, to increase energy or to enhance muscular recovery after a workout. It is essential to maintaining a healthy metabolism, which in turn is critical for reducing the risk of many age and lifestyle-associated disorders. Human studies using oral L-carnitine have produced significant positive results in anorexia nervosa, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid dysfunction and kidney problems, among others.
Athletes, workout buffs, and ill patients who want to improve their functional capacity can benefit from supplementing with carnitine, as can those looking for metabolic support. Vegetarians and people who avoid red meat may want to supplement with carnitine to ensure good health, energy levels, proper muscle function and optimal fat utilization.