What Is L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is a natural amino acid that your body utilizes to convert fat into energy. Although it is not typically considered an essential nutrient, as the body can make suitable amounts on its own, supplementing with this substance may increase the ability of specific tissues in your body to manufacture energy. It is this effect that has put L-Carnitine in the spotlight regarding heart health.
L-Carnitine is primarily recommended for heart-related conditions, although it has also been proven to increase cognitive function. Evidence suggests that the supplement may alleviate angina symptoms and symptoms related to cardiomyopathy, as well as enhance the effects of traditional, synthetic drugs. Other studies have shown that it may also lower your risk of death if you have experienced a stroke or heart attack in the past.
Additional research suggests that L-Carnitine may offer benefits to people suffering from emphysema, COPD–chronic constructive pulmonary disease–and intermittent claudication, the latter of which is the medical term for leg pain that occurs during exercise due to clogged or narrowed arteries.
With regard to these conditions, the main way in which L-Carnitine provides benefits is by energizing new cells in your body, which can then proceed to function with greater efficiency.
Although research was still scanty at the turn-of-the-century, studies were launched in 2007 and completed in 2013, which indicated that supplementing with L-Carnitine is indeed beneficial to certain people with heart problems. Studies were conducted by the Mayo Clinic and the results published in their magazine: researchers reviewed over 10 controlled studies, all of which indicated that L-carnitine supplementation may raise the mortality rate among heart attack patients.
The study also indicated that heart patients experienced fewer ventricular arrhythmias and angina symptoms when the supplement was taken on a regular basis. The study also acknowledged the ability of L-carnitine to improve compromised cellular energy metabolism and stabilize heart cell membranes. Other findings included the following:
Fewer Episodes of Chest Pain
If you experience chest pain upon exercising, taking L-carnitine supplements by mouth approximately half an hour before your session may improve your tolerance. It is also possible that taking supplements of this kind may enhance the effects of your traditional medications, especially those taken for angina.
Fewer Heart Failure Symptoms
If you suffer from congestive heart failure or heart failure from another cause, oral doses of the supplement could possibly improve your symptoms, as well as boost your tolerance for exercise by increasing oxygen absorption. When combined with coenzyme Q-10, these effects may increase even more.
Decreased Heart Inflammation
If you suffer from myocarditis, otherwise known as inflammation of the heart, your risk of death from your condition may be reduced if you regularly consume oral doses of L-carnitine. Clinical trials show that this risk may be reduced by as much as 40 percent among those who use the supplement.
Fewer Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
High thyroid hormone levels, which is also known as hyperthyroidism, often causes weakness, nervousness, and a pounding or rapid heartbeat. The latter is often one of the most troublesome symptoms of hyperthyroidism, and studies have shown that taking L-carnitine improves symptoms of this type in many individuals who suffer from high thyroid hormone levels.
Many heart patients take medications such as depakote, VPA, or depacone, all of which fall under the category of valproic acids. Unfortunately, these medications often cause unwanted side effects, but studies have shown that using L-Carnitine intravenously under a doctor’s supervision may prevent most or all of these side effects.
How Much L-Carnitine Should You Take?
L-Carnitine dosing depends on the purpose for which it is being taken. If you are simply using the supplement because your natural levels are low, 990 milligrams 2-3 times per day is believed to be sufficient.
One gram, twice daily, is the typical dose for congestive heart failure and chest pain. If you have had a heart attack in the past, the suggested dose is 2-6 grams per day, depending on various factors. Before taking any supplement or adding any new medication to your daily regimen, discuss your condition and your anticipated results with a licensed healthcare practitioner.