This amino acid is naturally produced in the kidneys and liver with the involvement of L-lysine and L-methionine. In its acetyl form (commonly seen as “acety L-carnitine” in nutritional supplements), the compound interacts with the brain and nervous system. However, in its standard form, it primarily works to transport fatty acids into mitochondria to generate energy on the cellular level.**
L-carnitine’s key metabolic quality of facilitating fat-to-energy conversion is associated with ideal energy levels, stamina and endurance. Studies indicate that the nutrient may help with exercise performance and post-workout recovery while optimizing lean muscle mass. For these reasons, L-carnitine is a popular ingredient in supplements associated with sports nutrition and athletic performance.**
Science has verified that L-carnitine features high antioxidant activity, allowing the compound to counteract the cell-damaging, age-accelerating effects of free radicals. One study found that a single dose in supplement form elevated antioxidant enzymes in the body, as well as overall antioxidant capacity.**
Related to its high antioxidant activity and cellular energy-enhancing benefits, research has revealed that the compound supports cardiovascular wellness. One trial indicated that its effects on the circulatory system were linked to improved exercise performance in those with heart issues. Additionally, further studies point to its beneficial effect on bone health, particularly its ability to help maintain bone density.**
While the body can create this substance, it is also found in certain foods, most notably beef and lamb, as well as poultry, fish and dairy products. Given these animal sources, supplements of the nutrient hold particular appeal as an alternative for vegans and vegetarians.**
L-carnitine supplement products are offered as capsules, liquid or powder. These should not be confused with acetyl L-carnitine, which is a form of the amino acid that shares some similar properties, yet also interacts with the nervous system. The acetyl form is usually slightly more costly than its standard counterpart.**
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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