Carnitine (L-carnitine) Latest Research Included

Full Disclosure

Carnitine is a chemical that aids the body in turning fats into fuel. The body makes it through the kidneys and liver and stores it in muscles in the skeletal skeleton, the brain, heart, and sperm.

In general, your body is able to produce all the carnitine it requires. However, some people might be lacking in carnitine because their bodies aren't able to make enough or can't transfer it into tissues so that it can be utilized. Other conditions, like angina or intermittent claudication, may also result in lower levels of carnitine within the body, just like certain drugs.

Carnitine is considered a cure for various ailments because it functions as an antioxidant. Antioxidants fight harmful particles inside the body called free radicals. They cause damage to cells and alter DNA. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and could decrease or even prevent the damage they cause.

Carnitine could help treat certain diseases. Certain serious diseases require medical treatment, so you must consult your doctor prior to taking carnitine. In other cases, like fatigue or an increase in athletic performance, carnitine may be safe but might not provide much benefit.

Heart Conditions

  • Angina. Research suggests that carnitine may be used in conjunction with traditional treatment options for stable angina. Several clinical trials show that L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine can help reduce symptoms of angina and improve the ability of people with angina to exercise without chest pain. Don't attempt to treat chest pain using carnitine, however. Consult your physician to determine the cause and treatment. Take carnitine only with your physician's supervision.
  • heart attack. A few studies indicate that carnitine could be beneficial when combined with conventional medications after a heart attack however, not all studies agree. A few studies suggest that those who consume L-carnitine supplements early following a heart attack might reduce the risk of having to experience an additional heart attack. They may also be less likely to suffer from heart disease, experience chest pains, and abnormal heart rhythms, or suffer from heart failure. However, other studies have shown no benefits. The treatment with oral carnitine could help to strengthen muscles. Carnitine is best used in conjunction with traditional medications under the supervision of a physician.
  • Heart failure. A few small studies have suggested that carnitine (usually propionyl-L-carnitine) can help reduce symptoms of heart failure and improve exercise capacity in people with heart failure. However it is still necessary to conduct more research.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

The reduced blood flow to the legs as a result of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of arteries where plaque accumulates in the arteries, can cause discomfort or cramps in the legs during walking or doing exercises. This is known as intermittent claudication. The diminished blood flow to the legs is referred to as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Numerous studies have shown that carnitine may help to reduce symptoms and improve mobility for those suffering from intermittent claudication. Most studies have used propionyl-L-carnitine. Researchers aren't sure if L-carnitine works the same way.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy occurs when blood sugar levels are high. It can cause nerve damage in the body, particularly the legs, arms, and feet, which can cause the sensation of numbness and pain. Initial studies suggest that acetyl-L-carnitine could reduce pain and increase the feeling of nerves that are affected. It is possible that carnitine may aid in the regeneration of nerves. Further research is required.

Exercise Performance

While carnitine is commonly used to improve performance during exercise, however, further research is required.

Weight Loss

Although L-carnitine has been promoted as a weight loss supplement, research-based evidence is not available. Certain studies suggest that oral carnitine can help reduce the amount of fat in the body, increase the size of muscles, and decrease fatigue, leading to weight loss for some individuals.

Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Impairment

The evidence is mixed on whether carnitine can be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Early studies have shown that acetyl-L-carnitine may help slow down the progress of Alzheimer's disease, reduce depression that is associated with senility and various forms of Alzheimer's disease, and boost memory among those who are elderly. However, more extensive and well-designed studies discovered that it didn't help in any way. It is recommended that people take carnitine to treat Alzheimer's disease as well as other types that cause dementia under supervision by a medical professional.

Kidney Disease and Dialysis

Since kidneys create carnitine, kidney diseases can decrease carnitine levels within the body. If you have kidney problems, your doctor might prescribe carnitine. Do not take carnitine unless under medical supervision.

Male Infertility

The low sperm count has been linked to lower carnitine levels in males. Numerous studies have suggested that supplements with L-carnitine can increase sperm count and mobility.

Erectile Dysfunction

Preliminary studies suggest propionyl-L-carnitine may help improve male sexual function. A study showed that carnitine enhanced the efficacy of sildenafil (Viagra) in patients with diabetes who have not previously been able to respond to Viagra. In another study, a combination of propionyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine improved the effectiveness of Viagra in men who had erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery. More research is needed.

Peyronie Disease

Peyronie is characterized by a penis curvature which can cause discomfort during an intimate. A promising study has compared acetyl-L-carnitine against the erection medication tamoxifen in 48 males suffering from the condition. Acetyl-L-carnitine performed better than tamoxifen for alleviating pain during sexual activity and also reducing the curvature that the penis curves. Acetyl-L-carnitine also had fewer side consequences than Tamoxifen. It is necessary to conduct more research.


A few studies suggest that L-carnitine can help in reducing or preventing symptoms associated with an overactive thyroid, such as nervousness, insomnia, as well as heart palpitations, and shaking. In the study mentioned above, a tiny sample of patients with hyperthyroidism experienced a reduction in their symptoms, and their body temperature was normalized after taking carnitine. However, a bigger, more well-designed clinical trial is required to test whether carnitine truly does its job. Researchers also believe that carnitine might block thyroid hormone's actions which is potentially dangerous for those with low levels of thyroid. Do not take carnitine to treat hyperthyroidism without consulting your physician.

Dietary Sources

Red animal meat (particularly lamb) and dairy products are the primary sources of carnitine in the food chain. It is also present in poultry, fish, and tempeh, as well as wheat, asparagus, avocados, and peanut butter.

Available Forms

Carnitine can be purchased as supplementation in various types, including:

  • L-carnitine is the most widely available and most affordable
  • Acetyl-Lcarnitine: It is frequently employed in research studies to treat Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders.
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine: Often used in studies for heart disease and peripheral vascular disease

Avoid D-carnitine supplements. They can interfere with the natural L-carnitine form and could cause undesirable adverse effects.

In certain situations, L-carnitine is a possibility to take via prescription or intravenously by a healthcare professional.

How to Take It


Do not give supplements for carnitine to your child without your health care provider's approval. Your child's health care provider must first confirm that your child is suffering from an insufficient amount of carnitine.


The recommended dosages for L-carnitine vary depending on the illness being addressed. The typical dose is 1 to 3 grams daily.


Since supplements can cause side effects or interact with other medications, it is recommended that they be taken under the direction of a qualified health professional.

Most side effects are minimal. Doses that are high (5 to more than 5 grams daily) can cause diarrhea. Other side effects that are not common include the body's odor, appetite increase, and rashes.

The following patients must consult their doctor prior to taking carnitine

  • Peripheral Vascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease caused by alcoholism (cirrhosis)
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Seizures and their history

Possible Interactions

If you're being treated by any of the following drugs, do not take carnitine unless you have talked to your physician.

AZT: In one study in the laboratory, supplementation with L-carnitine protected muscle tissue from harmful negative effects of AZT, the medication that is used in the treatment of HIV as well as AIDS. More research is needed to determine if L-carnitine could cause the same effects on humans.

Doxorubicin: Treatment with L-carnitine could help protect heart cells from the harmful side effects of doxorubicin, an anti-cancer medication used to treat cancer without making the treatment any less efficient. Always consult your doctor before taking alternative or complementary (CAM) treatments that include chemotherapy.

Isotretinoin (Accutane): Accutane is a potent medication prescribed to treat severe acne, may cause liver problems as determined by the blood test, and also elevated cholesterol as well as muscle weakness and pain. The symptoms are similar to those experienced by those suffering from carnitine deficiencies. Researchers from Greece found that a large population of people suffering adverse effects from Accutane were better after taking L-carnitine when compared to people who were taking the placebo.

Thyroid hormone Carnitine could block thyroid hormone from entering cells. It is possible that it will cause thyroid hormone replacement to be less efficient. If you're taking thyroid hormone replacement ask your physician prior to taking carnitine.

Valproic acid (Depakote): The antiseizure medicine valproic acid can reduce blood levels of carnitine. L-carnitine supplements can help prevent deficiency and could reduce the adverse effects of valproic acid. However, taking carnitine can increase the likelihood of seizure in those with a prior history of seizures.

Blood Thinners Medications Carnitine could raise the chance of bleeding for those taking blood thinners.

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