Sunday, February 4, 2007

L-Carnitine Quickie

A number of people have asked about L-Carnitine. Here is what I know to date. Carnitines come in a variety of compounds that are commercially available as L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Propionyl L- Carnitine (they are all pricey). Although I have found no large scale studies there are several small scale studies at respected institutions where carnitines have been effective for such things as cancer related fatigue, male age related dysfunctions (e.g. fatigue and erectile dysfunction), alzheimers, diabetic neuropathy, and a host of other maladies. I took L-Carnitine for an extended period for its reputed ability (again small studies) to reduce lipoprotein(a) by 8-10%. It did not work for me but again, I am a statistical population of one and no inferences can be made from my personal experience.

Wikipedia has a decent technical description of carnitines here. There is also an old Medscape Article that pretty much puts carnitine in the "so-so" class of nutraceuticals. The evidence is positive but extremely weak for heart benefits. It is fairly benign in terms of side effects and toxicity at levels at or below 3 grams per day based on the reports I have seen.

Anybody got a carnitine success story to share?




neil said...

Hi All,

IMO although supplements, especially the acetyl l-carnitine that I take, are expensive, not taking them would be even more expensive. Imagine the family burden from loss of income or the necessary care giving if we die or become disabled from the result of a massive heart attack or stroke. Or lost days while we take off work to stay home with a sick kid. I would rather use my vacation days hanging out in Hawaii than taking a week off work sitting with my daughter who has the flu. (See this link (PDF file) about the flu and the supplement that gets rid of that... )

In my personal situation heart disease, colon and other cancers, and Alzheimer's have had its way with most every family member and relative (guess we were bred for looks, not for When I relate my family history to a new doctor, they usually cringe and shake their head in disbelief.

If I can delay one of these diseases for several more productive years, or slash my risk I am SO there! For example, taking vitamin D can cut the risk of colon cancer up to 80%, slash the risk for colds and flu, and help my other supplements to cut my coronary plaque growth to near zero! All for less than two dollars a month! So many, I dare say MOST, of these supplements are indeed "cross" supplementation for general good health. That makes the supplement bill more sensible and palatable.

I think also through smart shopping and sharing links we can keep our supplement bill reasonable. For example I recently stocked up on a quality CoQ10 brand when it went on sale. They are olive oil based using the superior Japanese Kaneka material. I have enough to last me all year.

For example here is a link for the best value I have found on oil based Vitamin D gel caps. They are 2,400iu gels with olive oil. The price works out to $1.88 a month (on the 4,800iu a day dose). I have not had a cold in almost a year since taking it, everyone around me has had colds and flu...I keep going! All for $1.88! My health is worth that much. And BTW, what happens to your fragile HDL and other lipoproteins when you have the flu for 10 days and you don't exercise etc???

So although I personally don't have an LPa problem I continue to take this carnitine because of the small chance it might also help with my family Alzheimer's problem as well as my heart thing. Money well spent I believe...supplements are a bargain!


neil said...

"In two otherwise normal male subjects selected for normal serum cholesterol and triglycerides but low serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, oral administration of 1 g per day of L-carnitine over a period of 10-15 weeks caused a substantial increase in high-density lipoprotein levels, as well as a decrease in serum triglycerides."

Terri said...

Okay, maybe someone can clarify something for me... What is the difference between Acetyl L-Carnitine and L-Carnitine? Is the active ingredient the same? Why the different formulations? Is one more potent or effficacious than the other? This one has puzzled me for awhile...


Rich said...

Abundant research on ALCAR by National Academy of Sciences member (and one of the smartest biochemists of all time) Prof. Bruce Ames

BTW, I have taken the ingredients for this formula (purchased separately and inexpensively) for 5 years and have seen huge changes in energy and non-illness. I am puzzled as to why people don't have or comprehend this info, in spite of the fact that every "cutting edge" physician I've seen, including the conservative Dr. Weil, recommends these chemicals based on Dr. Ames' research.

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