Focus On: L-carnitine

What it is: L-carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body turn fat into energy with the help of positively charged polyatomic ions. This substance is made within the liver and kidneys and is stored in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm.

[ Natural Sources ]

The highest amounts of L-carnitine are found in red meat, such as beef steak, pork, and bacon. Other products like whole milk, avocados, asparagus, eggs, sunflower seeds, and bee pollen also contain L-carnitine, but red meat has the most by far.

[ Benefits ]

L-carnitine is typically used for increasing red blood cell count in people with serious kidney disease, but it has also been shown to be helpful in reducing symptoms of angina and chest pain.

[ Recommended Dosage ]

- For deficiencies in adults: 1,000 mg two to three times per day in tablets or as an oral solution.

-For preventing side effects caused by valproic acid: 50 to 100 mg/kg a day in three or four divided doses, to a maximum of 3 grams a day.

-For chest pain and congestive heart failure (CHF): 1 gram twice daily.

-Following heart attack: 2 to 6 grams daily.

-For symptoms of overactive thyroid: 1 to 2 grams twice daily.

[ Warnings ]

Side effects are generally mild. High doses may cause diarrhea or, in rare cases, increased appetite, body odor, and a rash may occur. Those with high blood pressure, cirrhosis, diabetes, kidney disease, or those who have a history of seizures should talk to their healthcare provider before taking L-carnitine.

[ L-carnitine Picks ]

Natrol L-Carnitine, $19, 30 capsules, natrol.com // TwinLab Mega L-Carnitine, $25, 12 oz, twinlab.com // Nature’s Answer Liquid L-Carnitine, $25, 16 oz, naturesanswer.com // Solaray L-Carnitine, $22, 30 capsules, solaray.com