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L-Carnitine is an essential nutrient first found in muscle extracts in 1905. Later, in 1927, the chemical structure of L-Carnitine was confirmed. This vitamin-like nutrient, also known as Vitamin BT wasn’t available commercially until the 1980’s. L-Carnitine’s main responsibility is that of energy production and proper fat metabolism.
L-Carnitine is found most often in meat and meat extract. In the human body, L-Carnitine is found abundantly in heart and skeletal muscle. It can be synthesized in the human liver, but insufficient amounts are produced in infants, in adolescents and in adults under certain physiological conditions. Two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, are required for L-Carnitine bioynthesis,. Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B6 and Niacin are also involved in a sequence of enzymatically catalyzed reactions. It is evident that a lack of availability of any of these essential nutrients would greatly impair the body’s ability to synthesize L-Carnitine.
L-Carnitine is used extensively in sports nutrition to provide nutritional support for producing energy in the heart and muscles, to raise energy, endurance and stamina during heavy exercise, to improve performance during physical efforts, to compensate for losses incurred after exhaustive exercise, to increase resistance to fatigue and to effect fast recovery. Supplementing with L-Carnitine lowers lactic acid accumulation and spares glycogen, which are two factors that cause fatigue. Reduced muscle pain and decreased muscle damage are thought to be attributed to L-Carnitine’s ability to help increase oxygen supply to the muscle through an increase in blood flow.
L-Carnitine plays a significant role in turning fat into energy. This essential nutrient carries long chain fatty acids across the mitochondria for subsequent fat breakdown and energy production. A number of studies have using L-Carnitine as part of a weight management program have shown that L-Carnitine works to increase lean muscle mass and decrease Body Mass Index (BMI) and body fat content. L-Carnitine may provide optimal fat oxidation in conjunction with dietary changes and exercise.
L-Carnitine has shown positive results in clinical studies related to cardiovascular health. Supplementation of L-Carnitine may help support the heart muscle, dramatically increase the heart muscle capabilities and may be helpful in sustaining a healthy heartbeat.
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