When you're dieting, you may feel drained -- as though you don’t have the energy to do anything. This feeling can make it difficult to exercise, which is the other half of losing weight.
On March 2, Dr. Mehmet Oz pointed out on his show, "Dr. Oz," that those who suffer from low energy throughout the day can benefit from L-carnitine supplementation.
L-carnitine is an amino acid that metabolizes fat. It makes the transportation of fatty acids much easier into the mitochondria, which is where the cell works to make the body function. This is the source of energy that helps your body perform during exercise. When fatty acids can be more easily and quickly delivered to the cells, your body is better able to use this energy when needed.
Studies have shown L-carnitine uses a different fat source to energize your body. Instead of using sugar, or glycogen, for fuel, it uses triglycerides. Muscles need power from carbohydrates and fats, rather than sugar, to work efficiently. This is why L-carnitine has been shown to increase endurance, muscle mass and the rate of fat burn during exercise.
Other Uses of L-carnitine
L-carnitine can be taken as a supplement by individuals who may have a deficiency due to certain health conditions or medications:
People with heart-related conditions use L-carnitine to prevent heart attacks. L-carnitine can have an effect on angina and can even allow those taking medication for the condition to lower their dosage. It has also been known to decrease chest pain during exercise for those with this health condition.
Individuals with kidney disease can also benefit from taking L-carnitine. Kidney disease often decreases the amino acid in the body and taking the supplement restores its levels for improved energy.
Men who are unable to have children have used L-carnitine to increase sperm production. This may be due to the energizing effects of the supplement, which helps spur the production.
Studies have also shown children with asthma can take L-carnitine to decrease symptoms and attacks.
Additional conditions L-carnitine has been shown to help with include:
While most people do not suffer from side effects while taking this supplement, those who take it in large amounts may experience mild discomfort. Nausea, stomach upset and heartburn are the most common side effects. Some people have noticed bodily excretions such as sweat and urine smelling of fish.
Those with hypothyroidism may experience a worsening of symptoms so it’s important to speak to your doctor about any medication you take for this condition as it may need to be reduced.
Individuals who suffer from seizure disorders should avoid this supplement or take it with caution. L-carnitine can increase the risk of seizures for people with a history of them.