If you’ve never heard of L-carnitine I won’t be surprised – most people haven’t – but it’s one of the most well-kept health secrets you need to know about. Around Ouro Vitae we’ve come to call L-carnitine the “Miracle Amino” because of how many unique healthspan increasing benefits it provides. From heart health support, exercise performance improvement, cognitive enhancement, to libido restoration, L-carnitine is a remarkably effective natural remedy – one we don’t get enough of as we age.
Internally, L-carnitine is produced by the liver and kidneys and stored in muscle, brain, and heart tissue. Externally, it’s found mostly in meat, fish, poultry, and milk. Carnitine plays an essential role in maintaining the health of the mitochondria, which are often known as the “powerplant” of the cells. Your mitochondria produce the energy that every single cell in your body needs to survive. Your brain cells, heart cells, kidney cells, and even the Leydig cells that produce testosterone in your testes, all rely on the energy from your mitochondria to do their jobs.
However, the 21st-century rat race is robbing you of this precious lifeblood by the means of a poor diet, excessive pharmaceuticals, lack of sleep, environmental pollutants and other factors that come along with modern living. These are all mitochondria destroyers and if left unchecked, are key culprit in why you experience declining energy levels, droopy muscles and plummeting sex drive. That’s why mitochondrial health has become one of the main focuses today of anti-aging research. One Nobel prize winning Biochemist at Harvard University, believes healthy mitochondria are the key to “turning back the clock.”
L-carnitine acts like a pipeline to transport fatty acids inside the mitochondria so they can be turned into energy. However, if this pipeline breaks or gets backed up the entire system starts to crash. The problem is, your natural L-carnitine levels decrease as you age.
In fact, a group of researchers at the University of Valencia Hospital in Spain discovered that carnitine production drops a whopping 50% between the ages 40 and 60 and continues to decline for the rest of your life. Think about that. By the time you hit 60 every mitochondrion in your body could be working at 50% capacity. Which means that every organ, blood vessel, and cell in your body could be working at just 50% capacity. That’s why Carnitine is one of the most vital amino acids in your body and why thousands of studies show it’s effective at increasing health span.
Healthspan Increasing Benefits Of L-Carnitine
Libido and Sex Drive
In one study five Italian scientists tested L-carnitine as a potent new alternative to testosterone replacement therapy. In short, they performed a double-blind placebo-controlled study on a group of men from age 60 to 80. The researchers tested a daily amino acid cocktail containing 2g of Acetyl L-Carnitine and 2g of Propionyl L- Carnitine verses straight testosterone injections.
The Carnitine Matrix boosted the erectile function of these men 166% higher than the placebo and 100% better than the testosterone group. The group taking the carnitine matrix showed no change in prostate marker either; major precursor to prostate problems and one of the major side effects of testosterone injections. Actually, the group taking the carnitine matrix showed no negative side effects whatsoever and they didn’t require invasive injections. Plus, the Italian researchers found the carnitine matrix outperformed the testosterone group in other male vitality related categories.
- One study showed with a dose of 250mg – 6 times smaller than Cavallini’s study- almost 8 out of 10 subjects were able to “get it up” better.
- Carnitine is a potent antioxidant, which has been shown to be a crucial factor in fertility levels.
- The Italian Society of Reproductive Medicine found when carnitine was added to traditional pharmaceuticals sexual satisfaction was 40% higher.
- The International Journal of Andrology reported infertile men had significantly lower levels of carnitine compared with fertile men.
- One study at the University of Siena showed major improvement in sperm mobility when subjects took carnitine.
- Japanese researchers found low free testosterone levels were directly related to low carnitine levels.
- L-carnitine increases the oxygen-carrying capability of blood which gives the body an additional boost – especially in stressful situations – so you can attack your workouts harder and for longer.
- Researchers in Vienna, Austria found that L-carnitine stimulates the break down of fats directly into energy.
- L-carnitine treatment has been shown to reduce physical fatigue, mental fatigue, or severity of fatigue.
- Studies have found that dietary carnitine stimulates the break down of fats into energy, reduces the amount of lactic acid produced during exercise, speeds up recovery from exercise stress, prevents cell damage, and prevents cell death.
- Research in animals shows that L-carnitine supplementation facilitates the action of insulin-like growth factor-I, a critical instigator of muscle growth.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is a form of carnitine that can cross over the blood brain barrier and support cellular functions within the brain. ALCAR increases the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is crucial for memory formation, concentration, and overall cognition. Research shows ALCAR’s mitochondrial enhancing effects also help support energy metabolism in the brain and protect against neuro-toxic assaults.
- Carnitine levels gradually decline as Alzheimer’s progresses, suggesting that patients with Alzheimer’s could potentially benefit from ALCAR treatment.
- L-carnitine, especially acetyl-L-carnitine improves memory in older people and in Alzheimer patients by slowing progression of the disease. In this case, carnitine increases energy production and gives energy to starved brain cells which slow down memory loss.
- A double-blind, randomized controlled trial on 1,204 people showed significant effects on attention, mental performance, memory and higher mental functions.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine has also been associated with neuronal protection by attenuating the increase in oxidation and decline in ATP that occurs when neurons are close to beta-amyloid pigmentation, a compound correlated with Alzheimer’s Disease and aging.
Over time, the decline of L-carnitine plays a key role in the weakening of the heart’s muscles. People with heart muscle damage due to heart attacks or heart failure have especially low carnitine levels. Researchers in China even found supplementing with L-carnitine stopped the hardening of cardiac muscle cells which could prevent arteries from clogging – the main cause of heart attacks. Another meta-analysis published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings analyzed 13 placebo-controlled studies involving patients with a history of heart attack. Compared with placebo, L-carnitine reduced chest pain by 40 percent, dangerous ventricular arrhythmias by 65%, and death by 27%.
- Carnitine and its derivatives protect heart function and have demonstrated benefits in conditions where a weak heart fails to pump enough blood, glucose, and oxygen to the body’s tissues. Without enough blood and oxygen to meet the body’s needs, heart attack, stroke, and death can occur.
- Carnitine can help those with heart conditions by increasing glucose metabolism, increasing blood flow, correcting abnormal heart rhythms, and reducing toxicity.
- A 3-year long-term study on patients with heart failure found that L-carnitine increased survival rates compared to those who did not receive carnitine treatment.
- In a rat-model study of cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart is weak, L-carnitine prevented the death of muscle cells in some parts of the heart.
- People with depression have low blood levels of ALCAR, according to the Stanford University School of Medicine research center.
- According to the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal a meta analysis of 12 studies showed ALCAR has potent mood boosting effects that not only work rapidly, but also over the long term.
- In a genetically modified mouse model of depression, consistent treatment with ALCAR reduced depression as determined by a forced-swim test.
L-carnitine’s ability to support energy production in every cell of your body also helps regulate your natural sleep schedule. The Clinical Pharmacology Research jounral evaluated the impact of acetyl-L-carnitine on brain waves and found supplementing increased deep sleep spindling and improved sleep. Researchers also found that acetyl-L-carnitine helped with sleep disturbances, which can disrupt the circadian rhythm (our biological “clock” or natural sleep/wake cycle). Acetyl-L-carnitine appears to reduce sleep requirements while improving the quality of sleep.
- Sleep-disordered breathing is associated with heart damage and altered heart carnitine metabolism. Although carnitine levels are low in heart tissue in those with chronic heart failure, carnitine levels of the blood are increased because of leakage from damaged heart cells and altered carnitine metabolism.
- Carnitine supplementation can help patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Carnitine helped improve airway for breathing and improved overall sleep quality for patients.
- In a study of elderly subjects, L-carnitine treatment improved symptoms of sleep disorders.
- In a mouse model of osteoporosis, L-carnitine and isovaleryl-L-carnitine stimulated bone formation, improving bone turnover, bone density, bone size, and bone structure.
- Another study found that dietary L-carnitine improved the bone mineral content and bone mineral density in a female mouse model of postmenopausal bone loss. Results indicate slowed bone loss and improved bone structure.
Forms of L-Carnitine
Basic L-carnitine: This is the same l-carnitine amino acid found in the body an that’s normally the cheapest option.
L-Carnitine Tartrate: This form of L-carnitine is bound to tartaric acid to help improve absorption.
L-Carnitine Fumerate: Fumaric acid is an element of the Krebs or citric acid cycle which allows cells to produce energy. In combination in L-carnitine fumarate supplements, the two elements are believed to complement and enhance their beneficial qualities.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR): This form of L-carnitine has gone through a chemical process known as “acetylation,” which allows it to pass the brain barrier.
Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine (GPLC): This form of L-carnitine is bound to the amino acid glycine, and research shows it exerts antioxidant effects in the body and enhances blood flow throughout the body.
Best Sources of L-Carnitine
Mito Male – The first and only mitochondria support formula designed specifically for men over 40, including a potent combination of ALCAR and Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine in the clinically studied two grams doses of each.