The body synthesizes carnitine using the lysine and methionine amino acids in the presence of niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron.
It is named after the beef where it was first identified in 1905 by W. Gulewitsch and R. Krimberg. The discovery of its chemical structure took place in 1927 by M. Tomita and Y. Sendju, that define it as a methylamine. In fact, despite being structurally similar to amino acids, it does not take part in protein synthesis, being more similar to acetylcholine.
WHAT CAN IT DO?
Its main function is to facilitate the transport of long-chain fatty acids inside the mitochondrion because their structure would not allow the crossing of cell membranes. Mitochondria, known as the powerhouse of cells, use fatty acids for energy, in the form of ATP via a reaction called beta oxidation.
Carnitine was used initially in the clinical setting to lower the concentration of triglycerides and for its cardio protective action.
Its capacity to use FAT for energy and its properties to lower the concentrations of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, give it an important role in weight loss. Its direct action on fat at cellular level, carried out without affecting the muscle tissue, which results in loss of fat and not lean mass is particularly appreciated. It is therefore an excellent ally for our figure.
After several studies, carnitine is also widely used in the world of sports.
In fact, in addition to its slimming action, it has shown its ability to increase aerobic endurance and decrease the feeling of fatigue and muscle aches, characteristics due to its basic form capable of neutralizing lactic acid and thus allowing constant muscle stimulation.
The reduction in lactic acid build-up also leads to an improvement in anaerobic strength, increasing the usefulness of carnitine in disciplines that predominantly exploit this type of metabolism.
Also, it seems to have the ability to stimulate the receptors of androgen hormones resulting in increased strength and muscle mass.
Numerous studies demonstrate the ability of carnitine to promote recovery and limit muscle damage caused by both aerobic and anaerobic training. It seems that this characteristic is due to the ability that carnitine has to reduce the accumulation of ammonia.
Centrally, it interacts with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, replacing this to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease that its deficiency may cause.
Finally, carnitine has an antioxidant action essential especially if you are engaged in intense physical activity.
HOW MUCH TO TAKE AND WHEN?
The daily requirement of carnitine is estimated at 80 mg per day per kg of body weight. Of these, our bodies can produce about 20. It is therefore essential to introduce the remaining carnitine through the diet and, if this is lacking as a vegetarian diet may be, to take supplements.
Food carnitine is mainly found in foods of animal origin such as red meat, milk and dairy products and fish. In smaller concentrations, it can be found in artichokes, Brussels sprouts, garlic, beans, flour, buckwheat, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, beets, wheat germ, bran, apricots, seeds and nuts.
Carnitine supplementation is recommended before physical activity in a dosage which can vary between 500 and 2000 mg. L-carnitine is absorbed by the body very quickly, so its intake of both tablet and liquid form, is useful to produce energy. A good reserve of L-carnitine enables the body to convert stored fat into energy, acting as a valuable support to your workout.
If you want to use carnitine only for slimming purposes and in days when you are not training, you should take it before a meal.
Carnitine has rare side effects that occur following an overdose in the form of intestinal disorders, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps.
It is therefore an excellent remedy against the extra pounds that the festivities leave us with, giving us the right energy to get rid of them at the same time!