What is Acetyl-l-carnitine and what is it used for?

-Oct 30, Jenny Paul , Nutrition -

Carnitine is an amino acid which is produced naturally within our bodies. 

It is popular with athletes, who often use it to boost endurance when training. Many people take it to aid with weight-loss as carnitine can speed up fat-burning and is thought to boost the body’s metabolism. 

For people who are 35 and over it is useful because it supports brain function. Carnitine may improve memory and is thought to slow cognitive decline. 

For those who want to slow the brain fog and forgetfulness that is often one of the first signs of ageing, carnitine is particularly useful.  

What is carnitine and what is it used for?

Acetyl-l-carnitine occurs naturally within the body and has the rare ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain, where it acts as a powerful antioxidant to help prevent brain cells’ deterioration. 

This helps sustain brain function and mental acuity as we age.

What are the benefits of carnitine?

Carnitine enhances energy production in the cell, which is needed for cellular repair and eliminating cellular debris. 

Studies have also shown that carnitine helps prevent muscle loss during illness and also prevents the muscle loss associated with ageing, known as sarcopenia.

It improves bone mineral density, is protective of liver function and enhances the immune system, especially under stressful conditions. 

A natural anti-inflammatory, it also enhances the sensitivity of insulin receptors, helping to decrease blood sugar and circulating levels of insulin.

Which foods contain carnitine? 

Carnitine is found in beef, chicken, cod, whole milk, asparagus and even ice cream.

 “If you want to eat more food that contains carnitine, red meat is one of the highest sources,” Naomi Buff a holistic nutritional wellness coach explains. 

“In order of highest to lowest amounts of carnitine: There’s red meat, so beef steak, then ground beef, whole milk, cod, chicken breast are all high in carnitine. 

“It can also be found in ice cream made from whole milk, cheddar cheese, whole wheat bread and asparagus.”

Naomi adds that there are plenty of meals that you could cook in less than 15 minutes which would give you a large serving of carnitine. 

“Try keeping it simple with a grilled fillet steak, with a serving of asparagus and a glass of whole milk,” she suggests.

“You could make lean chicken breast fajitas, with grated cheddar cheese and sliced asparagus and a serving of ice cream to finish.”

L-carnitine dosage 

A dose of up to 2000 milligrams can be used safely per day. 

This is intended only as a guide and not as a substitute for medical advice.

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