Helps the body burn fat for energy* - L-Carnitine promotes energy production in cells by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondrion. Its primary function is to transfer long-chain fatty acids across the inner mitochondrial membrane. Fatty acid molecules are activated to coenzyme A (CoA) esters in the cytoplasm of the cell, and then esterified to L-Carnitine. The combination of a fatty acid molecule and L-carnitine is called “acyl-carnitine.” Much of the body L-Carnitine content is stored in the form of acyl-carnitine.1
The mitochondrion is the cell’s energy-generating furnace. Called an 'organelle,' the mitochondrion is a self-contained structure inside the cell. Like all cellular structures, the mitochondrion is surrounded by a membrane. This membrane is an impenetrable barrier to acyl-CoA esters; passage across the membrane requires L-carnitine as a transporter. On the inside of the mitochondrial membrane, the acyl-CoA esters are made available to be metabolized through the process of beta oxidation. One of the key metabolic byproducts of this process is acetyl-CoA, also called 'active acetate,' which enters the Krebs cycle (also known as the 'citric acid cycle') to supply fuel for production of ATP, the cell’s primary energy 'currency.' L-Carnitine shuttles excess fatty acid residues out of the mitochondrion, and in this role is essential for preventing toxic buildup of fatty acids inside the mitochondrion. Evidence suggests that L-Carnitine and short chain acyl-carnitine esters can protect the mitochondrion from adverse effects of drugs and toxic chemicals.
Helps maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system* - Muscle tissue contains a high concentration of L-Carnitine. With its constant energy needs, heart muscle tissue is especially rich in L-Carnitine. Unsatisfactory production of L-Carnitine by the body can result from a variety of factors, including increased catabolism or the inability of tissues to extract and retain L-carnitine from the blood.
Along with glucose and lactate, fatty acids are the primary oxidation fuel for the heart. In addition to the oxidation of fat for energy in the cell, L-Carnitine is involved in the metabolism of glucose.2
At high concentrations, L-Carnitine demonstrates a clear-cut ability to potentiate the contractility of isolated heart muscle tissue [in vitro?], indicating an enhancing effect on the heart function.3 L-Carnitine has been shown to improve the performance of rats subjected to fatigue tests.
L-Carntine may promote maintenance of healthy blood lipids. Preliminary evidence of this was seen in a small open trial of 26 participants who took 3 grams of L-carnitine daily for 40 days.
The results of these and other studies suggest that oral consumption of L-Carnitine has a beneficial influence on maintaining heart and cardiovascular system.
Safety - L-carnitine is considered to be very safe for oral consumption. L-carnitine is generally well tolerated, even at doses as high as 15 grams daily.