What is L – Carnitine?
L- Carnitine is an amino acid that is produced in the body. L – Carnitine helps body to turn fat into energy. In another words, L – Carnitine helps the body to produce energy. L – Carnitine is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and many other body processes (1).
How does it work?
There are many studies found out that L – Carnitine is able to improves insulin sensitivity. By improving insulin sensitivity, it makes body able to convert food into energy. Here is the baseline on how food is converted into energy or fat in the body.
When there is food intake, there will be enzyme namely insulin, where it will convert all the food intake from glucose to the glycogen and store it in the body until it is then further used (2).
Meanwhile, this is what happened when you need the energy, the glucagon enzyme in the body will then breakdown the glycogen stored into glucose and use it as energy or better known as ATP (2).
The Overall pathway.
This is where L- Carnitine plays it role. When L- Carnitine supplementation is given to the rat, the mice that is fed with high fat diet is able to lower its blood glucose level as compared to mice that is given high fat diet without L- Carnitine supplementation (3).
Another study which was conducted in human also found the same result, where the studies found out that L – carnitine supplementation is able to reduce insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity. The study also suggests that, current management for diabetes patient which include diet modification, administration of medication and physical activities, in the future may be improved with the consumption of supplementation such as L -Carnitine (4). The study further suggests that the consumption of 3g of L – carnitine per day may improve diabetes condition, but its consumption must be accompanied by consultation from medical professional (4). However, there are also studies who suggest that the intake of L – Carnitine might posses some side effect thus, the safe consumption level is below 2g/day.
Since public might misinterpret it as a ‘magic pills’ where if you consume it as a diabetes patient you then are able to eat whatever you want. No! A diabetes patient must still adhere or comply to the diabetes diet, physical activity and diabetes medication but since diabetes is the progressive disease, where the condition is able to worsen progressively thus, all the action including intake of supplement may slower it progress (4).
Where can L – Carnitine be found?
Apart from supplemented product, L – Carnitines can be found naturally in food such as beef and fish.
Beef: 81 mg/ 3 ounces
Pork: 24 mg/ 3 ounces
Fish: 5 mg/ 3 ounces
Chicken: 3 mg/ 3 ounces
Milk: 8 mg/ 3 ounces
1. WebMD. L – Carnitine. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1026/l-carnitine (Accessed on July 13, 2020).
2. Feedback Loop of Insulin and Glucagon.
https://www.biologycorner.com/2017/08/22/feedback-loops-insulin-andglucagon/ (Accessed on July 13, 2020).
3. Randall L. Mynat (2009). Carnitine and Type 2 Diabetes. NCBI. PMC Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707127/ (Accessed on July 13, 2020).
4. Mingroe, Graco et al., (1999). L- carnitine Improves Glucose Disposal in Type 2 Diabetes Patient. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10067662/#:~:text=Conclusions%3A%20L%2Dcarnitine%20constant%20infusion,also%20observed%20in%20normal%20subjects. (Accessed on July 13, 2020).
5. Healthline. L – Carnitine: Benefits, Sides Effects, Sources and Dosage.
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/l-carnitine (Accessed on July 13,