L-Carnitine: An Unnecessary Ergogenic Aid
WHAT IS L-CARNITINE?
L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid which plays a vital role in the metabolism of fat. It functions as a transporter of fatty acids into the mitochondria, the metabolic furnace of the cell.
L-carnitine was discovered in Russia, and one year later in Germany. The proper name, Carnitine, refers to the Latin origin, (carno, caris). Its structural formula was decoded in 1927, and its physiological significance was understood by the 1960's. (http://www.hlthmall.com/l-carnitine.html) L-carnitine is synthesized in the liver and kidneys, from two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine. This synthesis ...view middle of the document...
Research also suggests that an adequate supply of l-carnitine could be instrumental in the treatment of diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, kidney and liver disease. (http://www.healthlink.com.au/nat_lib/htm-data/htm-supp/supps72.htm) Since its involvement in the process of burning fats is of most importance to those interested in endurance and body fitness, it is this topic that will be focused upon.
THE ROLE OF L-CARNITINE: HOW DOES IT WORK?
Carnitine boosts energy by stimulating the body's burning of tryglycerides as fuel, and sparing the supply of glycogen stored in the liver for heavier exertion. During exercise, the body will burn fat at a rate of 75-80% of maximum exertion, thus less glycogen from carbohydrates is burned. L-carnitine allows the body to burn more fat, save more glycogen, and ultimately boost stamina and endurance. By providing more fat to the muscles, carnitine makes accessible an otherwise unavailable energy source. (http://www.betterbodz.com/library/l-carnitine.html)
FAT + OXYGEN + L-CARNITINE = ENERGY
Is this the recipe for success? According to proponents of L-Carnitine, it is the essential amino acid in the optimum fat burning process. They believe that carnitine is to the human body, what a turbo mechanism is to a car: both provide optimal fuel and performance. Minus L-carnitine, fatty acids would have a difficult time permeating the walls of the mitochondria. Energy, stored in carbohydrates and fats, is required to work the muscle. Carbohydrates are converted from glucose to glycogen, to be stored in liver and muscle cells. Eventually, the body turns to fat storage for energy, and possibly, with more ease in the presence of L-carnitine. This is where L-carnitine as a supplement enters. During high energy output, the supply of L-carnitine becomes exhausted. Is it possible to compensate for this decrease solely through metabolic processes and diet? Or is an additional carnitine supplement needed for the extra boost? Judging from the variety of carnitine products now on the market, apparently many believe an additional outside source proves beneficial.
WHAT'S AVAILABLE? IS IT EFFECTIVE?
On the market today, exists a wide domain of ergogenic (or "energy boosting") aids, designed to enhance performance and to create a leaner, trimmer and more beautiful body. L-carnitine is found in many of these products. The amino acid is considered so potent that it is as equally often packaged independently, as it is compounded with other ingredients. Briefed here are several l-carnitine supplements readily available. Each product's marketing adheres to the fundamental claim that L-carnitine increases the amount of fat burned, thus increasing energy and lean muscle mass.
1. "MEGA BURN L-CARNITINE is the body's ultimate source of pure natural L-Carnitine." This product, available in both pill and liquid form, is in a base of purified water, vegetable glycerine and pantothenic acid (vit B5). It claims...