L-carnitine is an amine present in the body that has also become one of the most demanded food supplements.
What is L-carnitine?
The liver and kidney are responsible for the production of L-carnitine, thanks to the action of the amino acids L-lysine and L-methionine. The role of L-carnitine is to generate energy for the body by transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria.
Fatty acids such as acetic acid, propionic acid, valeric acid or butyric acid can naturally cross the inner mitochondrial membrane. However, long-chain fatty acids such as palmitic or oleic fatty acids require the help of L-carnitine to overcome this membrane and reach the interior of the mitochondrial cell.
It can also be found in foods of animal origin, such as meats and dairy products, and in supplements.
Like almost all organic elements, the production of L-carnitine decreases as we get older, which inevitably affects our muscles and bones, causing weakness and loss of strength.
Function of L-carnitine
Biologically, L-carnitine has the task of controlling the oxidation and storage of fats in the body. The objective is to achieve a balance that facilitates the energy production discussed above.
Although the body produces enough L-carnitine on its own, there are several situations in which it may be appropriate to start taking supplements, always under medical supervision:
- When cardiovascular diseases are present.
- In renal diseases.
- In mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and age-related memory impairment.
- Diabetes or cholesterol.
- Dermatological problems.
Another of the most used fields is in sports, since L-carnitine helps to reduce muscle fatigue and recovery time after exercise.
Foods with L-carnitine
L-carnitine is found mostly in foods of animal origin, especially in beef, chicken, pork, fish and dairy products.
It is also found, although to a lesser extent, in cereals and plant foods such as bananas, pears, tomatoes and carrots.
For this reason, those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet must sometimes supplement their L-carnitine intake with supplements.
L-carnitine as a cosmetic
When the body uses high doses of carnitine, it favors the utilization of fats to be transformed into energy instead of sugars. This process causes a loss of fat in the body.
It should be clear, therefore, that L-carnitine does not burn fat, it simply transports it so that energy is produced with it.
Several cosmetic companies market products for topical use of L-carnitine in combination with other active ingredients with slimming and anti-cellulite action to improve the appearance of the skin and achieve a reduction in body fat.
In addition, in 2013, the University of Seville patented the use of L-carnitine for the treatment of stretch marks and scars.
At Sisneo we have a product for electroporation that includes L-carnitine as one of its active ingredients. We have included it because of its ability to transport fatty acids to the mitochondria to facilitate their metabolization and its antifibrotic activity for scars and stretch marks.
Commitment to quality
This text on L-carnitine has been written by professional editors and reviewed by Sisneo’s medical-aesthetic team. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.
At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.
Among others, we have used the following references:
- Askarpour M, Hadi A, Miraghajani M, Symonds ME, Sheikhi A, Ghaedi E. «Beneficial effects of l-carnitine supplementation for weight management in overweight and obese adults: An updated systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials» en Pharmacol Res. 2020 Jan;151:104554. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104554. Epub 2019 Nov 17. PMID: 31743774.