Carnitine is an amino acid that is produced naturally by the liver and kidneys at 16,000 to 20,000 mg per day. However, there may be times when the body is unable to absorb or synthesize it in sufficient quantities. As a result, it is necessary to take L-carnitine which is a supplement.
Part 1 of 3: Take L-carnitine for a variety of reasons
Step 1. Take it to increase low carnitine levels
When the body is unable to absorb it, or does not make enough, healthcare professionals prescribe L-carnitine to be taken by mouth.
There are various reasons that can justify this low rate. Although genetic disorders are the main cause, be aware that medical procedures like hemodialysis can also temporarily reduce the amount of carnitine in the body. Vegetarians or people with a strict diet are also low in carnitine
Step 2. Take these supplements to increase your red blood cell count
Patients with severe kidney disease usually have low red blood cells. L-carnitine supplementation has been found to be an effective option for increasing the amount of these cells in these subjects.
Since the kidneys are one of the organs responsible for synthesizing this amino acid in the body, kidney disease reduces its level and the number of red blood cells in the blood
Step 3. Take L-carnitine to fight heart disease
If you have heart failure or have complications from heart disease, your doctor may prescribe additional L-carnitine, especially if you have chest pain or have had a heart attack. Studies have shown that L-carnitine supplementation alleviates the symptoms of these problems.
- Those with so-called stable angina (angina pectoris) can be relieved if they take L-carnitine supplements in combination with propionyl-L-carnitine. Both of these supplements can help manage symptoms and improve the ability to exercise without experiencing chest pain.
- Those who have had a heart attack will do well with L-carnitine supplements if taken with conventional medications. This can reduce the risk of having another seizure, of having chest pain, of having an abnormal heart rhythm, or of heart failure.
- The supplement may also be beneficial for patients who have previously had heart failure, as it will improve the ability to do physical activities.
Step 4. Give these supplements to a premature baby
Do it to improve your weight. According to some studies, a low dose of L-carnitine may be beneficial for premature babies and low birth weight babies. In fact, the L-carnitine will help them take more advantage of the nutrients provided to them in the hospital.
Step 5. Take L-carnitine to prevent some side effects
More specifically, take it to reduce, or to avoid having the side effects of taking antiepileptics containing valproate (valproic acid).
- However, be aware that L-carnitine supplementation is associated with a high risk of seizures in patients prone to this symptom. Therefore, taking L-carnitine for the purpose of combating the side effects of antiepileptics can be dangerous and should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.
- This supplement can relieve side effects associated with AZT also called zidovudine (medicine used to treat HIV infection or AIDS), doxorubicin (medicine used in cancer chemotherapy) and isotretinoin (medicine to treat acne). However, research still needs to be done to confirm this information before the supplement is recommended in these cases.
Step 6. Treat the symptoms of hyperthyroidism with L-carnitine
If you have hyperthyroidism, your body will produce a large amount of thyroid hormones, and in this case, you may experience symptoms like nervousness, weakness, tremors, and increased heart rate. According to some studies, supplementing with L-carnitine may reduce these symptoms.
In addition, scientists indicate that carnitine can block the action of thyroid hormone, which is why the effect of excess thyroid hormone is reduced with supplementation
Step 7. Take it to treat infertility if you are male
L-carnitine may be useful in treating infertility problems caused by inflammation of the seminal glands, epididymis, and prostate.
- Oligospermia - the presence of abnormally low sperm can be associated with low levels of carnitine, so supplementation with L-carnitine can increase the number of these gametes and even improve their mobility.
- Those who suffer from erectile dysfunction can be relieved if they take propionyl L-carnitine, especially if it is in combination with conventional drugs for this condition.
Step 8. Remember that L-carnitine will not improve certain conditions
In fact, the supplement had been used in the past to treat a number of medical conditions, which led to inconclusive results for some. In addition, it has been found to be ineffective for others by some clinical studies.
- More specifically, L-carnitine does not improve athletic ability according to some studies. There is therefore no evidence that it increases athletic performance or endurance.
- L-carnitine is generally touted as a supplement to help fight weight loss, but there is no evidence to support this claim.
- Although this may change favorably in the future, there is insufficient evidence to prove that L-carnitine improves the following conditions:
- fatigue related to celiac disease, cancer, age, hepatitis C, or memory impairment;
- pain in the legs caused by poor circulation (MVP peripheral vascular disease). Some studies indicate that propionyl L-carnitine may relieve symptoms of MVP, but no conclusive evidence has yet been found;
- symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder;
- Rett syndrome;
- eating disorders;
- diabetes. Preliminary studies indicate that acetyl-L-carnitine may relieve pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, but results are not yet conclusive;
- hypercholesterolemia, which is high blood cholesterol levels;
- blood disorders;
- venous leg ulcer;
- Lyme disease;
Part 2 of 3: know the dosage
Step 1. Take it 2 or 3 times a day
Do this to treat carnitine deficiencies. Those who are deficient in this amino acid usually need to take this dose two to three times a day. Note that each dose contains 990 mg. The supplement is usually taken as a tablet or an oral solution.
Step 2. Distribute the dose of the supplement to be taken throughout the day
Consider doing this if you are trying to manage side effects of taking an anti-epileptic drug that contains valproic acid. If you are taking Depakene, Depakote, VPA or any other valproate antiepileptic drug, take 50 to 100 mg of L-carnitine, divided into three or four doses per day. However, you should not take more than 3 g of L-carnitine in a day.
Step 3. Take it twice a day to treat heart disease
If you have been prescribed L-carnitine to treat chest pain and congestive heart failure (CHF), you should take it twice a day, and each dose should contain a total of 1 g.
Doctors who prescribe L-carnitine to patients who have already had a heart attack should recommend that they take a total of 2 to 6 g per day
Step 4. Take the supplement twice a day
Do this to control the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Those taking L-carnitine to manage symptoms of hyperthyroidism should take 1 or 2 g of the supplement twice a day.
Step 5. Treat infertility by taking it once a day if you are male
To treat this condition, you need to take L-carnitine once a day at a rate of 2 g. In addition, you should consider taking a single daily dose of 1 g of L-acetyl-carnitine along with standard L-carnitine.
Step 6. Talk to your doctor
Talk to them about any concerns you have about the dosage. If you are taking the supplement for any other reason, consider seeing a doctor to find out the correct dose. In the majority of cases, the usual adult dose is between 1 and 3 g per day.
- Never give it to a child without first receiving doctor's approval.
- Babies with low birth weight can be given intravenously or orally in hospital, but treatment is usually stopped before they are discharged from the hospital.
Part 3 of 3: Consider Side Effects and Interactions
Step 1. Find out more about common side effects
The majority of side effects are minor or moderate. These include vomiting, nausea, heartburn, stomach pain, seizures and diarrhea.
Large doses of L-carnitine can also cause urine, sweat, and even breath to smell fishy
Step 2. Monitor your thyroid function
Although L-carnitine is found to be beneficial for those with hyperthyroidism, those who have hypothyroidism or have an underactive thyroid should be very careful when taking this supplement, as it could make their condition worse.
Step 3. Avoid taking it if you are prone to seizures
There is no evidence that L-carnitine can cause seizures in healthy people, but taking it may increase the risk of it coming back in those who have had it before.
If you feel like taking it to combat the side effects of an antiepileptic drug, you should take the trouble to see a doctor first to find out if L-carnitine is really the safest option for you
Step 4. Consult a doctor before using it if you are expecting a baby
You should take this same precaution if you are a breastfeeding woman. There is no evidence to indicate that small doses are not harmful to women under these conditions, but extreme caution is still recommended.
Since there is not enough information on the effects of this supplement on developing fetuses, pregnant women should not take it
Step 5. Be aware of any health issues that may be interfering
While almost anyone can take L-carnitine safely, certain conditions can make it unsafe.
Those most at risk are those with MVP, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and cirrhosis. Even though the supplement is used to relieve some of these medical conditions, you should only take it under very strict medical supervision
Step 6. Be careful with certain medications
More specifically, you need to be careful with drugs that can interact with the supplement. If you are already taking certain medications, you should avoid L-carnitine supplementation in order to reduce the risk of harmful drug interactions.
- Acenocoumarol and warfarin are drugs that delay blood clotting, and L-carnitine can make these drugs work better, which could slow blood clotting too quickly.
- The thyroid hormone is less effective when L-carnitine is present in the body.
- D-carnitine can interfere with L-carnitine. This is also the case with naturally produced carnitine and L-carnitine taken as a supplement.