Deficiency Symptoms: Deficiencies of carnitine may result from: 1) deficiencies of essential amino acids lysine and methionine, 2) deficiencies of cofactors (B3, C, B6 and iron), 3) defective gastrointestinal function, 4) increased requirement because of high-fat diet, metabolic stress or disease. The consequences of carnitine deficiency are impaired lipid metabolism and lipid accumulation in skeletal muscles, heart, and liver. Patients usually exhibit muscle weakness and fatigue. Normal heart function depends on adequate concentrations of carnitine. While the normal heart stores more carnitine than required, if the heart does not have a good oxygen supply, carnitine levels quickly decrease. This lack of oxygen leads to decreased energy production and increased risk for angina and heart disease. Carnitine benefits blood lipids by lowering triglycerides and total cholesterol, while increasing HDL. L-acetylcarnitine (LAC) may be useful in the treatment of Altzheimer’s disease, senile depression and age- related memory loss.
There have been no reports of toxicity from L-carnitine supplementation. The biologically active form of carnitine is the L- isomer. DL-carnitine should be avoided. Usual dosages found in capsules and tablets range from 250 to 1000 mg in a variety of chemical formulations: Lacetlycarnitine, L-carnitine, and the HCl, tartrate and fumarate salts. Carnitine, Coenzyme Q10 and pantothenate (B5) appear to work synergistically.
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