The Benefits of L-Carnitine for Older Aging, Fatigue; Showing Hope

The Benefits of L-Carnitine for Older Aging, Fatigue; Showing Hope

In aging, you're oxidizing the proteins in mitochondria and they lose activity. If some of that lost activity is due to binding for substrate or coenzyme - like binding of acetyl-L-carnitine by carnitine acetyltransferase - and you can raise the level of those, then you can reverse some of the loss. Up to 90 percent of the oxygen we breathe is used by the mitochondria, as they perform many of the roles critical to cell function, such as producing energy, regulating calcium and even controlling cell life and death.

The free radicals that are being produced as a result of metabolism are actually the same that result from nuclear radiation. It’s as if humans were being irradiated throughout their lives. And this process is such a natural part of life that cellular repair mechanisms have evolved to help fix or prevent the damage – not the least of which are well-known “antioxidants” such as vitamin C. Due to a missing transporter, cells cannot bring in carnitine from the blood. Carnitine is needed for the transfer of fatty acids across the membranes of the mitochondria (cellular organelles that produce energy for the cell). Acetyl-L-carnitine levels may decrease with advancing age.

Carnitine, generally improves the efficiency of ATP production by helping import certain fuel molecules into mitochondria, and cleaning up some of the toxic byproducts of ATP production. Carnitine is available as an over-the-counter supplement called L-carnitine. Levocarnitine is used to treat l-carnitine deficiency when dietary intake is inadequate. Creatine, L-carnitine and coQ10 supplements are often combined into a "cocktail" for treating mitochondrial disease such as Primary systemic carnitine deficiency, dialysis, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and several rare metabolic disorders.

Patients who receive anticonvulsant drug therapy are often affected by deficiencies of carnitine. Carnitine deficiency may be treated with levocarnitine (L-carnitine, e.g., Carnitor®), which may help to improve hand apraxia.L-carnitine, as is the case with many other nutritional supplements, has staked a claim to helping restore healthy blood sugar levels to the body. Early findings suggest that L-carnitine supplementation may relieve lipid overload and glucose intolerance in obese rodents

Carnitine deficiencies are rare, even in strict vegetarians, because the body produces carnitine relatively easily. Rare genetic diseases can cause a carnitine deficiency. Also, deficiencies are occasionally associated with other diseases, such as diabetes and cirrhosis. Among people with diabetes, carnitine deficiency is more likely to be found in persons experiencing complications of diabetes (such as retinopathy, hyperlipidemia, or neuropathy), suggesting that carnitine deficiency may play a role in the development of these complications. A carnitine deficiency can also result from oxygen deprivation which can occur in some heart conditions. In Italy, L-carnitine is prescribed for heart failure, heart arrhythmias, angina, and lack of oxygen to the heart.

A team of researchers led by Bruce N. Ames, professor of molecular and cell biology at University of California, Berkeley, fed older rats two chemicals normally found in the body's cells and available as dietary supplements: acetyl-L-carnitine and an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid. They found that by combining a natural, energy-boosting component (acetyl L-carnitine) with a powerful anti-oxidant (alpha lipoic acid) they could slow the cell aging process.

L-carnitine not only did the older rats do better on memory tests, they had more pep, and the energy-producing organelles in their cells worked better and targets mitochondria to get rid of destructive radicals and to boost the activity of a damaged enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase, that plays a key role in burning fuel in mitochondria; they stated.

Supplements of two antioxidant compounds -- acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid -- have been found to significantly increase the ability of "geriatric". The study (Sep. 27, 2007) was just published in FASEB Journal, produced by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology suggested in the paper that long-term supplementation “may be effective in attenuating age-associated cognitive decline by slowing the rate of mitochondrial decay and cellular aging.” Enhancing the function of mitochondria - which provide almost all of a cell’s energy - could literally be providing animals with more “mental energy,” leading to improved memory and learning, the study indicated. The compounds may also cause increased synthesis of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is required for mental function.

However according to Mayoclinic preliminary research on a few herbal supplements — such as DHEA, ginseng and propionyl-L-carnitine — suggests that they may provide benefit as an erectile dysfunction treatment in some men. But no adequate clinical trials have evaluated either the effectiveness or the safety of supplements in treating erectile dysfunction.

Recently Mayo Clinic general health specialist Kenneth Berge, M.D., and colleagues answered in a question that a few remedies — intramuscular magnesium for people with low red blood cell magnesium, a combination of fish oil and evening primrose oil, melatonin, NADH, propionyl-L-carnitine, and ribose — have shown encouraging results in preliminary studies. However, many of these promising early results failed to be confirmed by subsequent studies or the original studies were too small to be conclusive. At this time, there is insufficient evidence of benefit to recommend any specific dietary or herbal supplements as a treatment for chronic fatigue.

"The prospects for cognitive improvement from use of these supplements (acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid) is both fascinating and exciting. The results should be relevant to what we could expect with humans, and are very encouraging;” they stated.

The researchers in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy and diabetes Care, Journal Vol. 28, January 2005, from Wayne State University stated that acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) at 1,000mg per day shows beneficial effects on pain in patients with Diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN). They conclude that ALC is efficacious in alleviating many symptoms of DPN, but longer trials must be carried out on patients at an earlier stage of the disease.

Another collaborated study at Oregon State University and the University of California found that with a combination of two compounds that occur naturally, acetyl-l-carnitine and an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid previously shown that either of these compounds may have value in addressing some of the physical and mental deterioration associated with aging, but the newest research suggested a combination of the two works far better than either one separately.

In a study conducted by William Hiatt, M.D., of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, 155 Americans and Russians age 40 to 80 were randomly selected to take either 2 g/day L-carnitine or placebo for six months. After six months study indicate that L-carnitine may improve exercise ability in people with poor circulation in their legs. Peripheral arterial disease impairs circulation and can lead to claudication—a sharp leg pain that limits exercise.

L-Carnitine has also been found to be helpful in Alzheimer’s patients, people suffering from cardiovascular disease, liver disorders, kidney disorders, and obesity where it is related to hypoglycemic condition. Athletes have found L-Carnitine helpful in increasing endurance and aerobic performance.

Some stufy also claims that elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels (L-carnitine exerts a beneficial effect on blood lipids by lowering triglycerides and total cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol), to lower heart failure, while carnitine supplementation helps treat CHF and prevent arrhythmias and in Alzheimer’s disease and age related memory defects. For people who are overweight, weight loss can help reduce the chances of developing health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. The amino acid L-Carnitine can promote fat burning and help to reduce extra body fat. It also may improve sperm motility in men with fertility problems, according to research by scientists at the University of Rome. But those are not yet well established.

Recently (02/04/2008) Dr. David Carr, clinical director of the division of geriatrics and nutritional science at Washington University School of Medicine said "There is not enough data to recommend either supplement to ward off memory loss". Carr says many people believe that supplements like Acetyl L Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements are not going to hurt them in the long run, but that may not be the case.

The dietary supplement L-carnitine can lessen fatigue and boost mental function in very old people, Italian researchers reported recently (January, 2008). Study participants given L-carnitine also experienced significant increases in muscle mass and reductions in fat mass, Dr. Mariano Malaguarnera and colleagues from the University of Catania report in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical nutrition.

L-carnitine helps cells to produce energy from fat. The highest concentrations of the molecule are found in parts of the body with high energy demands, such as the skeletal muscles and the heart. Overall concentrations of L-carnitine decline after age 70. To determine if supplementation with L-carnitine might improve energy levels in people 100 and older, Malaguarnera's team randomized 66 male and female centenarians to 2 grams of L-carnitine or placebo daily for six months.

Cholesterol levels fell significantly among the individuals taking the supplement, they report. L-carnitine takers also gained 3.8 kilograms (8.4 pounds) of muscle mass, on average, and lost 1.8 kg (4 pounds) of fat mass. People given L-carnitine were also able to walk 4 meters (13 feet) further during a 6-minute walking test after treatment than those given placebo.

Study participants in the L-carnitine group also reported significant reductions in mental, physical and overall fatigue, while placebo treatment had no effect on fatigue. The individuals who took the supplement also scored higher on a test of mental function after treatment, while there was no change in the placebo group. The supplement was well tolerated by study participants, the researchers report, with no serious side effects.

A high-quality multi vitamin/ multimineral, omega 3 and 9 fatty acid fish oils, extra vitamin D, magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid and L-carnitine are the nutritional supplements most recommended for reducing inflammation. A concentrated antioxidant, anti-inflammation fruit drink like MonaVie would be very beneficial as well.

Before you administer levocarnitine, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider. Dairy milk, cheese, yogurt, red meats contain the greatest amounts of carnitine. Vegetables and fruits have little or none. Therefore, people who have a limited intake of meat and dairy products tend to have lower L-carnitine intakes.

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