It sounds almost too good to be true, but for those enjoying advanced years and for patients with type 2 diabetes, this amino acid supplement is a serious multi-tasker.
In previous e-Alerts I’ve told you about studies that reveal these remarkable l-carnitine benefits:
- Improves physical and mental fatigue
- Helps maintain muscle strength
- Raises levels of enzymes needed to metabolize carbohydrates
- Delivers omega-3 fatty acids to cell mitochondria
- Sharpens cognitive function
- Helps protect cells from damage – especially heart cells
And now, new evidence reveals four more ways l-carnitine improves heart health for type 2 diabetics.
Smoothing out oxidative stress
In the e-Alert “Go Ahead, Make My Day” (12/1/08), I told you how recent research is finally catching up with the work of the late Dr. Brian Leibovitz who wrote the first book on l-carnitine more than 20 years ago.
I think Dr. Leibovitz would be very happy about this new study from Italy, just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The Italian team recruited 81 type 2 diabetics who were randomly divided into two groups to receive either two grams of l-carnitine daily or a placebo for three months. The objective: To assess the effects of l-carnitine on oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Type 2 diabetes patients are known to suffer from high oxidative stress, which is the true culprit of cholesterol’s link to heart disease.
- Decrease in oxidized LDL levels was five times greater in the l-carnitine group compared to placebo
- Decrease in LDL levels was significantly greater in the l-carnitine group
- General oxidative stress was considerably lowered in the l-carnitine group
- Triclyceride levels were also lowered in the l-carnitine group
The good and the bad…
The good news: Your body produces a natural supply of l-carnitine.
The bad news: That supply decreases as we age.
The good news: L-carnitine levels can be enhanced by dietary sources such as meat, chicken, fish, and dairy products.
The bad news: Your body only absorbs about a quarter of l-carnitine supplied by food.
So – if you talk to your doctor and you decide that an l-carnitine supplement might be beneficial, keep this tip in mind from HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D.: Don’t take l- carnitine (or any other amino compound supplement) with a high-protein meal.
Dr. Spreen: “There are a limited number of receptors for protein substances (protein foods are composed of amino acids), so the supplement you paid good money for will be ‘diluted’ by the presence of other proteinaceous substances in the digestive neighborhood. That is not true of most other supplements, which should be taken with food.”
“L-Carnitine Supplementation Reduces Oxidized LDL Cholesterol in Patients with Diabetes” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 89, No. 1, 1/1/09, ajcn.org