Carnitine and L-Carnitine

Carnitine, also known as L-carnitine, is an amino acid derivative which is manufactured by the body and used in energy metabolism and for proper use of fats. It transports fatty acids into mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells. In infancy and in situations of high energy consumption such as pregnancy and breast-feeding, the need for L-carnitine can exceed the body's production of this amino acid. L-carnitine is used as a dietary supplement to treat carnitine deficiency. It may also be used in persons with abnormal plasma lipoprotein patterns.


Most people do not need carnitine supplements. For therapeutic use, typical amounts are 1-3 grams per day although higher doses may be recommended for certain conditions. It remains unclear whether the propionyl-L-carnitine form of carnitine used in congestive heart failure research has greater benefits than the L-carnitine form, since limited research in both animals and humans with the more common L-carnitine has also shown very promising effects.