Addictive Potential: None
Emergency Room Visits Yearly: No recorded hospital visits
Mandatory Minimum Sentence: None
Mechanism of Action: it is required for the transport of fatty acids from the cytosol into the mitochondria during the breakdown of lipids (or fats) for the generation of metabolic energy
Carnitine, or 3-Hydroxy-4-trimethylammonio-butanoate, is a quaternary ammonium compound biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. In living cells, it is required for the transport of fatty acids from the cytosol into the mitochondria during the breakdown of lipids (or fats) for the generation of metabolic energy. It is often sold as a nutritional supplement. Carnitine was originally found as a growth factor for mealworms and labeled vitamin Bt. Carnitine exists in two stereoisomers: its biologically active form is L-carnitine, while its enantiomer, D-carnitine, is biologically inactive.
The carnitines exert a substantial antioxidant action, thereby providing a protective effect against lipid peroxidation of phospholipid membranes and against oxidative stress induced at the myocardial and endothelial cell level.
Potential Uses as a Pharmaceutical:
Effects on Diabetes – L-Carnitine improved glucose disposal among 15 patients with type II diabetes and 20 healthy volunteers. Glucose storage increased between both groups, but glucose oxidation increased only in the diabetic group. Finally, glucose uptake increased about 8% for both.
Effects on Male infertility – The use of carnitine showed some promise in a controlled trial in selected cases of male infertility improving sperm quality.
Improved Neurotransmitter Function – Regular supplements of L-carnitine contribute to energy metabolism and improved neurotransmitter function in the brain in elderly.