Most of us don’t expect celebrate birthdays beyond ten decades. You many not be setting your sights on the Century Club, but no doubt you’ll still be be interested in the findings from a study that was restricted to folks over the age of 100.
Researchers uncovered some surprising findings that will be useful to any one of us who wants to live a long healthy life.
L-carnitine plays a vital role in our good health
As you are probably already aware a number of commonly used drugs have been shown to deplete the body of important nutrients – especially among the elderly. One of those nutrients is often L-carnitine.
L-carnitine is a key amino acid that’s responsible for a number of important functions in our bodies.
This vital nutrient…
- Delivers omega-3 fatty acids to cell mitochondria
- Reduces oxidative stress
- Helps protect cells from damage – especially heart cells
- Raises the levels of enzymes needed to metabolize carbohydrates
- Helps boost cellular energy
- Helps maintain muscle strength
- Reduces triglycerides
You take in L-carnitine whenever you eat beef, chicken, fish and dairy products. But, unfortunately, your body only absorbs about a quarter of the L-carnitine supplied by your food. And as you age, your body produces less and less of this important nutrient.
Over time those dropping levels can start to negatively effect your health.
L-carnitine slashed fatigue & increased cognitive function
In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at Italy’s University of Catania reported on a study in which they examined the effects of L-carnitine supplementation on 66 subjects who had all celebrated a 100th birthday. At the beginning of the study, each of the subjects reported fatigue after slight physical activity.
The volunteers were divided into two groups to receive either two grams of L-carnitine daily or a placebo for six months.
At the end of the study tests revealed five remarkable results:
- Physical fatigue after exercise was significantly less in the L-carnitine group
- Mental fatigue was significantly less in the L-carnitine group
- In a 30-point test to assess cognitive sharpness, subjects in the L-carnitine group scored more than four points higher on average than subjects in the placebo group
- Total muscle mass was significantly higher in the L- carnitine group
- Total fat mass was significantly lower in the L-carnitine group
If you want to try an L-carnitine supplement stick to the manufacturer recommended dosage, high doses (five grams or more daily) could lead to some uncomfortable side effects such as diarrhea or rash. The University of Maryland Medical Center also cautions that patients with diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease, or cirrhosis should consult with a doctor before using L-carnitine. Actually, that’s good advice for anyone before taking a new supplement.
And HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., has this suggestion for anyone who uses an amino acid supplement: Don’t take it 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 Treatment Reduces Severity of Physical and Mental Fatigue and Increases Cognitive Functions in Centenarians: A Randomized and Controlled Clinical Trial” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 6, December 2007, ajcn.org
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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