When you look at it’s list of of benefits it sounds almost too good to be true. But it turns out for seniors and for folks with type-2 diabetes, there’s one amino acid supplement that’s a serious multi-tasker.
I’m speaking of l-carnitine whose many study-backed benefits include…
- Improving physical and mental fatigue
- Helping to maintain muscle strength
- Raising levels of the enzymes needed to metabolize carbohydrates
- Delivering omega-3 fatty acids to cell mitochondria
- Sharpening cognitive function
- Helping to protect cells from damage – especially heart cells
And now, there’s evidence of four more ways l-carnitine improves heart health for type 2 diabetics.
L-carnitine reversed oxidative stress in diabetics
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. In fact I think Dr. Leibovitz would be quite pleased about a study out of Italy that was 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 was 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 behind cholesterol’s so-called link to heart disease.
The results were quite stunning…
- 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
L-carnitine levels drop as we age
The good news is tour body produces a natural supply of l-carnitine. But the bad news is that supply decreases as you age.
While l-carnitine levels can be enhanced by eating more meat, chicken, fish, and dairy products your body only absorbs about a quarter of l-carnitine supplied by food. So you might want to consider trying a supplement.
Ifyou talk to your doctor and decide that an l-carnitine supplement might be beneficial for you, keep this tip in mind from Healthier Talk contributor Allan Spreen, M.D. Dr. Spreen says you shouldn’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
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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