Carnitine is probably the single most important nutrient for optimal fat – burning. Carnitine’s main function is to act like a forklift; it picks up fatty acids and drops them off into the cell’s mitochondria for burning. The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells whose function is to burn fat in exchange for energy. That’s fat in, energy out– the greatest metabolic trade!
Carnitine is an exciting nutrient for weight loss, energy production, heart and overall health.
Carnitine helps in weight loss in 4 ways:
1) by directly increasing fat burning
2) by increasing energy levels so we are more likely to exercise
3) by decreasing cravings so we find it easier to stick to their eating plans.
4) some studies suggest carnitine helps us build muscle
Carnitine helps fat-burning but doesn’t really help carbohydrate burning. If you’re on a high carbohydrate diet you’ve got so much ready carbohydrate for energy you may not really be encouraging fat-burning in the body. By decreasing carbohydrate intake you’re helping the body burn more fat by forcing it to burn fat. It’s much easier to burn carbohydrate than it is to burn fat.
However, having said that, carnitine also helps the body store glycogen more effectively. The more glycogen we can store the longer we’re going to have energy reserves from the carbohydrates we are eating.
So it’s necessary to at first force the body into more of a fat-burning mode by reducing carbohydrates and using carnitine. The Sugar Watchers program is based on keeping sugars under control, and carnitine is the perfect accessory nutrient to help us lose weight!
Because it stimulates fat burning, carnitine also helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels naturally. And because of the stress weight loss puts on the body losing fat and fluids and processing toxins, it’s important to be conscious of strengthening the cardiovascular system (heart and vessels).
Carnitine also helps lower triglycerides.
There is an association between people with low thyroid function and low levels of carnitine. Low levels of thyroid hormone create increased levels of fat in the body leading to lower energy and overall sluggishness. Also, people that don’t get enough protein have been found to be carnitine deficient.
My favorite carnitine is: Carnitine Tartrate
In foods, carnitine is found mostly in animal products: red meat, mutton, lamb, milk, chicken, fish and eggs.
NOTE: Carnitine is energizing therefore, if you are using this supplement, it is not recommended taking it in the evening before bed.