Carnitine: The essential nutrient for optimal energy production

Of all the essential nutrients that contribute to energy production, carnitine is a key player. While this nutrient encompasses several different compounds, the most common form is known as L-carnitine.

Woman embracing sun on beach

But beyond its role in the energy production process, there are several other beneficial effects of L-carnitine from supporting heart and brain function to maintaining exercise performance and recovery.

What is carnitine?

Derived from an amino acid, carnitine is the generic term for several compounds, including L-carnitine, acetyl L-carnitine, propionyl-L-carnitine, L-carnitine L-tartrate and D-carnitine. L-carnitine is the most common form of carnitine found in the body.

Carnitine is naturally produced by the brain, liver and kidneys from the amino acids methionine and lysine. It's also present in many foods, particularly animal-derived foods like dairy products and meat, as well as dietary supplements.

L-carnitine and energy production

L-carnitine plays a crucial role in mitochondrial function and energy production by facilitating the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of cells. The mitochondria are responsible for generating the majority of a cell's energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Fatty acids are a major fuel source for the production of ATP, particularly during prolonged or high-intensity exercise, or when glucose availability is limited. However, fatty acids cannot directly cross the mitochondrial membrane to be metabolized for energy. This is where carnitine comes into play.

Carnitine acts as a carrier molecule, forming a complex with fatty acids, known as acylcarnitine and shuttling them across the mitochondrial membrane. Once inside the mitochondria, fatty acid oxidation occurs, where the complex is broken down and eventually leads to the production of ATP through oxidative phosphorylation.

In addition to its role in fatty acid transport, carnitine also helps remove toxic byproducts generated during fatty acid metabolism. By removing these toxic compounds, carnitine helps support the proper functioning of mitochondria and supports overall energy production.

red to purple gradient background

Discover MitoQ +heart

Trusted heart health ingredients L-Carnitine, Magnesium and Vitamin D3 are enhanced with MitoQ to support heart health.

MitoQ heart product

The effects of L-carnitine

Beyond playing a vital role in energy production, L-carnitine offers a number of other beneficial effects.

Exercise Performance and Recovery

L-carnitine supplements have been studied for their potential benefits in improving exercise performance and enhancing recovery. According to one study, L-carnitine may spare muscle glycogen stores, delay the onset of fatigue and improve endurance by facilitating fatty acid oxidation and increasing blood flow. There's also evidence to suggest that L-carnitine supplements may help to minimize muscle soreness and muscle cramps after exercise.

Heart health

Some studies suggest that L-carnitine may play a role in supporting the health of the cardiovascular system. By transporting long-chain fatty acids into cardiac muscle cells, L-carnitine helps to support their energy needs.

Brain function

L-carnitine also supports brain health and cognitive function by participating in energy metabolism within brain cells. Some studies have investigated the potential use of L-carnitine supplements for cognitive enhancement. However, the evidence is limited, and more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in these areas.

MitoQ Heart has been specially formulated with trusted heart health ingredients, including L-carnitine, to support cognitive health and aid in exercise recovery.

red to purple gradient background

In the clinical trial it was validated that MitoQ:

- MitoQ greatly improved the ability of arteries to dilate (by 42%)

- MitoQ significantly supports the health of aorta

- MitoQ significantly fights oxidative stress

red to purple gradient background

Discover MitoQ +heart

Trusted heart health ingredients L-Carnitine, Magnesium and Vitamin D3 are enhanced with MitoQ to support heart health.

MitoQ heart product
skin cells and mitochondria

How to support your skin cells

The skin you’re looking at today is in a constant state of regeneration. Every day, you shed over 30,000 skin cells which are swiftly replaced with new ones through a process called cell regeneration.

Read more

Why Muscle Mass is Important for Heart Health

As you age, your heart ages with you. Learn how building muscle can help navigate these cardiovascular changes to help you age better.

Read more