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What is L-carnitine and why do people take it?

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Carnitine helps your body make energy. You usually get enough carnitine from your liver and kidneys, but you also can get it from red meat, chicken, milk, avocado, and other foods.

Most supplements contain one type of carnitine called L-carnitine. Only a few people, including pre-term babies and those with certain diseases, may need supplements. Some athletes also take it to boost their performance, even though there is no proof that it helps.

L-carnitine may help people with heart problems or peripheral artery disease. But more research is needed.

From: L-Carnitine WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Fundukian LJ ed, , third edition, 2009. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: "L-Carnitine."

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site: "About Herbs: Carnitine."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site: "Herbs at a Glance: Carnitine."

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database web site: "Carnitine."

National Institutes of Health: "Carnitine."

Mochamat, "A systematic review on the role of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other supplements for the treatment of cachexia in cancer: a European Palliative Care Research Centre cachexia project. 2017 J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle."

Delaney CL, "A systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of carnitine supplementation in improving walking performance among individuals with intermittent claudication." 2013  Atherosclerosis.

Reviewed by Carmen Patrick Mohan on May 12, 2017

SOURCES:

Fundukian LJ ed, , third edition, 2009. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: "L-Carnitine."

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site: "About Herbs: Carnitine."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site: "Herbs at a Glance: Carnitine."

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database web site: "Carnitine."

National Institutes of Health: "Carnitine."

Mochamat, "A systematic review on the role of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other supplements for the treatment of cachexia in cancer: a European Palliative Care Research Centre cachexia project. 2017 J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle."

Delaney CL, "A systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of carnitine supplementation in improving walking performance among individuals with intermittent claudication." 2013  Atherosclerosis.

Reviewed by Carmen Patrick Mohan on May 12, 2017

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Does L-carnitine help athletes?

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