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Life Extension Magazine March 2013
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Carnitine Restores Cellular Function

By Logan Bronwell

Carnitine Combats Cancer Wasting

One of the most painful and tragic consequences of many cancers is their induction of cachexia, the progressive loss of appetite, energy, and body fat, with increased muscle wasting.60,61  Cancer cachexia is induced by many factors, the most prominent of which is decreased tissue carnitine levels.60-62 Diminished appetite contributes to poor nutrition and further declines in carnitine levels.63,64

Many strong studies now demonstrate that the carnitine supplements can reduce the rate and severity of cancer cachexia.65,66 Many also show improvements in appetite, fatigue, and quality of life—especially in the form of L-propionyl carnitine.61,67,68

Exercise-Related Benefits of Carnitine
  • Carnitine reduces exercise-induced oxidative stress. Studies show that carnitine sharply reduces harmful fat oxidation byproducts in muscle tissue.72-77
  • Carnitine reduces fatigue following moderate exercise. A study of middle-aged men and women showed that 2 grams/day of L-carnitine improved recovery time after physical exertion.78 A human study done with kidney patients on hemodialysis (a group chronically plagued by fatigue) showed that a large IV dose of carnitine could increase the amount of time they were able to exercise before becoming fatigued by 22%—while also beneficially lowering heart rates.76
  • Carnitine enhances muscle performance and endurance.10,72,79 One study in animals demonstrated a 39% increase in the distance the animals were able to run before they experienced exhaustion in normal air, and an astonishing 50% increase when the animals ran under low-oxygen conditions.79
  • Carnitine increases exercise tolerance for people who experience angina with exertion.30 Patients taking 500 mg 3 times daily of propionyl-L-carnitine (a natural derivative of L-carnitine) experienced a 450% increase in the mean time they could exercise without EKG signs of ischemia.31 That result indicated improved blood flow to heart muscle cells following ischemia, an effect proven time and again in animal studies.34,35
  • Carnitine enhances the performance of trained endurance athletes. One study showed that 2 grams/day of L-carnitine reduced heart rates and lowered blood sugar levels during exercise.80 Another study demonstrated that athletes using 4.5 grams/day of glycine propionyl-L-carnitine experienced increased muscle power with decreased fatigue-inducing lactic acid accumulation.71

Summary

Loss of mitochondrial function is a major contributor to the process of aging. It deprives vital tissues in our body of the energy they need to perform normal tasks and to keep us vibrant, healthy, and young. Carnitine, a natural facilitator of energy transport in mitochondria, is essential for keeping mitochondria healthy and preventing their age-related loss.

Supplementing with carnitine can help preserve cell energy levels, reduce fatigue, enhance heart muscle strength, reduce the impact of obesity and diabetes, slow signs of brain aging, and protect heart attack victims from dying.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

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