L-carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally produced by our body. It is also available as a supplement. The most important health benefit of L-carnitine is its ability to convert fats into energy. It does so by transporting fatty acids into mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, where they are converted into ATP, the energy currency of our body.
While our body can produce L-carnitine from the amino acids lysine and methionine, supplementation can increase its overall amount in the body, leading to health benefits to athletes, fitness enthusiasts and people with certain dietary restrictions who cannot obtain the precursor nutrients to produce enough L-carnitine. Around 98% of the L-carnitine in the body is stored in muscle cells and hence this nutrient plays an important role in helping muscle cells effectively utilize fatty acids for production of energy.
Due to this activity, L-carnitine has been shown to aid in weight loss and in enhancing exercise performance. By supporting mitochondrial health, L-carnitine also helps in healthy aging and providing resistance to certain chronic diseases, like those of the brain and the heart.