What Is L-Carnitine?

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L-carnitine is a compound that helps break down fat in the body, but it is not always effective in helping people lose weight. Understand the science behind L-carnitine with helpful information from a practicing dietitian in this free video on nutrition.

Part of the Video Series: Nutrition & Dietitian Careers
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Cher Pastore and I'm a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with CAP Nutrition LLC in New York City. L-carnitine is a compound that is bio-synthesized in the human body by amino acids, by two amino acids lysine and methionine. The body needs it to break down fat. Therefore it has become an extremely popular dietary supplement because many people thinks it's going to help them, it's going to be the cure all that's going to help them lose weight faster by breaking down fat and not absorbing it. There might be a little bit of truth to it helping you utilize your fat more efficiently, but it certainly can't make you lose more weight or break down things any faster. It just may help you use and break down fat slightly more efficiently. It's been said that L-carnitine can help you burn more fat and therefore lose weight more quickly. It is true that the body can't burn fat without L-carnitine; however, it seems that we're able to get enough of this through a diet without taking an additional supplement. So it is somewhat controversial if you supplement with L-carnitine. Will it help you lose weight faster or won't it? The studies definitely are not clear on this, but it is clear that we need L-carnitine in our diet that we would like to get through food to help us burn and metabolize fat. Studies are being conducted presently on whether L-carnitine acts as antioxidant, whether it helps to control blood sugar for people who have diabetes, and whether or not it really acts to help people lose weight, more fat, more efficiently which will help us because obesity is such a big epidemic. Obesity and diabetes are two of the major related and more significant ways that nutrition has an impact on the people of today. So studies are being conducted to see if L-carnitine will help in this realm, to help with obesity, burn more fat, and also help control diabetes.

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