L-Carnitine is a water-soluble, amino acid derivative found in every human cell. L-Carnitine can be manufactured by the body in both the kidneys and the liver from lysine and methionine, although animal products can also be good sources. L-Carnitine has two major functions. First, it acts as a transport back and forth across the mitochondria for long-chain fatty acids that are responsible for the production of energy. Second, L-Carnitine helps maintain safe levels of medium- and short-chain fatty acids so as not to interfere with energy production and normal cell function.
L-carnitine has negative interactions with acenocoumarol and warfarin. There is information that carnitine will instigate the anticoagulant effects of acenocoumarol, which is a shorter acting anticoagulant than warfarin. No other information exists on these drug interactions. Choline is said to help increase the function of carnitine.
There have been some side effects reported in connection to l-carnitine. They include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, heartburn, gastritis, and diarrhea. A few people have reported seizures, the majority coming from people who have previously experienced seizures. As with all drugs and supplements, consult a health care professional before use.
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