Is L-carnitine a safe and effective nutritional supplement for losing weight and gaining lean body mass ? Are there any dangers of taking L-carnitine and being hiv positive ?
I am working out 4 days per week with a personal trainer in order to increase my lean body mass and reduce my body fat percentage which is currently about 30%. I am 5'8" and weigh 235lbs and feel that I need to lose about 35lbs.
Are there any other suggestions that you might have for effective nutritional supplements or diet/nutritional plans ?
Carnitine is synthesized by the liver as well as being part of the diet when you eat meat and organs. It is not found in vegetables. It is the "shuttle" that delivers fat into the mitochondria (energy factories in the cells) to burn it for energy. So people assume it should burn fat.
Unfortunately, not a single long term study has been done in humans to prove if Carnitine can in fact decrease fat mass. It has been proven so far to decrease triglycerides and improve muscle weakness associated with AZT use, however.
There are several studies being performed right now investigating the use of carnitine for many uses.
Carnitine Studies Currently Enrolling
One of such studies is using carnitine and exercise in HIV. In this randomized, placebo-controlled study, researchers will explore whether a mixed regimen of exercise, including both resistance and aerobic exercise, and L-carnitine supplementation affect lipids and lipoproteins, adipokines, insulin resistance; blood lactate levels and VO2max (aerobic capacity); and kinetics of leucine and triglyceride-rich lipoproteins among African-American and Hispanic HIV-positive subjects undergoing HAART. Effects on muscle mitochondrial function will be assessed using exercise tests and body composition assessment (DEXA and Bioimpedance), while effects on hepatic mitochondrial function will be assessed. They believe that the proposed study will help to elucidate underlying mechanisms for metabolic complications and will offer new possibilities for intervention to reduce negative metabolic effects in HIV/HAART patients.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, another form of Carnitine, has been studied in HIV related neuropathy and found to have some benefits in decreasing pain and possibly regenerating nerve endings affected by Zerit and Videx. Acetyl- L- Carnitine is believed to have better absorption into the brain and nerve cells but is more expensive than Carnitine.
Clinical trials conducted on HIV-negative people with heart disease have shown that carnitine supplements can help repair muscle
damage to the heart. They may also help the heart muscle use energy more efficiently. People in these studies, and some HIV-positive people taking carnitine, have reported less fatigue and better energy levels. As well, some studies on athletes have shown improved
energy use, although other similar studies have shown no benefit. Despite conflicting study results, carnitine is commonly used to protect muscle and improve athletic performance.
I personally have been taking L-Carnitine at 2000 mg a day for 15 years. I have never have had any cholesterol and triglyceride problems even when taking higher doses of Norvir. I also have probably prevented a lot of muscle and neuropathy related issues. I notice a significant drop in my energy level and mental focus when I run out of it ( so I try not to ever run out of this supplement). But this is only my anecdotal information and should not be taken as research data.
There is a prescription grade carnitine called Carnitor that you can get by prescription. I am not sure if most insurance companies would pay for it. I use an over the counter supplement made by Jarrow.
Hopefully we will have more data in the coming months.