Carnitine is similar in structure to a vitamin or amino acid, it is a compound formed from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Although it is basically an amino acid, it’s not directly used to synthesise tissue e.g. muscle. Instead, Carnitine is used in the muscle cell to liberate energy from fatty acids! Your bodies preferred energy source is carbohydrate, so if you can help to shift your bodies preference from carbs to fat momentarily then you increase your chances of burning body fat. Carnitine is most commonly found in meat and dairy products, but it can also be synthesis inside the body from lysine and methionine.
Carnitine aids the transport of long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria (energy manufacturing warehouses) and muscle cells. Carnitine binds to long chain fatty acids enabling it to enter the mitochondria where it can be used as an intermediate in the electron transport chain. During this process the fatty acids are converted to Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)…the main source of energy to the body (Llewellyn, 2009).
Llewellyn, W. (2009). Sport Supplement Reference Guide. Carnitine. FL: Molecular Nutrition