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L-carnitine is a vitamin-like molecule that serves numerous functions in the body. Its main function is to stimulate the breakdown of fats. L-carnitine is an alpha-hydroxy acid that is primarily located in the muscle. Carnitine is the critical player for the transport of fatty acids into mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses in the cell that produce energy that the body needs to function properly. The energy is produced when fats are burned in the mitochondria. Since mitochondria need oxygen to burn fat, it follows that supplementation with carnitine ensures an adequate supply of oxygen to the muscle. The supply of oxygen becomes extremely important during exercise. Longer periods of Intense exercise on a regular basis results in the loss of carnitine. Therefore, carnitine must be replaced in order for the muscle to remain toned and healthy.
The muscle needs a regular supply of carnitine in sufficient amounts to remain toned and healthy over a long period of time. It should be taken on a regular schedule before its beneficial effects become apparent. On the average, about 10 to 14 days of carnitine supplementation should suffice to keep the muscle supplied with this nutrient that is central to muscle function.
L-carnitine functions in conjunction with pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Pantothenic acid is converted into its active form panetheine in the body. Panetheine is the fundamental component of coenzyme A (coA) and is involved in the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria and also to and from cells.