L-carnitine is a nutrient factor that is present in the diet but also synthesised by cells. One of the functions of L-carnitine is to shuttle fatty acids into the mitochondria where they are oxidised to produce energy. Some evidence suggests that L-carnitine supplements may be useful for those that wish to lose weight. For example, in one study researchers administered a healthy diet to a group of overweight subjects with or without 3 grams per day of L-carnitine as a dietary supplement. The results of the study showed a significant increase in fatty acid oxidation in the subjects, and this was not accompanied by a detrimental increase in the breakdown of protein. L-carnitine may therefore have significant fat oxidation properties in overweight subjects. One thing to consider is that vitamin C is required for the synthesis of L-carnitine. L-carnitine supplements may therefore only work in those that are unable to produce enough of their own L-carnitine because they are already depleted in vitamin C.
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