Vitamin O is considered to be a good vitamin for the body. However, due to its chemical structure, which is similar to those amazing amino acids it is usually considered together with them. Its chemical name is L-Carnitine or Acetyl L-Carnitine. L-Carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. It increases the use of fat as an energy source by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they are ‘burned’ to release energy for body functions. The L-carnitine form may cause adverse side effects however. It is available in several different forms including propionyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine. Propionyl-L-carnitine, through its enhancement of metabolism has been proven to prevent ischemia-induced heart dysfunction, and acetyl-L-carnitine has been suggested to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It exists in two stereoisomer forms namely: L-carnitine which is the biologically active form. D-carnitine which is the biologically not active form.
In fact, in several large clinical trials conducted in Italy, this nutrient has shown to have boastful favorable effects in helping people recover more quickly from heart attacks. For example, according to the well-renowned tome The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines written by Michael Murray N.D. who states:
“Subjects taking carnitine showed significant improvements in heart rate, blood pressure, angina attacks, rhythm disturbances, and clinical signs of impaired heart function compared to the subjects taking placebo.”
Benefits and functions of Vitamin O (L-Carnitine or Acetyl L-Carnitine)
- It’s primary role is to help transport fatty acids into the energy producing units in the cells – the mitochondria, where they can be converted to energy. This is a major source of energy for the muscles, including those of the heart. As such, carnitine increases the use of fat as an energy source.
- It should be used in cases the kidney is damaged and person is undergoing dialysis. Because here its levels get low due to kidney disease.
- In addition to producing energy, these two nutrients remove toxic accumulations of fatty acids from mitochondria, keeping these organelles healthy and functioning at their best. Energy production in mitochondria is not a perfect process and toxic metabolites do accumulate.
- Carnitine improves recovery after heavy exercise and may be of use in improving exercise capacity of people with peripheral arterial disease.
- Carnitine moderately improves the duration of exercise and time to recovery in patients with chronic stable angina.
- Vitamin O supplements are used in the treatment of heart disease because it provides beneficial effects to the angina in which chest pain of crushing nature occurs, and after myocardial infarction.
- L -carnitine is beneficial for the neurotransmitter of our brain especially in adults where it improves their functions remarkably. It is beneficial in case of encephalopathy.
- Carnitine has also been used for male infertility. Low sperm count and abnormal motility have been linked to low carnitine levels in men. Several studies have shown that L-carnitine helped increase sperm counts and motility.
- Carnitine is manufactured by the body if sufficient amounts of iron, vitamin B1, vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B6, lysine, and methionine are available.
- Carnitine also enhances the effectiveness of antioxidant vitamins C and E.
- L-Carnitine as been know to cure drepression.
Food source of Vitamin O (L-Carnitine or Acetyl L-Carnitine)
It is found in variety of seed such as sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, and sesame seeds. It is found in nuts, pulses, legumes, lentils, peas, peanuts, vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, garlic, parsley, beet green, etc, in fruits such as avocado, bananas and apricots as well as in whole wheat rye, rice, and wheat bran.
Deficiency of Vitamin O (L-Carnitine or Acetyl L-Carnitine)
- It can lead to osteoporosis because of its effect on the osteoblasts cells of the bones.
- Fatty oxidation can also be impaired in case of its deficiency.
- Beneficial antioxidant effects cannot be achieved.
- Carnitine deficiencies are rare, even in strict vegetarians, because the body produces carnitine relatively easily.
- Rare genetic diseases can cause a carnitine deficiency.
- Carnitine deficiency is more likely to be found in persons experiencing complications of diabetes (such as retinopathy, hyperlipidemia, or neuropathy),