Carnitine : The amino acid that reduces the health risks posed by poor fat metabolism associated with diabetes; inhibits alcohol-induced fatty liver; and lessens the risk of heart disorders.

Carnitine is really not an amino acid, but because it is structurally similar to amino acids, it is normally classed with amino acids, and is also known as vitamin T. Carnitine is used in energy supply within cells and muscles and assists in preventing fatty build-up in areas such as the heart, liver, and skeletal muscles.

Unlike true amino acids, carnitine is not used for protein synthesis or as a neurotransmitter. Its main function in the body is to help transport long-chain fatty acids, which are burned within the cells, mainly in the mitochondria, to provide energy. This is a major source of energy for the muscles. Carnitine thus increases the use of fat as an energy source. This prevents fatty buildup, especially in the heart, liver, and skeletal muscles. Carnitine may be useful in treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), because a disturbance in the function of the mitochondria (the site of energy production within the cells) may be a factor in fatigue. Studies have shown decreased carnitine levels in many people with CFS.

Carnitine can be manufactured by the body if sufficient amounts of iron, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and the amino acids lysine and methionine are available. The synthesis of carnitine also depends on the presence of adequate levels of vitamin C. Inadequate intake of any of these nutrients can result in a carnitine deficiency. Carnitine can also be obtained from food, primarily meats and other foods of animal origin.

Function and Benefits of Carnitine

  • Carnitine is available as D-carnitine, L-carnitine, DL-carnitine as well as acetyl-L-carnitine, but L-carnitine is the most popular type.
  • L-Carnitine is synthesized from the essential amino acids lysine and methionine, but enough vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) must be available
  • Carnitine has also been shown to improve the antioxidant effect of vitamin C and vitamin E
  • Carnitine can be manufactured by the body if iron, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and the amino acids lysine and methionine are available
  • Insufficient carnitine will not allow fatty acids to be moved to the right place and the body will eventually wear down, resulting in a person feeling drained and tired
  • Carnitine reduces the health risks posed by poor fat metabolism associated with diabetes; inhibits alcohol-induced fatty liver; and lessens the risk of heart disorders.
  • Studies have shown that damage to the heart from cardiac surgery can be reduced by treatment with carnitine. According to The American Journal of Cardiology, one study showed that proprionyl-L-carnitine, a carnitine derivative, helps to ease the severe pain of intermittent claudication, a condition in which a blocked artery in the thigh decreases the supply of blood and oxygen to leg muscles, causing pain, especially with physical activity.
  • Carnitine has the ability to lower blood triglyceride levels, aid in weight loss, improve the motility of sperm, and improve muscle strength in people with neuromuscular disorders.
  • Men normally require more carnitine than women, because of their heavier body mass
  • Related to B-Vitamins

Deficiency Symptoms of Carnitine

Many cases of carnitine deficiency have been identified as partly genetic in origin, resulting from an inherited defect in carnitine synthesis. Possible symptoms of deficiency include confusion, heart pain, muscle weakness, and obesity.

Rich Food Sources of Carnitine

  • The highest concentrations of carnitine are found in red meat and dairy products.
  • Other natural sources of carnitine include nuts and seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), legumes or pulses (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts), vegetables (artichokes, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collard greens, garlic, mustard greens, okra, parsley, kale), fruits (apricots, bananas), cereals (buckwheat, corn, millet, oatmeal, rice bran, rye, whole wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ) and other “health” foods (bee pollen, brewer’s yeast, carob).


Cystine: The amino acid that functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in protecting against radiation and pollution.

Cystine is a nonessential amino acid (protein building block), meaning that cystine can be made in the human body.  Cystine is formed from methionine and is required for proper vitamin B6 utilisation.  Cystine is one of the few amino acids that contains sulfur. This allows cystine to bond in a special way and maintain the structure of proteins in the body. Cystine is a component of the antioxidant, glutathione. The body also uses cystine to produce taurine, another amino acid.

Cystine can also be converted into glucose and used as a source of energy. Cystine strengthens the protective lining of the stomach and intestines, which may help prevent damage caused by aspirin and similar drugs. In addition, cystine may play an important role in the communication between immune system cells. Cystine is rarely used as a dietary supplement. N-acetyl cystine (NAC), which contains cystine, is more commonly used as a supplement.

Function and Benefits of Cystine

  • It is helpful in the healing of burns and wounds and helps break down mucus deposits in illnesses such as bronchitis and cystic fibrosis.
  • Cystine is a crystalline, sulphur-containing amino acid, formed from two molecules of the amino acid cysteine
  • Strengthens the protective lining of the stomach and intestines, which may help prevent damage caused by aspirin and similar drugs.
  • Functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in protecting against radiation and pollution.
  • Detoxification from cigarettes and alcohol – cystine has been shown as a detoxification agent to protect the body against damage of alcohol and cigarette smoking, and may be effective in preventing hangovers, as well as preventing liver and brain damage
  • Cystine or the N-acetyl form of cysteine (N-acetylcysteine, or NAC) may be used in place of L-cysteine. NAC aids in preventing side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Because it increases glutathione levels in the lungs, kidneys, liver, and bone marrow, it has an anti aging effect on the body-reducing the accumulation of age spots, for example. NAC has been shown to be more effective at boosting glutathione levels than supplements of cystine or even of glutathione itself.
Cystine deficiency
  • Deficiency of cystine is rare, as it is found in so many protein foods, although in patients with chronic diseases, the synthesis of cystine from methionine appears to be prevented and could result in a deficiency.
  • People in these groups at risk of cystine deficiency should talk to a medical professional about cystine supplementation.
Rich Food Sources of Cystine
 leafy vegetables, bananas, broccoli, dates,nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, and milk.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) : The vitamin use in breaking down of complex nutrients into simpler forms, which can be easily assimilated by the body cells and tissue.

Vitamin B6  is necessary for healthy teeth, proper functioning of the pancreas, maintaining muscle tone and has a soothing effect on the nerves. It aids in proper protein,  fat and carbohydrate metabolism and also helps in the formation of red blood cells, neurotransmitters, prostaglandins and proteins.  It’s helpful in relieving asthma and symptoms associated with PMS. Vitamin B6 is also required for growing new cells and balancing blood sugar levels. It’s good for the skin and immune system as well. Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is essential for the smokers as it reduces the risk of lung cancer.  Pyridoxine is used in more body functions than almost any other vitamins.

Vitamin B6 plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the immune system. Needed for proper functioning of over 60 different enzymes.  It is also required for the chemical reactions of proteins. The higher the protein intake, the more need there is for vitamin B6. Too little B6 in the diet can cause dizziness, nausea, confusion, irritability and convulsions. Vital to over 100 health conditions including: asthma, autism, cardiovascular disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, Chinese restaurant syndrome, diabetes, depression, epilepsy, immune enhancement, kidney stones, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, osteoporosis, and premenstrual syndrome.

Deficiency Symptoms: Skin disorders, sore mouth and lips, anemia, easy agitation, frustration, heart palpitations, edema, heart arrhythmia, mental depression, halitosis, eczema, nervousness, kidney stones, insomnia, tooth decay, colon inflammation migraines, and premature senility. One of the most dominant vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms in adults is unexplained weight gain (due to water retention in the body) or weight loss. Some individuals may also complain of metal problems like insomnia, paranoia, depression and mood swings. They may also get easily frustrated or agitated. Other symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency in adults is ADD (attention deficit disorder), heart palpitations, loss of libido (in men), indigestion and tingling sensation in the arms and legs etc.

Vitamin B6 Deficiency Symptoms in Women
Women who take birth control pills or are heavy drinkers are at a risk of developing vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms. Others at risk include pregnant or breastfeeding women, those taking medications like isoniazid, hydralazine, penicillamine, etc. and women on high protein diet. The vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms in women include: Depression, Mood swings, Migraine, Hair loss, Irritability, Anemia, Loss of appetite, Dry skin, Cracks on tongue and lips, Weakness, Crying spells,inability to cope.

Fruit Sources (Avocado,  Banana, Blueberries,  Breadfruit, Cantaloupe,   Cherimoya,  Dates,  Grapes, Guava, Lychee, Mango,  Passion Fruit,  Pineapple,  Pomegranate,  Raisins, Watermelon)

Vegetable Sources (Amaranth Leaves, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Cabbage, Celeriac, Corn, French BeansGreen Pepper,  Kale, Lima Beans, Mushroom, Okra, Peas ,Potatoes, Spirulina, Spaghetti ,Squash Squash – winter, Sweet Potato, Taro)

Nut/Grain Sources (Chestnuts, Filberts/Hazelnuts, Pistachios, Pumpkin Seeds,  Rice Brown, Rye,  Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts, Wheat – Durum ,Wheat – Hard Red,Wheat – Hard White)

Legume Source (Black Eye Peas,  Edamame,  Garbanzo, Beans Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans , Soy Beans ,White Beans)

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) :Health Benefits of Pantothenic Acid. Food Sources of Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 is a water soluble vitamin and it comes under the category of essential nutrients. This B vitamin is also called Pantothenate. It’s a B complex vitamin which performs many important roles for health especially in the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates. Just like other B vitamins Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 helps body to convert foods to produce energy. Not only it synthesizes carbohydrates, fats and proteins, it also synthesizes with a small sulphur containing molecule to create coenzyme A. Coenzyme A or CoA is required for variety of chemical reactions.

Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 is important for the production of red blood cells and also for the production of healthy fats in the cells. It promotes the health of adrenal glands thus improves body’s response to stress. This is why Pantothenic acid is often referred as anti-stress vitamin. Vitamin B5 is also good for the skin and hair. It is required for the treatment of alopecia. Because of its skin benefits it is used for the treatment of acne and studies suggest Pantothenic acid can heal the wounds faster. Although, more researches need to be done on this area, but combination of Vitamin B5 and Vitamin C can be very helpful to heal the wounds faster. Initial studies suggest that Pantothenic acid may help in the prevention and treatment of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis. Lower levels of Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 in the blood can lead to arthritis.

One of the crucial health benefits of Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 is that this vitamin helps to reduce triglycerides levels in the blood. It is also helpful in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL and raising the levels of good cholesterol or HDL. Pantothenic acid is good for the patients of diabetes as well. In addition, Pantothenic acid is helpful in the treatment of various liver conditions. It has been used in many diseases and conditions such as asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, cataracts, colitis, convulsions, cystitis and burning foot syndrome. It is also used in the treatment and prevention of  stress and anxiety, dizziness, streptomycin neurotoxicity, insomnia, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, diabetic nerve pain, Parkinson’s disease, PMS and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 is important for the fats production and then convert fats into usable energy. Pantothenic acid helps to change the structure and functions of proteins. Our body sometimes needs these changes of cell proteins. Vitamin B5 helps body in these chemicals reactions and thus regulates the important body functions.

Nutrient – Daily Amount Needed : 

5 mg for adults and 6 – 7 mg for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Children need 2 – 4 mg of pantothenic acid per day.

Fruit Sources: ( Avocado,  Black Currants,  Breadfruit,  Cantaloupe, Cherimoya,  Dates,  Gooseberries,  Grapefruit, Guava, Pomegranate,  Raspberries,  Starfruit,  Watermelon)

Vegetable Sources : (Broccoli,  Brussels Sprouts,  Butternut Squash, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower,  Corn,  French Beans,  Mushrooms, Okra, Parsnip, Potatoes,  Pumpkin,  Spirulina, Spinach, Spaghetti Squash,  Squash – summer,  Squash – winter,  Sweet Potato)

Nut/Grain Sources: (Buckwheat,  Chestnuts,  Oats, Peanut,  Rye, Sunflower Seeds,  Walnut, Wheat – Durum,  Wheat – Hard Red, Wheat – Hard White)

Legume Sources: (Adzuki Beans, Black Eye Peas,  Edamame,  Lima Beans,  Mung Beans,  Soy Beans,  Split Peas)

Benefits of Pantothenic Acid

  • Pantothenic acid is used to treat respiratory disorders and heart problems.
  • It helps prevent early aging and promotes physical growth.
  • It helps lower the symptoms of diabetes, skin disorders, osteoarthritis, etc.
  • It is used to treat asthma and allergies. It helps alleviate the symptoms of asthma and allergy.
  • It works great for hair loss. It also offers smooth and glowing skin.
  • Vitamin B5 helps to strengthen your immune system. It thus lowers the chances of having various types of infections.
  • It also helps lower the symptoms of psychological stress and anxiety. It triggers the production of steroids, neurotransmitter in brain.
  • Pantothenic acid being an antioxidant vitamin, helps prevent various types of diseases and disorders. It ensures good health and it is required for proper functioning of each body part. It helps extract vital nutrients like fat, carbohydrates and proteins from the food ingested.
Pantothenic Acid DeficiencyBurning foot syndrome is one of the significant symptoms of pantothenic acid deficiency. Such vitamin deficiency usually exhibits symptoms like lack of feeling and intense pain in feet. Increased fatigue, insomnia and anemia can be experienced due to vitamin B5 deficiency. The deficiency may lead to vomiting, contraction of muscles and abnormal skin developments. Elderly people, pregnant women, people who follow wrong diet, athletes with increased nutritional requirements, people with chronic illnesses and people leading a stressful life may experience pantothenic acid deficiency.