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Foods Containing L Carnitine

Posted Nov 12 2010 1:28am
L- carnitine is an amino acid that is synthesized within the body and absorbed from certain foods. It is known to be beneficial to the body in many ways, from increasing exercise endurance, to slowing the mental decline associated with Alzheimer's. One of the primary functions of carnitine is the metabolism of fats. A report from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee explains that L-carnitine increases the body's energy supply by burning triglycerides for fuel. This helps the body burn fat and increase stamina. The Linus Pauling Institute states that even though L-carnitine is available from supplements as well as food, it is the L-carnitine from food sources that is better used and absorbed by the body. There are a variety food sources that contain high amounts of L-carnitine. While there is no recommended dietary allowance for L-carnitine, the Life Extension Foundation reports that doses of 2 to 4 grams per day were found to be safe, and even reversed heart damage that had been caused by a heart attack.

Meats contain a substantial amount of L-carnitine, with beef and pork containing the highest amounts. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that 3 oz beef contains between 80 and 81 mg of L-carnitine, while a 3 oz serving of pork contains between 20 and 24 mg. Fish and chicken do not compare as well, with fish containing only 5 mg in a 3 oz portion, and chicken containing 3 mg in a 3 oz portion.


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Dairy products are also listed as a source of L-carnitine, but the amounts they contain are not even close to that of meat products. One cup of whole milk contains 8 mg, 1/2 cup of ice cream contains 3 mg, and 1 oz of cheese holds 1 mg.


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Other Sources
The University of Maryland Medical Center lists other food sources of L-carnitine, although these sources contain small amounts. The sources are peanut butter, avocado, asparagus and wheat products. While they are low in L-carnitine content, they do add some to the diet, along with other vital vitamins and nutrients as well. An article published April 22, 2009, by the National Health Association, titled "Vegans and Carnitine," also lists nuts, beans and seeds as being viable sources.

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