Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production. It transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria so they can be oxidized (“burned”) to produce energy. It also transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation. Given these key functions, carnitine is concentrated in tissues like skeletal and cardiac muscle that utilize fatty acids as a dietary fuel.
Carnitine has been studied extensively because it is important to energy production and is a well-tolerated and generally safe therapeutic agent. Researchers prefer to use acetyl-L-carnitine in research studies because it is better absorbed from the small intestine than L-carnitine and more efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier (i.e., gets into brain tissue). This reference and more can be found at the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements.
About Ken Hassen
Ken Hassen, Ph.D., is Chief Operating Officer of Sigma-tau HealthScience, Inc., the U.S. division of Sigma-tau. Sigma-tau is best known for their numerous research contributions as the principal investigators into human cell mitochondrial function and is further distinguished as being a developer of orphan drug treatments for rare diseases of inborn metabolism for over 35 years. Additionally, Sigma-tau is generally regarded as being the premier supplier of L-Carnitine products to the nutritional and pharmaceutical industries world-wide.