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    Archive for the ‘L-Carnitine’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: L-Carnitine

    reflex_l_carnitine_120capsI have a dental practice, and one of my patients is a competitive bodybuilder.

    The other day he and I were talking about weight loss and he told me to buy L-Carnitine.  He said that if I took some an hour before working out, I would lose more fat more quickly.

    Have you heard this before?

    — Laura (last name withheld)
    Annapolis, MD

    I have heard indeed heard this myth before.  More times than I’d like to admit, to be frank.

    L-Carnitine is an amino acid  involved in fat metabolism (meaning it helps break down fats so they can later be used for energy by the body).

    It is not essential (we do not need to get it from food) since we  make carnitine from other amino acids in our diets that are essential.

    Manufacturers of ergogenic aids are quick to point out that L-carnitine helps speed up fat loss while providing more energy and helping increase lean muscle mass.  In other words, it’s yet another “miracle pill.”

    Alas, studies relating to sports nutrition have found no benefit from L-carnitine supplementation. 

    What many people forget is that they already consume a fair share of this amino acid from food if they eat  meat and dairy products.

    Remember, since carnitine is not essential, you do not need to get it from the diet.  A diet that does not include meat and dairy does not make one “carnitine deficient.”

    As with many other supplements, I say:  keep your money safe in your wallet.

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    In The News: What’s Next? Genetically Modified Bananas With Extra Potassium?

    Desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures.

    Currently experiencing a lull in revenue, coffee giant Starbucks jumps on the energy drink bandwagon 5 years after everyone else.

    That’s right — you can now amp any Starbucks beverage — hot or iced — by simply saying “plus energy” at the end of your order (dare you to order a “grande sugarfree vanilla decaf carameal macchiatto with breve plus energy” without stopping to take a breath!).

    The “plus energy” concoction — created by Starbucks’ “research and development team, a group of culinary experts, food scientists and product designers” — includes the usual suspects: ginseng, guarana, taurine, L-carnitine, and B vitamins.

    FYI: Guarana is a berry native to South America containing four times as much caffeine as coffee beans. It’s extremely popular in Brazil, where it is mainly consumed as a soda, in both regular and diet varieties.

    Is all this really necessary in a coffee-based drink? I vote “no.”

    Why are “energy mixes” billed as the only solution for a drop in energy levels? Is healthy eating and getting enough shut eye not “cool” enough?

    And why are we increasingly encouraging people to walk around like the Energizer bunny on crack?

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