Carnitine: Top 3 Anti-Aging Benefits of This Super Nutrient

  • FDA Disclaimer
    The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. Learn More
  • Affliliate Disclosure
    In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site: Many of the links on are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link. Learn More
  • Privacy Policy
    Please read the Privacy Policy carefully before you start to use By using or by clicking to accept or agree to Terms of Use when this option is made available to you, you accept and agree to be bound and abide by the Privacy Policy. Learn More
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Top 3 Anti-Aging Benefits of L-Carnitine

Carnitine was originally identified in animal meat and got its name from the latin word for flesh, “carnus.”  This nutrient is critical for fat metabolism and energy production in the cellular mitochondria.  In this article, you will discover the top 3 anti-aging benefits of L-carnitine.

Carnitine is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys.  It is used in its most concentrated in the heart and skeletal muscles where it plays an important role in energy production and detoxification.   It is also found in the brain and male sperm cells (1, 2).

L-carnitine is the bioactive form and is a derivative of the amino acid L-lysine.  It is a conditionally essential nutrient.  Under normal conditions our bodies produce enough.  However, certain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome & medication usage can reduce production making this an essential dietary nutrient.

anti-aging benefits

Cellular Energy Production:

The mitochondria is the cellular energy powerhouse.  A gradual decline in energy production out of the mitochondria is a hallmark of aging.  This creates a vicious circle where low energy production leads to overall dysfunction and continued lower energy production.

The higher the mitochondria energy output the better physiological health of the individual.   As the mitochondria produce less energy, the energy they do create must be used for bare essential short-term survival processes.  Long term health through optimal tissue repair and detoxification are impaired (3, 4).

L-Carnitine Deficiency Syndrome:

Symptoms of carnitine deficiency include a low exercise tolerance, chronic fatigue, poor exercise endurance, weakness & muscle pain (5).  In our society these symptoms are considered “normal signs of aging.”  In truth, they are signs of abnormal or accelerated aging processes.

Researchers estimate that our ancient ancestors, the Stone Age hunters, probably consumed about 500mg of carnitine daily.  They are thought to have consumed up to around 2 grams a day.  The average individual in our current society takes in about 30-50 mg/day and strict vegetarians consume less than 10mg/daily (6).

Carnitine helps muscle cells drive energy efficiently from fat metabolism.  Up to 70% of the energy produced by muscle cells (including the heart) come from burning fats.  This nutrient acts as the gate-keeper that allows fatty acids to pass into the mitochondrial furnace effectively (7, 8, 9).


Best Food Sources of Carnitine:

Humans can synthesize around 25% of the carnitine production needed for optimal function from the amino acid lysine and other cofactors.  The rest of the carnitine must come from the diet or in the form of supplements (10).  Meat, fish, milk, eggs, raw cheese and other animal products are the best natural sources.  Mutton and lamb are especially high in carnitine.

Mothers milk is extremely high in this nutrient.  This makes great biological sense because newborns are at first incapable of producing it on their own (11).  Plant foods contain very little carnitine.  Avocados and tempeh are the richest plant foods containing about 2mg per serving.


L-Carnitine and Weight Loss:

Carnitine and long chain omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA) synergize and enhance each other’s biological activity.  This combination enhances the bodies ability to burn fat for fuel.  People with weight loss resistance are very poor fat burners and have a metabolism that is stuck in sugar burning mode.

The combination of carnitine and EPA & DHA along with an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle can help switch the metabolism and rev up fat burning abilities.  Grass-fed meat sources of beef, lamb, bison, etc. are tremendous forms of both EPA/DHA and carnitine.

Raw cheese from a grass-fed cow or goat is also a tremendous source of high quality carnitine.  Additionally, these foods are also very high in conjugated linoleic acid.  These elements make grass-fed red meats & cheeses some of the best anti-aging foods that help us burn-fat and build muscle while optimizing mitochondrial energy production.

You can find excellent grass-fed beef and many other amazing animal products through US Wellness Meats.


Best Supplemental Sources:

L-carnitine is the bioactive form and a conditionally essential nutrient.  Under normal conditions our bodies produce enough.  However, certain conditions such as digestive stress, mental/emotional stress & medication usage can reduce production making this an essential dietary nutrient (12, 13).

This is one of the most important nutrients for healthy mitochondria and healthy energy production.  As a clinician, I see so many individuals with lowered mitochondrial function.  This is especially true with older individuals who are struggling with fatigue, mental sluggishness, poor memory, etc.

L-carnitine supplementation is a very common recommendation I make for my clients to boost up fat burning, energy levels and mental performance.  The best form is Acetyl-L-Carnitine, which studies have shown has superior absorption than pure L-carnitine (1415).  I recommend 400-800 mg daily for best results.

My favorite formulation for the L-carnitine is in combination with other mitochondrial enhancing super nutrients such as N-Acetyl Cysteine, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Coenzyme Q10.  My Brain Supercharge formulation is my go to product to boost up mitochondrial function and improve energy, mental clarity and memory.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Pekala J, Patkowska-Sokoła B, Bodkowski R, Jamroz D, Nowakowski P, Lochyński S, Librowski T. L-carnitine–metabolic functions and meaning in humans life. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Sep;12(7):667-78. PMID: 21561431
2. Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Dunn-Lewis C. L-carnitine supplementation: influence upon physiological function. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2008 Jul-Aug;7(4):218-23. PMID: 18607224
3. Zammit VA, Ramsay RR, Bonomini M, Arduini A._Carnitine, mitochondrial function and therapy. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2009 Nov 30;61(14):1353-62. PMID: 19716391
4. Bremer J. Carnitine–metabolism and functions. Physiol Rev. 1983 Oct;63(4):1420-80. PMID: 6361812
5. Pons R, Carrozzo R, Tein I, Walker WF, Addonizio LJ, Rhead W, Miranda AF, Dimauro S, De Vivo DC. Deficient muscle carnitine transport in primary carnitine deficiency. Pediatr Res. 1997 Nov;42(5):583-7. PMID: 9357927
6. Life Extension – Energy, Health and Mental Agility Link Here
7. Bremer J. The role of carnitine_in intracellular metabolism. J Clin Chem Clin Biochem. 1990 May;28(5):297-301. PMID: 2199593
8. Stephens FB, Wall BT, Marimuthu K, Shannon CE, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Macdonald IA, Greenhaff PL. Skeletal muscle carnitine loading increases energy expenditure, modulates fuel metabolism gene networks and prevents body fat accumulation in humans. J Physiol. 2013 Sep 15;591(Pt 18):4655-66. PMID: 23818692
9. Stephens FB, Galloway SD. Carnitine_and fat oxidation. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:13-23. PMID: 23899751
10. Opalka JR, Gellerich FN, Zierz S. Age and sex dependency of carnitine concentration in human serum and skeletal muscle. Clin Chem. 2001 Dec;47(12):2150-3. PMID: 11719481
11. Rovamo LM, Salmenperä L, Arjomaa P, Raivio KO. Carnitine during prolonged breast feeding. Pediatr Res. 1986 Aug;20(8):806-9. PMID: 3737295
12. Borum PR. Carnitine and lipid metabolism. Bol Asoc Med P R. 1991 Mar;83(3):134-5. PMID: 1854383
13. Flanagan JL, Simmons PA, Vehige J, Willcox MD, Garrett Q. Role of carnitine in disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Apr 16;7:30. PMID: 20398344
14. Pharma Change – Activation and Transportation of Fatty Acids to the Mitochondria via the Cartinine Shuttle with Animation. Link Here
15. Micronutrient Information Center Link Here


Was this article helpful?
Dr. Jockers

Dr David Jockers is passionate about seeing people reach their health potential in mind, body and spirit. He is the host of the popular “Dr Jockers Functional Nutrition” podcast and the author of the best-selling books, “The Keto Metabolic Breakthrough” and “The Fasting Transformation.”


Anti-Aging nutrients


Take Control Of Your Health Today!

Subscribe to Dr. Jockers Newsletter & unlock FREE ACCESS to TWO of his MOST POPULAR eBooks instantly!

"Join my tribe today to discover hidden strategies to improve your energy, brain, digestion & metabolism."

Doctor David Jockers DMN, DC, MS
Functional Nutrition & Natural Health Specialist
Dr Jockers




  1. What happens if you need l-carnitine (say you have a beta oxidation fatty acid disorder) but you are a CBS up-regulator? What do you recommend?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.