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Amino acids bound together make up peptide chains, which make up proteins. While we don’t need massive amounts of protein to thrive, we do need a regular supply of amino acids to survive. Some seem more important than others.
One of the more important amino acids for the body is carnitine, which is found in all proteins but higher in meats, dairy, and avocados.
Carnitine has many functions in the body, but none more important than its impact on the function of the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses found in every cell, which are responsible for the energy of the cell and the overall production of energy in our bodies.
The mitochondria burn fat to make most of the body’s energy, so when they become non-functional as we age, so does our ability to burn fat well.
We all want to become good fat burners as fat is the body’s non-emergency, de-stress, detox, sleep through the night, make energy last all day, and lose weight fuel.
Carnitine is particularly important for maintaining the fat-burning energy supply for the muscles of the body, most importantly the heart. Folks who have low carnitine levels don’t only have weak, tired, flabby muscles, they may also be at higher risk for heart issues (1).
Studies show that as we age, carnitine levels decline in all the body’s tissues, which undermines the process of healthy, graceful aging (2).
One of the reasons for this decline is not just a lack of protein in the diet, but an inability to break the proteins down into their more medicinal amino acid components.
Another way to boost carnitine levels in the body is to boost digestive strength.
Proteins are primarily broken down into amino acids in the stomach by adequate levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl), which activates a digestive enzyme called pepsin, which is responsible for breaking down proteins.
Having a strong digestive fire in the stomach may be the key to delivering amino acids like carnitine and others to the body. Studies show that aging individuals have 20% less carnitine than they did in youth, and low carnitine levels are directly linked to accelerated aging (2).
1. Kobayasahi A. L-carnitine tx for congestive heart failure. Jpn Circ J. 1992 Jan. 2. Tanaka Y. Acetyl-L-carnitine restores decreased tissue levels. J Lipid Res. 2004 April.