L-carnitina

iStock_Atanas Bezov_000009737948_Small

La L-carnitina es un aminoácido indispensable para mejorar el suministro de energía en nuestro organismo, y conservar una salud óptima.

La L-carnitina o levocarnitina juega un papel muy importante en la producción de energía en nuestro cuerpo. En los humanos, ésta se sintetiza en el hígado, en los riñones y en el cerebro para ser transportada a otras áreas del cuerpo.

Normalmente, el organismo produce suficiente carnitina para cubrir las necesidades de cada individuo. Sin embargo, debido a factores médicos o genéticos, algunas personas no producen la cantidad adecuada y es necesario tomar suplementos de este nutriente esencial.

Las mejores fuentes de carnitina son de origen animal como carnes rojas, pescado, aves de corral y derivados lácteos, pero los espárragos y el aguacate o palta también son alimentos que aportan este nutriente. Cuanto más intenso sea el color de la carne roja, el contenido de este nutriente es mayor.

La carnitina se presenta en dos formas: levocarnitina o l-carnitina que no debe ser confundida con la D,L-carnitina (etiquetada como vitamina BT), la cual no ayuda a tratar las deficiencias de carnitina en el cuerpo e incluso interfiere con la falta de levocarnitina.

Gran cantidad de la carnitina en nuestro organismo se sintetiza a partir de lisina (un aminoácido) con ayuda de la metionina, otro aminoácido esencial, tres vitaminas (C, B3 y B6) y el hierro. La deficiencia de cualquiera de dichos nutrientes puede ocasionar una carencia de carnitina, la cual puede causar debilidad muscular, cansancio y problemas en el hígado y en el corazón.

La levocarnitina se usa para prevenir y tratar la deficiencia de carnitina en las personas con problemas del riñón y en diálisis renal. Se puede administrar por vía oral o inyectada.

La puedes encontrar en diferentes presentaciones: cápsulas, tabletas, polvo, solución líquida o solución inyectable. En forma de suplemento, la levocarnitina puede tomarse con o después de los alimentos. Si la ingieres líquida, bébela despacio para evitar molestias estomacales. En presentación líquida, puedes tomarla sola o disuelta en alguna bebida. Si tomas más de una dosis al día, tómalas espaciadas, al menos con una diferencia de 3 a 4 horas.

¿Qué dice la ciencia?

Varias estudios sugieren que puede ser útil para reducir los síntomas de la angina de pecho crónica aunque quizá no ofrezca beneficios adicionales una vez que el paciente se encuentra en tratamientos convencionales. Es necesario realizar más estudios al respecto.

Como es común que los pacientes con cáncer tengan mala nutrición y fatiga, derivada de las quimioterapias y las radiaciones, podrían tener bajos niveles de carnitina y en ese caso podrían beneficiarse de suplementos de carnitina para restablecer los niveles adecuados de esta sustancia en la sangre para aminorar la fatiga.

En relación a la infertilidad masculina, la cantidad de carnitina en el líquido seminal se ha relacionado con la cantidad y la movilidad de los espermas. Algunos estudios han indicado que los suplementos de este nutriente podrían mejorar la calidad de los espermas. Sin embargo se requieren más estudios que fundamenten su potencial en las terapias de infertilidad.

En este momento no existe evidencia científica que apoye el uso de la carnitina para mejorar el desempeño o rendimiento físico en los atletas, a pesar de que algunos lo usan con este objeto.

A pesar de la promoción de la levocarnitina para la pérdida de peso, tampoco hay evidencia de que ayude para bajar de peso. Y su evidencia para otras condiciones como para los pacientes en tratamiento de diálisis peritoneal o en hemodiálisis, con diabetes para aumentar la sensibilidad a la insulina o para mejorar la neuropatía diabética, en personas con demencia, en personas que padecen de depresión, con problemas de la memoria o con hipertiroidismo, por mencionar algunas, en este momento son insuficientes y se requieren estudios adicionales antes de poder determinar si realmente la carnitina ofrece beneficios y/o para recomendar su uso.

Precauciones e interacciones

Entre los efectos secundarios de la carnitina se encuentran: acidez gástrica, reflujo gastroesofágico (agruras), vómito, malestar estomacal, diarrea, dolor abdominal, cambio de olor corporal (a pescado), insomnio y/o depresión.

No se recomienda tomar durante el embarazo y la lactancia debido a que no se tienen suficientes estudios para determinar si es segura en estos periodos.

Si padeces o has padecido epilepsia o alguna enfermedad convulsiva, ten cuidado con la levocarnitina, pues podrían aumentar las convulsiones o hacerse más severas.

No se recomienda la carnitina para las personas que padezcan presión arterial alta, diabetes o que tengan daño en el hígado. Y la administración de dosis elevadas de levocarnitina por periodos prolongados en las personas con problemas renales (en el riñón) pueden empeorarlos.

Existe el riesgo de que la levocarnitina favorezca la aterosclerosis (endurecimiento o la obstrucción de las arterias).

En cuanto a interacciones con medicamentos, no se recomienda tomar carnitina si estás tomando Warfarina (un anticoagulante).

La carnitina podría hacer el tratamiento para el hipotiroidismo menos efectivo (ya que evita que la hormona tiroidea entre a la célula); podría aumentar el riesgo de convulsiones en las personas que toman ácido valpróico para el tratamiento de sus convulsiones

La carnitina interactúa con la coenzima Q-10, el ácido pantoténico y con la colina, cuyo consumo reduce la excreción de carnitina por la orina y aumenta la concentración intracelular de la misma.

Idealmente, antes de tomar carnitina o cualquier suplemento habla con tu médico. Al tomar cualquier producto, aunque se vendan sin receta, pueden tener efectos secundarios y pueden tener interacciones con otros medicamentos, suplementos, vitaminas o hierbas que tomes. Y ya la tomas, déjale saber, es muy importante.

 

Imagen © iStock / Atanas Bezov

Déjanos tu Comentario

12 Comentarios

  1. mohamed
    Publicado 28 mayo, 2014 en 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Hola, queria hacer un a pregunta ya que enpeze a tomar la L-carnitina y presento u brote cutaneo (pequeños granos por casi todo el cuerpo), mi pregunta es la siguiente, es posible seguir tomandolo sin sufrir los efectos secundarios?

  2. *Maria Elena
    Publicado 22 marzo, 2015 en 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Hola llevo un mes tomando l-carnitine y he notado que mi perido mestrual esta atrasado ya tengo 10 di@s. Me realice una prueba y salio negativa… Es posible que el que no baje es por l-carnitine?.

  3. ana jaqueline
    Publicado 24 marzo, 2015 en 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Tengo arritmia puedo tomarla??

  4. vivían Machado cruz
    Publicado 20 mayo, 2015 en 8:54 am | Permalink

    Mi hijo de 4 años y 5 meses fue diagnosticado con desorden metabólico de carnitina durante el nacimiento y hasta que se lo descubrieron no se le noto nada ahora se le esta administrando el carnitor de 100 a 4.5 dos veces al día estoy muy preocupada que puedo esperar ante este diagnostico supuestamente es genético por favor ayudenme el estará en peligro

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