L-carnitine provides five different facets of nutrition for five different stages in life. It plays a crucial role in cardiovascular metabolism, exercise performance, weight management, infant nutrition and brain wellness.

In August 2002, following an independent evaluation by an expert panel, Lonza Group (Basel, Switzerland) obtained GRAS status for its L-Carnipure brand of L-carnitine crystalline and L-carnitine L-tartrate. Lonza guarantees pure L-carnitine that is free of D-carnitine, the sale of which is banned in the U.S.

L-carnitine functions primarily as a fat burner and energy booster. It is a key component in the process of beta-oxidation and fat metabolism. By this pathway, L-carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids, which are significant components to eye, brain and heart health, from the cytosol to the mitochondria. This is important, since fatty acids cannot penetrate the mitochondria wall without L-carnitine.

L-carnitine is both made in the body and ingested through dietary sources. Vegetarians and infants have a significantly reduced dietary intake of L-carnitine. Breast milk contains L-carnitine, but infant formulas generally do not.

Athletes desire L-carnitine, as it reduces lactic acid accumulation, delaying the onset of fatigue. It helps in weight management by enhancing the rate at which fatty acids are broken down, increasing the resting metabolic rate, promoting protein synthesis and possibly by inducing appetite suppression, note company officials.

Lonza also provides Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), the acetyl derivative of L-carnitine, which is found throughout the central nervous system. It acts as a source of acetyl groups in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Since ALC is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, it has found a suitable niche as "brain food," and has been implicated as a restorative agent against aging processes or neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease patients.

These characteristics, along with its hygroscopic nature, make Lonza's L-Carnitine USP Free Base a suitable ingredient for liquid formulations like syrups, sport drinks, infant formulas, whey drinks and ampoules. "In most liquid formulations, you could use the L-Carnitine Base, but L-Carnipure L-Tartrate works well also," says Tom McMahon, North American nutrition sales manager at Lonza.

L-Carnipure L-Tartrate even may be preferred for some applications. It is free-flowing, odorless and--though about 10 times more water-soluble than other L-carnitine salts--has a reduced rate of moisture absorption that reduces swelling and breaking of capsules and tablets and avoids machine clogging during manufacturing. It contains 68% L-carnitine and 32% tartaric acid, says McMahon. In foods, "Tartaric acid helps enhance the flavor of the product by adding a fruity and pleasant taste to it," he notes. Such characteristics contribute to its popularity in protein bars and other solid food products and supplements. NS


For more information:

Lonza Inc., Thomas McMahon, 201-794-2640 thomas.mcmahon@lonza.com, www.carnitine.com