Carnitine is an ammonium compound and a non-proteinogenic amino acid– that is, an amino acid not used to form proteins. It is an important component of the energy metabolism in most mammals, plants, and some bacteria.
Carnitine was first isolated from meat, hence its name. It is a natural compound found in our bodies, and we also ingest a small amount through animal-based foods. Still, some people decide to take additional supplements, as they could bring several potential health benefits. Read on to learn all about them.
What Is Propionyl-L-Carnitine?
Propionyl-L-carnitine, also known as glycine-propionyl-L-carnitine, consists of joined carnitine and propionic acid molecules, with an additional glycine component. L-carnitine plays a vital role in fatty acid transport into the cells, where they are processed for energy. Propionic acid acts as a carrier; it helps deliver carnitine molecules to the blood vessels and other parts of the circulatory system. That way, all tissues have access to fatty acids and can fulfill their metabolism requirements.
Propionyl vs. Other Forms of Carnitine
Carnitine can be bound to several different carriers, affecting where it will be delivered in the body and how it benefits our health.
Other forms of carnitine include:
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) – Used for cognitive enhancement and slowing down cognitive decline in aging adults.
- L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT) – Great for improving physical performance and power output, and assisting recovery after intensive exercise.
- L-Carnitine – It plays a vital role in energy metabolism which is why it has an excellent weight loss potential.
Many people use carnitine in supplement form for leg pain, as a recovery aid, blood flow, chest pain, low testosterone levels in older adults, erectile dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions.
Depending on the carrier molecule, carnitine can have different health benefits. For example, propionyl-L-carnitine benefits mainly stem from improvements to blood flow.
It reduces symptoms and improves exercise potential in people with intermittent claudication. This condition is caused by low blood flow, and it often results in leg pain or numbness.
Glycine-propionyl-L-carnitine reduces lipid peroxidation, which can seriously damage cell membranes. In addition to preventing oxidative stress, it also elevates nitric oxide levels. This molecule is vital for blood flow, and it has been linked with exercise performance, especially in people with moderate training regimens.
GPLC supplements could improve anaerobic endurance, enhance peak power production, and prevent lactate build-up. It could also help enhance anaerobic work capacity, resulting in improved sports performance.
Propionyl-L-carnitine could also be used to supplement sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The research showed that using these supplements could improve the efficacy of the treatment, which makes sense since propionyl-L-carnitine affects blood flow.
The most common dosage used in studies examining propionyl-L-carnitine varies between 500-2000 mg per day. It’s usually split into 2-3 doses and taken in even intervals.
However, going a little above this level probably won’t have any adverse effects, and some people recommend taking up to 4 grams per day. However, going over this dosage probably has no benefit, as your body will simply use excess carnitine to build proteins, but it could lead to certain side effects.
Propionyl-L-Carnitine Side Effects
Studies examining the safety of L-carnitine supplements showed no adverse effects with doses of 3 g per day over three weeks. Overall, it is a safe supplement with very few side effects.
However, the National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that these doses could cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and odd body odor. This fishy smell results from our bodies producing more trimethylamines, but it is a rare side effect.
Higher doses could cause indigestion due to the increased amount of propionic acid. However, if you stick to the recommended daily dose of 2 grams or less, you should have no problems.
Propionyl-L-Carnitine for ED
Erectile dysfunction is often caused by blood flow issues, and propionyl-L-carnitine could help with that. Studies show that these types of nutraceutical supplements have a real potential to help with ED and improve erections.
One study even concluded that carnitine had a bigger potential to aid ED than testosterone, but more similar findings are needed to draw definite conclusions.
In addition, acetyl-L-carnitine has the potential to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with hepatic encephalopathy. With improved mood, energy levels, and overall well-being, this supplement can indirectly aid erectile dysfunction issues.
If you are looking to buy propionyl-L-carnitine, our reviews should help you find the best supplements. Read on to see our selection.
Best Propionyl-L-Carnitine Capsules
Propionyl-L-carnitine capsules by Biovy promote blood circulation and support athletic performance. There are 120 capsules in each container, which translates to 60 servings.
Each serving contains 1000 mg of propionyl-L-carnitine (500 mg per capsule). So, you can easily take two servings per day without having to worry about the side effects.
The formulation features only natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, preservatives, gluten, or dairy.
Best Glycine-Propionyl-L-Carnitine Capsules
The glycine-propionyl-L-carnitine formulation by Swanson is relatively new on the market, but the brand has a long history of creating excellent supplements. Each container comes with 60 veggie capsules with 515 mg of propionyl-L-carnitine and 150 mg of glycine per capsule.
The company recommends taking 1-2 capsules per day on an empty stomach and avoiding it before bedtime. However, you can go a little higher and still stay within the 2000 mg per day recommendation.
Best L-Carnitine Powder
Since there isn’t a quality propionyl-L-carnitine powder on the market, this L-carnitine powder is a great alternative that can provide significant benefits, especially for weight loss. L-carnitine powder by BulkSupplements comes in four different pack sizes: 3.52 oz, 8.81 oz, 1.1 lbs, and 2.2 lbs.
You can mix 1/5 tbsp of powder with water, juice, or other beverage of your choice. It contains around 500 mg of L-carnitine, and you can take it up to four times per day.
Best Multi-Carnitine Stack
If you are looking to reap the benefits of each L-carnitine, this supplement by Beverly International could be a good choice. The unique formulation of Quadracarn features 750 mg of acetyl L-carnitine, 450 mg of L-carnitine, 300 mg of L-carnitine L-tartrate, 15 mg of propionyl-L-carnitine, and 250 mg of Gymnema leaf extract per serving.
Each container holds 120 capsules, which translates to 40 servings. Although this formulation has a low dose of propionyl-L-carnitine, Quadracarn contains other forms of L-carnitine, which could enhance potency.
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