Q&A with Kevin Owen, Ph.D., Nafta Head of Technical Marketing and Scientific Affairs at Lonza
Q: What is the biochemical role of L-Carnitine?
A: The main function of L-Carnitine is to transport activated long- chain fatty acids from the cytosol of a cell into the mitochondria, where energy generation from fat takes place. Additionally, Lonza has two independent human studies using stable isotopes that show ten days of Carnipure® supplementation can increase fatty acid oxidation. This is measured via ingestion of labeled fatty acids and subsequently their breakdown product, labeled CO2, in the exhalation air.
Q: Has Lonza completed any scientific studies demonstrating the role of L-Carnitine in recovery from exercise?
A: Absolutely, in fact, Lonza supported a series of research studies in the United States to shed light on this new paradigm. Subjects were asked to do some strenuous exercise known to cause oxidative stress. We were looking at markers of purine catabolism, free radical formation and muscle tissue disruption after squat exercise, following three weeks of Carnipure® tartrate supplementation, compared to placebo.
Between 2001 and 2010, nine peer-reviewed scientific articles were published by this group, showing that Carnipure® tartrate supplementation can decrease markers of oxidative stress, not only in healthy males of student age, but also in males and females of the baby boomer generation. The proposed mode of action is via the endothelia: L-Carnitine is supposed to have vasodilatory effects, which make sure that more nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the endothelia, and free radicals are removed quicker. This in turn can lead to improved recovery from exercise stress.
Q: 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Carnipure® L-Carnitine, right?
A: Yes, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Carnipure® L-Carnitine this year. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, which demonstrates that continued scientific support is the foundation for ingredient success.
We’ve put decades of scientific analysis and discovery into Carnipure® L-Carnitine, and backed it with a dedication to technical and sales support. These efforts have helped establish Carnipure® L-Carnitine as a leading sports nutrition and weight-management ingredient across the globe. Simultaneously, as the foundation of science has grown, we’ve helped pioneer and deliver to a market that demands a high-quality, high-purity product in the form of our Carnipure® L-Carnitine.
Thanks to the central role Carnipure® L-Carnitine plays in metabolism, it has a broad array of applications. Combined with its excellent safety profile and full traceability, the Carnipure® ingredient provides easy integration into formulations designed for supporting healthy weight management, exercise and recovery, normal cardiovascular function and infant formulations. These characteristics, along with the Carnipure® Quality Seal, make Carnipure® L-Carnitine attractive for our customers and their consumers alike.
Q: What has the latest research revealed about the role Carnipure® L-Carnitine plays for supporting healthy weight management in sports nutrition?
A: A four-week low-dosage (500 mg/day) L-Carnitine supplementation in combination with motivation training was carried out in 24 overweight (BMI 25.8–26.6 kg/m2) Japanese males in the course of a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study. The L-Carnitine motivated group showed significant body weight loss and a decrement of serum triglyceride level versus the non-motivated placebo group. Serum adiponectin levels increased in both L-Carnitine supplemented groups. The beneficial effects of L-Carnitine were amplified by motivation training.
“A Pilot Clinical Trial on L-Carnitine Supplementation
in Combination with Motivation Training: Effects on Weight Management in Healthy Volunteers”
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add that might relate to weight management ingredients/research and how Carnipure® L-Carnitine works?
A: Carnipure® supplementation can increase beta-oxidation. This in turn results in glucose sparing and decreased breakdown of amino acids for energy production1.
One study evaluated the effectiveness of L-Carnitine supplementation when used in conjunction with a weight management program for obese adolescents. Researchers found that L-Carnitine supplementation at 2 g/day for 12 weeks promoted significant weight loss and a decrease in body mass index (BMI) and body fat content2. A similar study with obese adolescents in Korea found that exercise and Carnipure® supplementation led to significant decreases in weight, BMI and percent body fat, as compared with the exercise only group3.
Another study, which included 100 obese adult volunteers, looked at the impact of L-Carnitine supplementation on body weight and BMI. The L-Carnitine supplement group had a 25% greater loss in body weight and their BMI dropped by 1.5 points. Other metabolic factors, such as low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol), blood sugar and blood pressure, were also lower in the supplemented group4.
1. Owen KQ et al. (2001). J Anim Sci 79(12):3104–3112
2. Sufeng Z et al. (1997). Acta Nutr Sin 19(2):146
3. Sawyer et al. (2010). Med Sci Sports Exerc. 42(5):445
4. Lurz R & Fischer R (1998). Aerztez f Naturheilverf 39(1):12–15
About Dr. Kevin Owen, Head of Technical and Scientific Affairs
Dr. Owen received his Masters degree in Nutrition from Texas A&M University in 1992 and completed his Ph.D. in Nutrition from Kansas State University in 1996. After graduation, Dr. Owen joined Lonza Inc. and currently holds the position of Head of Technical & Scientific Affairs. Since joining Lonza, he has focused on the development of several nutritional ingredients/products with applications in both animal and human nutrition.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2015