Reader Comments

L-Arginine versus L-Carnitine – Comparing these Amino Acids

by dong ha (2018-04-23)


Both L-arginine and L-carnitine are important amino acids in the body. These two are being synthesized in separate parts of the body and can be found in a lot of different foods. They are both available in supplement forms also which can be used in several health functions. Although they are generally safe to use, large doses can cause side effects that’s why you need to consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements. Let us then take a look at more facts to the battle we call “L-arginine versus L-carnitine.

Synthesis and Food Sources

L-Arginine versus L-Carnitine


Arginine is being synthesized in the small intestines. It helps in the detoxification of liver, helps in the removal of excess ammonia from the body and supports the immune system. Foods sources of arginine are chocolate, gelatin, meat, carrot, dairy, peanuts, walnuts, soybeans, white flour, wheat, oats, wheat and wheat germ.

Carnitine, on the other hand, is important in the metabolism of both fats and energy. Food sources of carnitine are dairy, meat, avocado and beans. It is also naturally produced by the body in the liver and kidneys.

L-Arginine on Cardiovascular Health

Arginine, as noted by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), acts as a vasodilator as it relaxes the smooth muscle cells and widens the blood vessels thus preventing high blood pressure. Because of its vasodilating properties, taking arginine supplements on a short term basis can help treat coronary and peripheral artery disease but additional research is yet to be done. The Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch cited that arginine can also help treat angina.

L-Carnitine on Cardiovascular Health

According to some researches, carnitine can help reduce high cholesterol levels and at the same time prevent chronic pulmonary disorder. Meanwhile, the University of Maryland, Medical Center (UMMC) conducted several clinical studies and found out that carnitine helps ease or prevent pain which is caused by angina. Angina is the condition in which the heart is not able to get enough blood and lead to chronic chest pain. Although the evidence for this treatment is not fully supported, there are few small studies that showed that carnitine can help in improving muscle strength and help also in readjusting abnormal heart rhythms after a heart attack.

Other Uses of Arginine Supplements

It promotes muscle gain and fat loss and it is used to treat atherosclerosis. It also increases the production of human growth hormone and enhances athletic performance. It treats erectile dysfunction (but there are better decisions for it), arthritis and fatigue. It helps in wound healing, collagen formation and in the repair of damaged tissues.

Other Uses of Carnitine Supplements

Carnitine is useful in cancer prevention, muscle wasting related to HIV and AIDS. It reduces chemotherapy side effects. It is also used in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, erectile dysfunction and infertility. It enhances strength and stamina, increases exercise performance and helps reduce weight. Due to its neuroprotective properties, it can also help protect and slow down the progression of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

These are facts that separate L-arginine and L-carnitine from each other. The two amino acids, though found to be essential for several medical cases, need proper dosage and administration.