Do vegans need l-carnitine?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Do vegans need l-carnitine?” and will discuss why l-carnitine is essential for the body?

Do vegans need L-carnitine?

Yes, vegans need l-carnitine. The amount of L-carnitine in your system is determined by what you consume and how much your body makes. Vegetarians and vegans limit or avoid animal products, hence their L-carnitine levels tend to be lower. L-carnitine supplementation may be an option for vegetarians and vegans.

What is L-carnitine?

Carnitine is a fat-burning and cellular toxin-removing substance your body produces on its own. Carnitine levels in your body are kept relatively stable by a balance between production in the liver and kidneys and excretion and reuptake in the kidneys.

Most of the time, your body produces enough carnitine to fulfill your demands, and your kidneys are quite good at preserving any remaining carnitine if the amount drops. A healthy individual seldom has a carnitine deficiency, even with a diet low in carnitine.

For the most part, L-carnitine serves to support mitochondrial activity and energy generation in your body. It aids in the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they may be burnt for energy in the cell. In cells

The vast majority of your body’s L-carnitine reserves are found in your muscles, with smaller quantities found in your liver and blood. Studies have shown that L-carnitine may assist improve mitochondrial activity, which is important for health and aging as well.

Carnitine is not required by healthy vegans

Animal goods, such as meat and dairy, are the finest sources of carnitine, yet vegans who completely eschew these items seldom suffer from carnitine insufficiency. To create carnitine, your liver and kidneys need two amino acids that you get from protein intake: lysine and methionine. According to Oregon State University, additional nutrients are necessary, such as iron and vitamins C, B-3, and B-6. Carnitine shortage is unlikely if your liver and kidneys are healthy and your diet is well-balanced.

Vegans with kidney problems

According to the Office of Dietary Supplementation, vegans with chronic kidney disease, particularly those who are in the last stages of the illness and are on hemodialysis, may need carnitine supplements. In those with renal disease, less carnitine is made and more is eliminated, increasing the risk of a carnitine shortage.

Vegans should be especially concerned about this since a vegan diet contains very little carnitine. Avocado, asparagus, and whole wheat bread all contain small levels of carnitine, but not nearly as much as in animal sources.

Carnitine deficiency may be caused by a variety of factors.

Vitamin C insufficiency may impede carnitine synthesis in the body, which can lead to a shortage among vegans. According to researchers at Oregon State University, tiredness is associated with carnitine deficit and might be an early indicator of vitamin C deficiency. According to a review paper published in the December 2010 edition of “Nutrition in Clinical Practice,” iron insufficiency is a frequent nutritional problem among vegans. 

Carnitine production may be hampered by an iron deficit, increasing the demand for dietary sources of carnitine. According to the National Institutes of Health’s research, vegans may receive enough iron from dried fruits like prunes, apricots, and raisins, as well as legumes, whole grains, and iron-fortified foods like spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. Adding vitamin C-rich foods like strawberries and oranges to your meal will help your body better absorb iron from plants.

Conquering Carnitine’s Deficit

Carnitine supplements are available for vegans who are low in amino acids. A supplement called acetyl-L-carnitine is also known as L-carnitine in the United States. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, acetyl-L-carnitine is more readily absorbed and may pass the blood-brain barrier. The more expensive L-carnitine is, the better value it is.

The recommended daily dosage for these supplements is between one and three grams. Toxic side effects such as diarrhea may occur at doses of more than 5 g. Before beginning a carnitine supplement, talk to your doctor.

Efficacy and Risks

Most individuals may safely use 2 grams or less of caffeine per day without experiencing any negative side effects. There were no side effects reported in research in which participants took 3 grams of the supplement daily for 21 days.

L-carnitine levels of around 2 grams per day were found to be safe in an assessment of the supplement’s long-term safety. Despite this, moderate adverse effects such as nausea and stomach pain were experienced by individuals 

. L-carnitine supplementation, on the other hand, has the potential to enhance your blood levels of the neurotransmitter trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO levels are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries become blocked.

More research is required to determine if L-carnitine supplements are safe to use.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Do vegans need l-carnitine?” and discussed why l-carnitine is essential for the body?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.