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I'm going to add my general supplement response - for most people (eg, those not deficient in carnitine to begin with) are not going to see any genuine improvement from this, as your body takes care of providing what you need. That being said, vegans are more likely to be deficient than the general populace.

I did look at the page, & it did specify L-carnitine, which is important, as it's isomer can be toxic.

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  • 1 year later...
Carnitine is biosynthesized within the body from the amino acids lysine or methionine primarily in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential to the synthesis of carnitine. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-Carnitine


Here's a little information about taurine, although not the best: http://www.anyvitamins.com/taurine-info.htm


I think there's only one reason to supplement with taurine - if you are not getting enough methionine. Since methionine is lacking in many plant foods, you could be lacking methionine (a building block for taurine) in your diet, leading to a taurine deficiency. - FROM: viewtopic.php?t=8871


Concluding from the above two statements, it seems possible that Carnitine may also be lacking in the vegan diet...?

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I take carnitine (L-form only) during my cutting cycle. I take it early in the morning on an empty stomach, about 1/2 hour before eating breakfast. I tried to take it at night before I went to bed, but it kept me up for 2 hours! It helps me get the fat off between the muscles (brown fat) and give me a little extra energy boost. I take it for about 3 months: thus I don't cycle it.


I supplement because my diet is very limited and food is cut way back, but my workouts stay the same.

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Here is a summary of a two day conference on Carnitine. Really, an entire two days spent on this amino acid. Of interest is the statement that supplementation of 3,000+ mg per day can produce a "fishy odor." I don't know if any vegans were included in the studies.


From Dr. Pasquale's "Amino Acids and Proteins for the Athlete," there is mention of lower levels of carnitine in vegans/vegetarians. Supplementing with lysine and/or methionine (and the necessary vitamins for synthesis: vit C, vit B6, niacin, iron) can increase levels somewhat.


I'm not sure how much carnitine supplementation is the "right" dose for vegans. Some people take it along with choline.


Thanks for bringing this thread from the past. I'm going to look into this further, especially since I'm going to finally get serious about cutting this month.

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DV, are there any other amino acids that vegans may be lacking, either essential or non-essential...?


The ones i know of are Taurine, Carnitine, and Methionine which is currently my lowest, but that will change when I switch from Gemma to Spirulina, which then my lowest will be Cystine at under 2 grams. The rest will all be above 2 grams a day.


Except for Hydroxyproline, any info on this guy?... I Wiki'd him but not alot of info regarding the importance?

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Troy, I just finished a big project and have a bit more time to delve into this again. I may try to compile a list of which amino acids are relatively lacking in a vegan diet and the importance of those aa's. DiPasquale's book has the most information I've come across so far, so I'll start there.


I haven't come across a comprehensive list of the need for non-essential amino acids although we've all seen the list for essential. I would assume that the list for essential amino acids is not correct for vegans IF the list is based on someone eating the non-essential amino acids from an omni diet.


There are so many variables to consider that I'm not sure we can quickly find an answer to all the questions I know we have. If you come across some good sources for me to investigate, please let me know.


I think that in time we could narrow down which amino acids are needed in which ratios, allowing us to eat less overall protein. Without that information, I think many of us eat a lot of protein, knowing that we cannot utilize all the amino acids, in the hope that we at least get the minimum of those aa's important for muscle growth.

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I did a search for vegan carnitine and found this article. It appears that Solgar may have a vegan source but I'm not sure of other companies. The cited studies don't show any gains from carnitine supplementation (unlike creatine) but none are very recent. Here is the excerpt on carnitine:




Carnitine (also known as L-carnitine and acetyl-L- carnitine) is an amino acid that is made in the liver and kidneys. It is also found in meat and dairy products,25 but there is very little found in plant foods. Carnitine is needed for the burning of most fats. Thus, carnitine supplements are promoted by supplement companies for weight loss. However, evidence shows that most people (among the non-vegetarian population) who take the supplements do not lose weight.26 Effects of carnitine supplementation on weightlifting or bodybuilding have not been studied.


Carnitine levels tend to be lower in people eating lower fat, higher carbohydrate diets.27 When intake of carnitine is low, less carnitine is excreted. Vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians have lower blood levels of carnitine.21,27,28,29 Researchers in one study did not think the lower carnitine levels of vegetarians were unhealthy.27 It is not known if the lower levels have any bearing on athletic performance.


Non-vegetarians typically eat 100-300 mg of carnitine per day.30 It would appear safe, therefore, for vegans to take 100-300 mg/day if they choose to do so. In one study, supplementing with 120 mg/day for two months did not significantly increase plasma carnitine levels in 11 vegans, while urinary carnitine excretion did increase.31 This implies that the subjects were urinating most of the extra carnitine out, though it is possible that they were utilizing some of it.


There are side effects to large amounts of carnitine. In one study, 2,000 mg of carnitine, twice daily, was associated with nausea and diarrhea in 5 of 18 people.26


Please note that Solgar's carnitine supplement is made through yeast fermentation of beet sugar.32

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From what I've read, the source is not animal-derived. Country Life does not identify their vegan products so they are mixed in with the vegetarian products, unless they've changed. That one appears to be vegan.


This is interesting information from the University of Maryland Medical Center. It's from 2002, so there may have been studies done since then, however it would appear that as of 2004 no good studies had been done. I have found nothing in Medline to support weight loss claims. Most current studies that I saw involved subjects with mitochondrial myopathies or AIDS or other disease. I have come across study results (but not the actual study to review for validity) involving centurians, which showed muscle gain and fat loss. Those over age 70 don't produce as much carnitine, hence the reasoning behind testing centurians.


Here is an interesting review of studies and claims on the ChaseFreedom site. I'm not sure when it was written. I'm not a big fan of the website but the author of the review has good credentials.


I've found no studies involving vegetarians or vegans (which doesn't mean they aren't out there). Overall, I think this is a supplement that's worth trying as the negative side effects seem zero to minimal in suggested doses and vegans may see a benefit if their levels are not optimal.

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