Carnitine Deficiency: Symptoms And Causes of Low Carnitine Levels

Carnitine Deficiency Syndrome

Carnitine deficiency is a condition which is characterized by low levels of amino acid carnitine, which is essential for metabolism of fatty acids by the body cells. Carnitine deficiency may occur due to genetic mutation or can be acquired. Acquired carnitine deficiency is more commonly observed and can be effectively treated by consuming a normal balanced diet, which provides adequate amounts of carnitine essential for the body.

In patients with low levels of carnitine, the movement of fatty acids into the mitochondria is hampered, which in turn prevents oxidation of these fatty acids to generate energy.

In addition, carnitine is essential for transport of toxic waste from the mitochondria, into the blood, which is also hampered in case of carnitine deficiency.

Carnitine Deficiency Symptoms

The symptoms of low carnitine levels are primarily attributed to the inability of the body to metabolism fatty acids. The symptoms include,

  1. Obesity, lethargy and tiredness
  2. Fat intolerance which is associated with gastro-intestinal disturbances including diarrhea and vomiting
  3. Abdominal cramps and muscle pain are also commonly observed
  4. Hypertrophy or enlargement of the heart muscles is observed in children, especially in cases of primary carnitine deficiency

Low Carnitine Levels Treatment

Dietary corrections can largely rectify the problems associated with carnitine deficiency.

Increase consumptions of foods namely meat, fish, eggs, wheat, legumes, nuts, vegetables, oatmeal, corn, millet, rice bran, etc in the diet can help in alleviating the symptoms associated with carnitine deficiency.

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