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Human body needs a natural substance named as Carnitine, to process fats and produce energy. When your body has less than 10% of the nutrient carnitine, you may suffer from deficiency of Carnitine that can cause muscle weakness and liver/heart problem.

Some foods provide you the nutrient. It plays an important role to produce energy unitizing fats in the cells. Carnitine is necessary for certain cells, like muscle cells. With carnitine deficiency, cells that depend on fatty acids for energy might works poorly. Carnitine deficiency can be observed in men, women, or children of all ages.

There are main two types of carnitine deficiency as follows:

  • Primary carnitine deficiency: It is rarely caused condition due to an abnormal gene. The gene faces a problem with constituent carries carnitine nutrient in the cells from the blood. The condition only results into to low carnitine levels in the muscle. This is known primary muscle carnitine deficiency. In this condition the body unable to use various fats to produce energy, particularly while fasting. When heart and liver are also affected, it is known as systemic carnitine deficiency, which is also called Carnitine uptake defect.
  • Secondary carnitine deficiency: It is mostly a common condition found in the people. In this condition there is no case of problem in transferring nutrient into the cells. But, it lies level of carnitine is less in the blood. It can result from several health problems.

Causes of Carnitine

According to the condition with different reasons, there are some health issues that can cause Carnitine deficiency. These causes are mentioned below:

Mostly the secondary condition can be caused due to health problems, in which level of the nutrient get low. It can be a result of less absorption of the nutrients from the food. There are some other causes as mentioned below:

  • Liver disorder
  • Kidney disease, majorly with dialysis
  • Digestive system problem that leads poor absorption
  • Malnutrition
  • Mitochondrial disorder
  • Certain metabolic diseases
  • Various medicines, such as valproate

Diagnosis of Carnitine

The condition of carnitine deficiency may be diagnosed with a neurologist or geneticist. There are some tests you need to perform as mentioned below:

  • Health history: The diagnosis starts with the personal health history of the patient
  • Physical exam: Physical examination is needed to diagnose the condition
  • Family’s health history: The patient’s family’s medical history also matters to diagnose the condition.  doctor may ask you ask questions about it
  • Neurological exam: This test might be performed to check other abnormalities
  • Blood tests: It is used to check the levels of Carnitine nutrient in the blood
  • Creatine kinase: This test can be performed if needed
  • Urine test: To determine the protein called ketones
  • Exercise tests: Specifically, to identify the type of metabolic problem
  • Genetic test: It is used to confirm primary Carnitine deficiency
  • Heart tests: Mainly echocardiography that can show heart is affected or not

Symptoms of Carnitine

The primary condition shows severe symptoms than the secondary condition. Children show symptoms early in primary condition.

Symptoms can differ from person to person. Depending on the severity of the condition.  Symptoms can be as mentioned below:

  • Floppy muscle tone or muscle weakness
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Irritability
  • Delayed movement (motor) development
  • Poor feeding in a baby
  • Symptoms of low blood sugar if the liver is affected
  • Swelling or shortness of breath

Treatment of Carnitine

Carnitine deficiency can be treated with effective medication Carnitor, which has been manufacturing by the leading pharmaceutical company Leadiant Pharmaceuticals. Levocarnitine is the active component used in this medicine. It is a diet supplement drug that treats carnitine deficiency, also prevents and treats low blood levels of carnitine.