L-Carnitine and Graves Disease

Many people with Graves’ Disease prefer not to take antithyroid medication to manage the symptoms, and would like to take a natural approach to healing their condition. Symptom management is very important with any hyperthyroid condition, and for those who don’t want to take Methimazole or PTU, there are natural alternatives. L-carnitine has been shown to inhibit thyroid activity, and as a result it is taken by some people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease to help manage the symptoms.

What is L-carnitine? It is a nitrogen-containing compound, and it helps with the process of transporting long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria for oxidation. It is manufactured from lysine and methionine, which are amino acids. Even though L-carnitine is mainly found in the muscle, most of it is produced in the liver. The kidneys also manufacture some L-carnitine. Some food sources of L-carnitine include red meat and dairy products.

What’s The Proper Dosage of L-Carnitine?

The dosage of L-carnitine needed depends on a number of factors. First of all, if someone wants to continue taking antithyroid medication then they will want to take a lower dosage than someone who decides not to take the drugs. The same concept applies to someone who incorporates other natural remedies to help manage their hyperthyroid symptoms. For example, if someone is taking Bugleweed, which is an herb that inhibits thyroid hormone, then they would take a lower dosage of L-carnitine than someone who wasn’t taking this herb.

As for specific dosage information, some sources will recommend for people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease to take up to four grams of L-carnitine on a daily basis. But once again, the dosage will vary depending on whether the person is taking antithyroid medication and/or herbs. If a patient of mine is taking antithyroid medication, or an antithyroid herb such as Bugleweed, then I will recommend a small dosage of L-carnitine to begin with, such as 500 to 1,000mg. If someone is relying on L-carnitine alone to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms, then I will recommend a higher dosage of the supplement.

Taking L-Carnitine With Other Natural Supplements

If someone with hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease chooses not to take any medication, then I typically will recommend a combination of supplements and herbs to manage the symptoms. While I think L-carnitine is a great supplement, the primary natural remedy I recommend for symptom management is Bugleweed. When I was initially diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, Bugleweed was the main herb that helped to manage my hyperthyroid symptoms. To be honest, even though I currently recommend L-carnitine to many of my patients, I personally never took L-carnitine when I followed my natural treatment protocol. The reason was because I wasn’t aware of the benefits of L-carnitine at the time. But as I learned more about this supplement I began recommending it to many of my patients.

Motherwort is another herb that can help with symptom management. This is similar to a natural beta blocker, as taking this herb can help greatly with the cardiac symptoms (high pulse rate, palpitations, etc.). Although Bugleweed helped my hyperthyroid symptoms greatly, I eventually took Motherwort as well since I still had some heart palpitations. Some people also take Lemon Balm, which is another wonderful herb that can help with symptom management.

Is Acetyl L-Carnitine The Best Form To Take?

There is some controversy over the “best” form of L-carnitine to take. Acetyl-L-carnitine can help with numerous conditions. This includes nerve pain, mental disorders, and low testosterone. It also helps with the synthesis of glutathione, which is very important for one’s immune system health, along with detoxification of the liver. Propionyl-L-carnitine is another type that can help with peripheral vascular disease, as well as congestive heart failure. Many of my patients have experienced great results by taking “regular” L-carnitine. Some people mix the different types of L-carnitine together, and I’ve known a few people who claim the combination worked better than taking any individual L-carnitine supplement.

Of course it’s important to keep in mind that L-carnitine isn’t a cure for hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. While it can help to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms, it won’t do anything for the autoimmune component of Graves’ Disease, won’t correct weakened adrenals, mineral deficiencies, heavy metal toxicities, etc. So while it can be a valuable supplement for anyone who is looking to follow a natural treatment protocol, taking it alone won’t restore someone’s health back to normal.

So hopefully you have a better understanding of how L-carnitine can benefit people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. Some people choose to take this with antithyroid medication, others take L-carnitine along with Bugleweed, Motherwort, and other herbs that can help with symptom management. Either way, it’s important to understand that L-carnitine can do a great job of managing the symptoms, but won’t do anything to address the underlying cause of the condition, as other factors need to be incorporated to accomplish this.

Michael Ortiz

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