Carnitine is an essential nutrient that allows the body to metabolize fats. Carnitine is produced in the kidneys and the liver and is stored in the various organs of the body. The brain, sperm, skeletal muscles and the heart contain traces of carnitine.
Normally, the body is able to synthesisze all the carnitine it requires. However, some people may suffer from carnitine deficiencies. This is because their bodies may not be able to synthesize enough carnitine or may not be able to transport the available carnitine. Other conditions like angina may also cause a deficiency of carnitine in the body.
Carnitine serum may be used as a treatment to several serious conditions. In most of these treatments, the doctors will also recommend you to take some supplements. Carnitine may also be recommended for less serious conditions like fatigue or improvement of performance and endurance.
A carnitine plasma test is used to evaluate many different disorders of the muscle. The human blood serum normally contains L-carnitine. Persons who suffer from acute necrosis in the muscles, diabetes mellitus, and kidney diseases may have abnormal serum creatinine levels.
The L-carnitine is vital for the transportation of fatty acids to the mitochondria where these fatty acids are then oxidized to produce energy. When there are low serum carnitine levels, the free fatty acids are not transported efficiently and are not completely metabolized. There are several cases of myopathy in which carnitine deficiency has been seen. Only a test that presents a significant deviation from the normal ranges of serum carnitine requires a consultation and evaluation by a medical practitioner.
Carnitine deficiency is either a primary or a secondary effect. Metabolic conditions like carnitine uptake deficiency, or the deficiency of the Carnitine Acylcarnitine Transporter may cause primary carnitine deficiency. Disorders like weakness in the muscles, motility changes in the gastrointestinal tract, cardiomyopathy and hypochromic anemia may also cause deficiency of carnitine.
The secondary carnitine deficiency occurs due to metabolic disorders which cause problems in the oxidation of fatty acids. Carnitine depletion is also caused when there is formation of acylcarnitines. Disorders like encephalopathy, hyperammonemia, hepatomegalym, ketoacidosis and hypotonia cause secondary carnitine deficiency.
The test is conducted for people who show symptoms of lethargy, renal dysfunction, myopathy, oxidation of fatty acids, and hypotonia. The test is performed on a carnitine serum or plasma carnitine. The test is often associated with other tests like the organic acids profile, and the acylcarnitine profile of plasma.