Published: 01/27/2009 - Updated: 08/13/2019
A large part of those who practice sport, do it to help the body to lose or maintain body weight. Although obvious, it is important to mention that the key factor in weight control is, in addition to the physical used, following a calorie diet adjusted to the energy needs of the organism, i.e., no use to play sports to lose weight if the person consumes twice the energy needs.
Thus, once clarified that the basis for the weight control is a lean diet and practice of physical exercise, it is noteworthy that there are natural substances that promote the use of fats as an energy source by the body, such substances are known as lipotropic factors or "fat-burners".
Among the various factors of lipotropic we highlight its effectiveness, the L-carnitine, inositol, choline and methionine.
Carnitine, also known as Vitamin Bt, was discovered in 1905 as an essential component of meat extract, which gives rise to its name. The L-carnitine is now regarded as a nutrient similar to a vitamin and is internationally classified along with 13 vitamins.
Sources of carnitine are confined mostly in foods of animal origin, particularly meat. Accordingly, a vegetarian diet is low in carnitine. Moreover, such a diet is low in lysine and methionine which are two amino acids necessary for the manufacture of carnitine in the body.
Carnitine acts as substance receipt and storage of fatty acids. Thus, L-Carnitine plays a crucial role in the breakdown of fat for energy.
The mitochondria are the sites where the cell produces energy. Fatty acids, by themselves, are not able to cross the wall of the mitochondria, but to do so, the participation of L-carnitine.
While normally, the diet provides sufficient amount of L-carnitine, have been described certain physiological situations in which the contribution of carnitine to the diet is inadequate. In cases such as those listed below, it is recommended to make an extra contribution of L-carnitine by supplementing the diet.
- Children: Because in the early stages of development, manufacturing capacity is not fully developed.
- Vegetarian diets: The amount of L-carnitine which is taken is low,
- Aging: There is a deficiency due to a decline in production by the body and reduced food intake.
Weight control programs
Mechanisms that explain how carnitine promotes weight loss are:
A) Carnitine helps convert fatty acids into energy.
B) Supports the burning of fat in the liver and muscle systems.
C) Reduces the fall in blood sugar and the feeling of hunger.
D) Increases the strength and stamina while they are under a diet and reduces the phases of weakness that can lead to abandonment of the scheme.
E) Promotes protein synthesis.
F) Reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver during the weight loss.
G) Prevents hunger during the regime of very strict conditions.
Other lipotropic factors: choline, inositol and methionine
The inositol and choline are substances which are among the main components of the phospholipids. Its role is to serve as transporters of fatty acids.
The choline interacts with inositol to encourage the use of fats and cholesterol and to prevent their accumulation inside the cells of the body.
In addition, choline is combined in the liver, fatty acids and phosphorus to form lecithin.
For its part, the inositol is another member of the B vitamin complex and a lipotropic factor. Combined with choline and fatty acids to form lecithin and helps metabolize fats and cholesterol.