When I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, my endocrinologist recommended antithyroid medication in the form of Methimazole. I chose not to take the medication, and as a result needed to take something natural to help manage my hyperthyroid symptoms. I personally took Bugleweed, which did a wonderful job of managing my symptoms while the rest of the natural treatment protocol took effect. However, L- carnitine is another option when it comes to managing the symptoms in people with hyperthyroid conditions.
I didn’t take L- carnitine at all when I was following a natural hyperthyroid treatment protocol. It really wasn’t until I began consulting with other people with hyperthyroid conditions a number of years ago when I realized the true benefits of L- carnitine. Although I was familiar with this supplement from reading it in books and doing some research on the internet, since I didn’t have any personal experience with it I didn’t recommend it to others with hyperthyroid conditions. After realizing how many people can benefit from taking L- carnitine I eventually began recommending it to some of my patients with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. Bugleweed still is the primary herb I recommend to help manage the symptoms, but L- carnitine is also an option to consider.
What Is L-Carnitine, And How Does It Work?
Carnitine is a nitrogen-containing compound that is necessary for the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria for oxidation. It is synthesized in the liver from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Some carnitine is also formed in the kidneys and brain. It also can be consumed in certain foods we eat, such as beef, pork, fish, chicken, and dairy products. Carnitine is primarily found in the muscle, even though none of it is actually manufactured in the muscle.
L- carnitine is simply the mirror image of carnitine, and is the form that is typically taken in nutritional supplements. The reason why it can help with hyperthyroidism is because it inhibits thyroid hormone. As a result, it can help with the cardiac symptoms associated with these conditions such as the high pulse rate and/or palpitations people with hyperthyroid conditions commonly experience. Some sources even claim that it can help to manage severe hyperthyroid symptoms, such as those present in thyroid storm. However, in an emergency situation such as thyroid storm it probably is best to be under medical care, rather than to try using natural supplements and herbs to manage one’s condition.
As for the effective dose to take, this of course will vary from person to person. Some sources state that 4 grams of L- carnitine should be taken daily to manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. I have found that some people will respond to a much lower dose, and so when I recommend L- carnitine to others I will typically have them start with a smaller dose, and then have them slowly increase the dose if necessary. Sometimes I have my patients take both Bugleweed and L- carnitine, and when this is the case a smaller amount of L- carnitine usually works fine.
Other Forms Of L-Carnitine
In addition to “regular” L-carnitine, there are a couple of other forms. One form is Propionyl-L-carnitine, which is used to help with conditions such as peripheral vascular disease and congestive heart failure. Acetyl-L-carnitine is typically used for other conditions, including mental disorders, nerve pain, and low testosterone. Some sources state that Propionyl-L-carnitine and Acetyl-L-carnitine can be combined to help with chronic fatigue syndrome.
With regards to hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease, I typically recommend “regular” L-carnitine, although some people seem to do better when taking a combination of the three forms I mentioned here. But the combination of Bugleweed and L-carnitine seems to work well. Acetyl-L-carnitine will help with the production of glutathione, which is important for both immunity and detoxification. This may explain why some people do better when combining the different forms of L-carnitine. Of course keep in mind that L- carnitine isn’t a cure for hyperthyroidism, as while taking it can help with the hyperthyroid symptoms and over time may improve the thyroid hormone levels and TSH, it won’t do anything for other compromised areas of the body. So just as is the case with Bugleweed, L- carnitine is only one component of a natural treatment protocol, and taking it alone won’t restore someone’s health back to normal.
In summary, L- carnitine can help manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. Some people with these conditions will take L-carnitine by itself with regards to symptom management, but I typically will recommend a combination of Bugleweed and L- carnitine to my patients, or many times just Bugleweed alone. Either way it’s another option to consider to for those with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease who are following a natural treatment protocol.