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Record Information
Created at2005-11-16 15:48:42 UTC
Updated at2022-01-19 19:06:03 UTC
NP-MRD IDNP0001110
Secondary Accession NumbersNone
Natural Product Identification
Common NameL-Carnitine
DescriptionCarnitine is a non-essential amino acid and a quaternary ammonium compound. Carnitine is also classified as an alcohol (specifically, a trimethylated carboxy-alcohol). Carnitine exists as one of two stereoisomers (the two enantiomers D-carnitine and L-carnitine. Both are biologically active, but only L-carnitine naturally occurs in animals, and D-carnitine is toxic as it inhibits the activity of the L-form. Carnitine is involved in the metabolism in most mammals, plants, and some bacteria. Carnitine plays a key role in lipid metabolism and beta-oxidation. It is used to transport long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria to be oxidized for energy production. This is done by forming a long chain acetylcarnitine esters which are then transported by carnitine palmitoyltransferase I and carnitine palmitoyltransferase II. Carnitine also participates in removing products of metabolism from cells. Given its key metabolic roles, carnitine is concentrated in skeletal and cardiac muscle as well as other tissues that metabolize fatty acids as an energy source. A normal 70 kilogram person typically produces 11–34 mg of carnitine per day. Adults eating mixed diets of red meat and other animal products ingest 60–180 mg of carnitine per day, while vegans consume about 10–12 mg per day. Most carnitine obtained from the diet is absorbed in the small intestine before entering the blood.[3] The total body content of carnitine is about 20 grams in a person weighing 70 kilograms, with nearly all of it contained within skeletal muscle cells. Carnitine is so important in providing energy to muscles (including the heart) that some researchers are now recommending carnitine supplements in the diet, particularly for people who do not consume much red meat (the main food source for carnitine). Carnitine has been described as a vitamin, an amino acid, or a metabimin (i.E. An essential metabolite). Like the B vitamins, carnitine contains nitrogen and is very soluble in water. However, most animals, including humans, make their own carnitine; thus, carnitine cannot be considered to be a vitamin. In certain circumstances, such as methionine deficiency, lysine deficiency, vitamin C deficiency or kidney dialysis, carnitine shortages can develop. Under these conditions, carnitine must be absorbed from food, and for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as a "metabimin" or a conditionally essential metabolite. In humans, about 25% of carnitine is synthesized in the liver, kidney, and brain from lysine and methionine. Most of the carnitine in the body comes from dietary sources such as red meat and dairy products. Inborn errors of carnitine metabolism such as Reye’s syndrome can lead to brain deterioration gradually worsening muscle weakness, Duchenne-like muscular dystrophy, and extreme muscle weakness with fat accumulation in muscles. Carnitine is an essential nutrient for pre-term babies and individuals who are unable to eat a normal diet (e.G. Non-ketotic hypoglycemics, kidney dialysis patients) (PMID: 115309 ). In conditions such as kwashiorkor, cirrhosis, and heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) as well as in inborn errors of metabolism such as type IV hyperlipidemia and propionic aciduria, carnitine is essential to life and carnitine supplements are critically important. Carnitine therapy may also be useful in a wide variety of clinical conditions. Carnitine supplementation has improved some patients who have angina secondary to coronary artery disease. Carnitine supplements may also be useful in many forms of metabolic liver diseases and heart muscle disease. Hearts undergoing severe arrhythmia quickly deplete their stores of carnitine. Athletes, particularly in Europe, have used carnitine supplements for improved endurance. Carnitine may improve muscle building by improving fat utilization and may even be useful in treating obesity. Carnitine may be of value in treating pregnant women, hypothyroid individuals, and male infertility due to the low motility of sperm. Carnitine deficiency is noted in abnormal liver function, renal dialysis patients, and severe to moderate muscular weakness with associated anorexia. Carnitine is a biomarker for the consumption of meat. In fact, carnitine was first extracted from meat extracts in 1905, leading to its name from Latin, "caro/carnis" or flesh.
3-Carboxy-2-hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethyl-1-propanaminium hydroxide, inner saltChEBI
Vitamin BTChEBI
(R)-(3-Carboxy-2-hydroxypropyl)trimethylammonium hydroxideHMDB
3-Hydroxy-4-trimethylammoniobutanoic acidHMDB
Carniking 50HMDB
Carnipass 20HMDB
L CarnitineHMDB
Chemical FormulaC7H15NO3
Average Mass161.1989 Da
Monoisotopic Mass161.10519 Da
IUPAC Name(3R)-3-hydroxy-4-(trimethylazaniumyl)butanoate
Traditional NameL-carnitine
CAS Registry Number541-15-1
InChI Identifier
Spectrum TypeDescriptionDepositor IDDeposition DateView
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 100 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 25 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 1000 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 252 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 50 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 200 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 300 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 75 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 101 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 400 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 500 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 126 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 151 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 600 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 176 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 700 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 201 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 800 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 900 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR13C NMR Spectrum (1D, 226 MHz, D2O, predicted)Wishart Lab2021-06-20View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 700 MHz, H2O, simulated)Ahselim2022-01-19View Spectrum
1D NMR1H NMR Spectrum (1D, 700 MHz, H2O, experimental)Ahselim2022-01-19View Spectrum
Species of Origin
Species NameSourceReference
Anas platyrhynchosFooDB
Anser anserFooDB
Bison bisonFooDB
Bos taurusFooDB
Bos taurus X Bison bisonFooDB
Bubalus bubalisFooDB
Cannabis sativaCannabisDB
      Not Available
Capra aegagrus hircusFooDB
Cervus canadensisFooDB
Digenea simplexLOTUS Database
Dromaius novaehollandiaeFooDB
Equus caballusFooDB
Gallus gallusFooDB
Homo sapiensLOTUS Database
Hordeum vulgareLOTUS Database
Lagopus mutaFooDB
Lepus timidusFooDB
Melanitta fuscaFooDB
Meleagris gallopavoFooDB
Mucidula mucidaLOTUS Database
Numida meleagrisFooDB
Ovis ariesFooDB
Phasianus colchicusFooDB
Pisum sativumKNApSAcK Database
Pseudo-nitzschia multistriataLOTUS Database
Struthio camelusFooDB
Sus scrofaFooDB
Sus scrofa domesticaFooDB
Trypanosoma bruceiLOTUS Database
Species Where Detected
Species NameSourceReference
Homo sapiens (Serum)KNApSAcK Database
Homo sapiens (Urine)KNApSAcK Database
Chemical Taxonomy
Description Belongs to the class of organic compounds known as carnitines. These are organic compounds containing the quaternary ammonium compound carnitine.
KingdomOrganic compounds
Super ClassOrganic nitrogen compounds
ClassOrganonitrogen compounds
Sub ClassQuaternary ammonium salts
Direct ParentCarnitines
Alternative Parents
  • Carnitine
  • Beta-hydroxy acid
  • Short-chain hydroxy acid
  • Fatty acid
  • Hydroxy acid
  • Tetraalkylammonium salt
  • 1,2-aminoalcohol
  • Carboxylic acid salt
  • Secondary alcohol
  • Carboxylic acid derivative
  • Carboxylic acid
  • Monocarboxylic acid or derivatives
  • Organic oxygen compound
  • Organooxygen compound
  • Organic zwitterion
  • Organic salt
  • Hydrocarbon derivative
  • Organic oxide
  • Carbonyl group
  • Organopnictogen compound
  • Amine
  • Alcohol
  • Aliphatic acyclic compound
Molecular FrameworkAliphatic acyclic compounds
External Descriptors
Physical Properties
Experimental Properties
Melting Point197 °CNot Available
Boiling PointNot AvailableNot Available
Water Solubility1000000 mg/L @ 25 °C (est)The Good Scents Company Information System
LogP-4.729 (est)The Good Scents Company Information System
Predicted Properties
Water Solubility5.33 g/LALOGPS
pKa (Strongest Acidic)4.2ChemAxon
pKa (Strongest Basic)-3.6ChemAxon
Physiological Charge0ChemAxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count3ChemAxon
Hydrogen Donor Count1ChemAxon
Polar Surface Area60.36 ŲChemAxon
Rotatable Bond Count4ChemAxon
Refractivity63.49 m³·mol⁻¹ChemAxon
Polarizability16.93 ųChemAxon
Number of Rings0ChemAxon
Rule of FiveYesChemAxon
Ghose FilterNoChemAxon
Veber's RuleNoChemAxon
MDDR-like RuleNoChemAxon
DrugBank IDDB00583
Phenol Explorer Compound IDNot Available
FoodDB IDFDB000571
KNApSAcK IDC00052441
Chemspider ID10455
KEGG Compound IDC00318
BiGG ID34600
Wikipedia LinkCarnitine
PubChem Compound10917
PDB IDNot Available
ChEBI ID16347
Good Scents IDrw1607331
General References
  1. Tamai I, China K, Sai Y, Kobayashi D, Nezu J, Kawahara E, Tsuji A: Na(+)-coupled transport of L-carnitine via high-affinity carnitine transporter OCTN2 and its subcellular localization in kidney. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Jun 6;1512(2):273-84. [PubMed:11406104 ]
  2. Waldner R, Laschan C, Lohninger A, Gessner M, Tuchler H, Huemer M, Spiegel W, Karlic H: Effects of doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy and a combination with L-carnitine on oxidative metabolism in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2006 Feb;132(2):121-8. Epub 2005 Nov 8. [PubMed:16283381 ]
  3. Sreekumar A, Poisson LM, Rajendiran TM, Khan AP, Cao Q, Yu J, Laxman B, Mehra R, Lonigro RJ, Li Y, Nyati MK, Ahsan A, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Han B, Cao X, Byun J, Omenn GS, Ghosh D, Pennathur S, Alexander DC, Berger A, Shuster JR, Wei JT, Varambally S, Beecher C, Chinnaiyan AM: Metabolomic profiles delineate potential role for sarcosine in prostate cancer progression. Nature. 2009 Feb 12;457(7231):910-4. doi: 10.1038/nature07762. [PubMed:19212411 ]
  4. Wachter S, Vogt M, Kreis R, Boesch C, Bigler P, Hoppeler H, Krahenbuhl S: Long-term administration of L-carnitine to humans: effect on skeletal muscle carnitine content and physical performance. Clin Chim Acta. 2002 Apr;318(1-2):51-61. [PubMed:11880112 ]
  5. Evans AM, Fornasini G: Pharmacokinetics of L-carnitine. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2003;42(11):941-67. [PubMed:12908852 ]
  6. Pastoris O, Dossena M, Foppa P, Catapano M, Arbustini E, Bellini O, Dal Bello B, Minzioni G, Ceriana P, Barzaghi N: Effect of L-carnitine on myocardial metabolism: results of a balanced, placebo-controlled, double-blind study in patients undergoing open heart surgery. Pharmacol Res. 1998 Feb;37(2):115-22. [PubMed:9572066 ]
  7. Stephens FB, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Laithwaite D, Simpson EJ, Greenhaff PL: Insulin stimulates L-carnitine accumulation in human skeletal muscle. FASEB J. 2006 Feb;20(2):377-9. Epub 2005 Dec 20. [PubMed:16368715 ]
  8. Malaguarnera M, Pistone G, Astuto M, Dell'Arte S, Finocchiaro G, Lo Giudice E, Pennisi G: L-Carnitine in the treatment of mild or moderate hepatic encephalopathy. Dig Dis. 2003;21(3):271-5. [PubMed:14571103 ]
  9. Oey NA, van Vlies N, Wijburg FA, Wanders RJ, Attie-Bitach T, Vaz FM: L-carnitine is synthesized in the human fetal-placental unit: potential roles in placental and fetal metabolism. Placenta. 2006 Aug;27(8):841-6. Epub 2005 Nov 18. [PubMed:16300828 ]
  10. Feinfeld DA, Kurian P, Cheng JT, Dilimetin G, Arriola MR, Ward L, Manis T, Carvounis CP: Effect of oral L-carnitine on serum myoglobin in hemodialysis patients. Ren Fail. 1996 Jan;18(1):91-6. [PubMed:8820505 ]
  11. Matalliotakis I, Koumantaki Y, Evageliou A, Matalliotakis G, Goumenou A, Koumantakis E: L-carnitine levels in the seminal plasma of fertile and infertile men: correlation with sperm quality. Int J Fertil Womens Med. 2000 May-Jun;45(3):236-40. [PubMed:10929687 ]
  12. Vescovo G, Ravara B, Gobbo V, Dalla Libera L: Inflammation and perturbation of the l-carnitine system in heart failure. Eur J Heart Fail. 2005 Oct;7(6):997-1002. [PubMed:16227137 ]
  13. Lerch R: [The effect of L-carnitine on ischemic heart disease: experimental results]. Praxis (Bern 1994). 1998 Jan 21;87(4):97-100. [PubMed:9522638 ]
  14. Khademi A, Alleyassin A, Safdarian L, Hamed EA, Rabiee E, Haghaninezhad H: The effects of L-carnitine on sperm parameters in smoker and non-smoker patients with idiopathic sperm abnormalities. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2005 Dec;22(11-12):395-9. [PubMed:16331536 ]
  15. Stradomska TJ, Tylki-Szymanska A, Bentkowski Z: Very long-chain fatty acids in Rett syndrome. Eur J Pediatr. 1999 Mar;158(3):226-9. [PubMed:10094444 ]
  16. Hoppel CL, Genuth SM: Urinary excretion of acetylcarnitine during human diabetic and fasting ketosis. Am J Physiol. 1982 Aug;243(2):E168-72. [PubMed:6810706 ]
  17. Lenzi A, Sgro P, Salacone P, Paoli D, Gilio B, Lombardo F, Santulli M, Agarwal A, Gandini L: A placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial of the use of combined l-carnitine and l-acetyl-carnitine treatment in men with asthenozoospermia. Fertil Steril. 2004 Jun;81(6):1578-84. [PubMed:15193480 ]
  18. Sinclair C, Gilchrist JM, Hennessey JV, Kandula M: Muscle carnitine in hypo- and hyperthyroidism. Muscle Nerve. 2005 Sep;32(3):357-9. [PubMed:15803480 ]
  19. Ahmad S: L-carnitine in dialysis patients. Semin Dial. 2001 May-Jun;14(3):209-17. [PubMed:11422928 ]
  20. Shihabi ZK, Oles KS, McCormick CP, Penry JK: Serum and tissue carnitine assay based on dialysis. Clin Chem. 1992 Aug;38(8 Pt 1):1414-7. [PubMed:1643708 ]
  21. Steiber A, Kerner J, Hoppel CL: Carnitine: a nutritional, biosynthetic, and functional perspective. Mol Aspects Med. 2004 Oct-Dec;25(5-6):455-73. [PubMed:15363636 ]
  22. Olpin SE: Fatty acid oxidation defects as a cause of neuromyopathic disease in infants and adults. Clin Lab. 2005;51(5-6):289-306. [PubMed:15991803 ]
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  24. Bolognino I, Giangregorio N, Tonazzi A, Martinez AL, Altomare CD, Loza MI, Sablone S, Cellamare S, Catto M: Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Dantrolene-Like Hydrazide and Hydrazone Analogues as Multitarget Agents for Neurodegenerative Diseases. ChemMedChem. 2021 Sep 16;16(18):2807-2816. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.202100209. Epub 2021 Jun 22. [PubMed:34047061 ]