Monday, February 4, 2013

you know your energy is better when...

That was almost like the old "you might be a redneck if" jokes.  ;-)

With me it's the temptation to run up my staircases instead of walk, the impulse to spring out of my reading-chair and do/fetch things in other parts of the house, or to spontaneously play chasing games around the dining table with Spenser.  (Of course, for the sake of my iffy knee i find it's a good idea to resist springing up those stairs....)

The supplements i've added, which i'm inclined to credit with this recent improvement, are carnitine, pregnenolone and epimedium -- which, though a little surprising, aren't really too "out there."  The last two are boosting my age-related decrease in endogenous hormones, and the first ... long story.

Wooo was taught in her medical training that carnitine binds to thyroid receptors, and is therefore not recommended for improving health in hypothyroids.  OTOH, i also read that "Hypothyroidism has been found to deplete the body of L-carnitine stores. A six-month placebo-controlled study cited in the August 2001 edition of 'The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism' examined the effectiveness of L-carnitine supplementation for the management of hypothyroidism. The subjects were given 2 to 4 g of L-carnitine daily, and the study concluded that L-carnitine effectively helped to reverse and prevent symptoms of hypothyroidism. The research is preliminary, however...." *

Whichever is the "true story" i'm not qualified to judge, but all i read gave me sufficient encouragement to TRY carnitine and see what might happen.  I started with a small bottle of 500-mg caps, but am now using a BIG bottle of the one gram size.  Again, i don't KNOW how it works but i can speculate -- does carnitine perhaps spare thyroid hormone because the receptors it binds to are where FAs are passed into cells for use?  That is, after all, what carnitine is famous for doing, and one of the many things thyroid does as well.

Short version:  carnitine HELPS.  At least, it helps ME.

Pregnenolone, as you may know, is a precursor to a whole avalanche-ful of hormones and neurotransmitters.  I was getting SOME benefits from the progesterone creme i was using, but for various reasons i chose to swap over to an "upstream" supplement -- and am i happy i did.  The negative effects of my previous progesterone boost aren't an issue anymore, and there are many less-specific plusses!  Doubtless, my body is partitioning the pregnenolone to the balance it considers appropriate -- and its judgement seems to be sound.  Is it making more estrogen, more testosterone, more progesterone, what?  I really don't care which -- i just like it.

But why don't the makers of epimedium supplements label them EPIMEDIUM?  It would make things less embarrassing when you have to ask for help in the health-food store!  ;-)  Actually, i'm joking -- the virtue of being "older'n dirt" is that you care much less for what people think!  The common name you find on the supplement bottle is HORNY GOAT WEED, widely publicized for improving sexual performance -- it's splashed in good-sized type across the label.  I think all of us users agree, though, that its beneficial effects go far beyond improving blood flow to the penis....

LOL -- it's hard to care too much about the WHY, when the WHAT is so satisfactory!  I certainly don't agree with Dr. Lustig across the board, but when he said that quality of life pretty much equates with how much energy we are able to burn, i have to raise my glass to him!

*  from -- and i'm not a fan of the site.  :-)  if they hadn't quoted a "respectable" source, i wouldn't have credited it as much as i did.


  1. Some types of protein are to be taken directly before and after a workout (whey protein), while others are to be taken before going to bed (casein protein).


    1. i rarely take whey, and i'd be inclined to avoid casein (cheese in excess of 4 oz gives me trouble), but it's interesting to know -- thanks!

  2. Are you taking Carnitine or Acetyl L-Carnitine?

    In the Atkins Vita-Nutrient Solution book, he characterizes carnitine as "the fat burner," and Acetyl L-Carnitine as "the brain energizer."

    In fact, in his write-up on "plain" carnitine, he says, "People who get stuck on truly effective diets, such as the Atkins diet, may need 1,500 - 2.500 mg to break the log jam."

  3. i tried the acetyl variety and didn't notice a benefit, so i stopped taking it (i take so many supplements, i'm always willing to delete one if i don't notice results). recently, i switched from the pill-form of carnitine to liquid, and the improvement was really significant.

  4. After reading this, I dug out my bottle of liquid Carnitine (3000 mg per Tbsp) and decided to try it again. I already have another bottle on order.

    My problem is that I take a bunch of supplements religiously ... until I miss a day. Then all bets are off. I'll go a couple months before getting on the bandwagon again. I always thought if I could only get it down to 2 or 3 (instead of 12 or 13) supps, I might take them on a more regular basis.

    1. Yeah, taking so many supps is a pain, but they help me feel better, so it's worth it. :-)