Carnitine is required for transport of long-chain fatty acids into the matrix compartment of mitochondria from cytoplasm for subsequent oxidation by the fatty acid oxidase complex for energy production.
Carnitine (earlier known as vitamin Bt) is a quaternary amine, beta-hydroxy-gamma-trimethylaminobutyrate. It is a very hygroscopic compound and is found in biological samples both as the free carnitine and as the ester of a wide variety of acyl compounds.
Carnitine is synthesized in the liver and kidneys. The synthesis depends on two precursors, L-lysine and methionine, as well as ascorbic acid.
In general, foods of plant origin are low in carnitine, whereas animal-derived foods are rich in carnitine.